Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Although artist Moisio Walfred died in 2001, his work has stood the test of time. Known for photographing cultural events of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s this photograph is no exception. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been an American tradition for decades and this 1930s photgraph captures the spirit and emotions of this special day.
The photograph will be auctioned on December 3, 2009. Details below.

Moisio Walfred
View biography on artnet
Title: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Style: Contemporary (ca. 1945-present)
Medium: Photographs, Silver print
Year: ie. circa 1930
Size: height - 11 in, width - 14 in, depth - 0 in
Markings: stamped, on verso, 2005 #3 edition of 6. Image printed from original negative.
Estimate: from $900 to $1,200

Thursday, November 19, 2009


When you are operating a small art gallery or a small museum it is difficult to get the public's attention. Below are two worthy events taking place over the next two days in Louisville. Both events are free and open to the public.

THURSDAY, NOV. 19, 2009

Lincoln: Presidency in Pictures
Get a good look at these historic images and then prepare to bid. Starting on Dec. 6 a duplicate of one of the works from the exhibit will be auctioned off in a silent auction.

Opening Reception: Thursday, Nov. 20 5:30-7:30

Illustrations from Harper’s Weekly & Frank Leslie’s, 1860—1865
November 19, 2009 — February 28, 2010
at the Portland Museum Albert Comstock Gallery
2308 Portland Avenue
Louisville, KY 40212
(502) 776-7678

FRIDAY, NOV. 20, 2009


Waller is a local artist working in southern Indiana. While the official subject of many of the works are the leaves she depicts, the real subject matter is the way that light penetrates and changes the surface of every object it touches. Even the nudes appear to glow from within.

The opening will be Friday, November 20 from 6pm-8pm. If you work downtown stop by after work for free wine and cheese...who knows, you might just go home with something.

Gallery at the Brown

The Brown Hotel

335 West Broadway

Louisville, KY 40202

502-583-1234 x 7174


Sunday, November 15, 2009


Jean-Michel Basquiat Brother Sausage, 1983, estimated $9 mil-$12 mil, Unsold, Christie’s New York, Nov. 10, 2009


There has been some confusion about the art market. Is it up or is it down? The answer is it is up from a recent low point in the Fall of 2008 but it is still down from a high point in May of 2008. Overall, the market has been down since its highest point. However, the Fall of 2009 has brought some reason to celebrate.

September 15, 2008 was the day Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and the day the western markets began to plummet in earnest. That date is also a good marker for the day the art market began to change course. Although Christie's had a record sale of $362 million just four months before, the Fall of 2008 could only be described as dismal. Potential sellers that were able to hold onto their works did so.

Andy Warhol200 One Dollar Bills 1962, Estimate $8,000,000—$12,000,000,sold $43,762,500, Sotheby’s New YorkNov. 11, 2009

But if Fall 2008 made art lovers think the market was doomed, then the Fall of 2009 should give them hope. On November 11, 2009 Sotheby's sold 52 of 54 lots which brought in $134,438,000 plus premium. The most exciting lot of the evening was Andy Warhol's 200 One Dollar Bills from 1962. That lot opened at $6 million and then jumped by $1 million bids until the hammer came down at $39 million ($43,762,500 with premium). Although pre-sale skeptics predicted the Warhol lot would 'make the sale' it was, in fact, not the only exciting lot. Alice Neel's work, Jackie Curtis and Rita Red helped set a new auction record high for the artist by selling for $1,650,500. Other new auction records set at that sale including Jean Dubuffet's Trinite-Champs-Elysees, 1961 ($6,130,500); Germaine Richier's , La Feuille bronze, 1948 ($842,500); and Juan Munoz's, Five Seated Figures, 1996 ($1,202,500).

This is not to say the the auction market has rebounded in full. While sales exceeding $134 million proves that the art market is moving up (Sotheby's May 2009 sale totaled just $125 million), it certainly does not come close to the high point in the market and estimates are still conservative. It is also important to note that there have been some disappointments in recent days as well. Just two days before the Sotheby's sale was Christie's Contemporary Art Sale on November 10. Connecticut horse farmer Peter Brant's painting entitled Brother Sausage (estimated $9,000,000-$12,000,000) by Jean-Michel Basquiat and his prized Andy Warhol painting entitled Tunafish Disaster (estimated $6,000,000-$8,000,000) both went unsold. Many in the artworld felt that Brant's desired price was too high while said "Cynics may view the buy-ins differently, however, as a gambit to establish lower values for works that may become subject to a property settlement in a future divorce."


Infinity Nets, 1991Acrylic on canvas. 36 x 23 3/4 in. (91.4 x 60.3 cm). Signed and dated "Yayoi Kusama [in English and Japanese] 1991" on the reverse. This work is accompanied by the Yayoi Kusama Studio artwork registration card.
ESTIMATE $35,000-45,000, SOLD at Philips De Pury on November 12, 2009 for $842,500

Phillips de Pury & Company Art Evening sale on November 12 was also successful selling 31 of the 40 lots offered for a total $7,099,250, within its pre-sale estimate of $5.7–8.1 million. With only five lots exceeding the $500,000 mark and not a single lot reaching $1 million, the overall result was a welcome figure. Just a year before Phillips de Pury had an unsold rate of 46 percent by lot and 51 percent by value.

An even smaller Auction house, Stevens Auction Co. in Aberdeen, Miss told Kovel's that their auction business is also doing well again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Yin and Yang (1992-2002), Robert Arneson, Bronze with white patina, edition 2/3, The blogger's husband posing with the statue. The artist had a keen sense of humor and probably would have like the correlation between the real and the fake heads.

Robert Arneson was born in Benicia California in 1930. After a stint teaching in a California highschool, he became interested in ceramics. In 1958 Arneson received an MFA from Mills College and in 1962 he became a professor at the University of California Davis.

Looking at Arneson's work today one might suspect the artist had a keen sense of humor. What one might not suspect is that the way he used ceramics was, for the time, ground-breaking. Until that time, most ceramics artists created pieces which were purely functional (think teapots, bowls, and tiles). Arneson broke away from that tradition and started creating non-utilitarian pieces. Soon, he became associated with a group of California "Pop" artists who created what was known as "Funk art".

Arneson also became known for creating a series of self-portraits in a wide variety of mediums. Each work depicted the artist with a different identity. In this way, he associated himself with larger issues such as suffereing, life, and death. This is not to suggest that the artist was not controversial. Arneson created many works which challenged authority, poked fun at public figures, and questioned the art world itself.

Robert Arneson, Portrait of George (Moscone), 1981 (7'-10" x 29")

The most famous of these works is a depiction of the San Francisco mayor George Moscone. Arneson was commissioned to create the sculpture in 1981 for the Moscone Convention Center just a few short years after the popular politician's 1978 assassination. When the bust was revealed, much of the public was shocked by the five bloody bullet holes on the pedestal, the words "bang, bang, bang" and "Harvey Milk Too!" Eventually, the Arts Council decided not to use the bust and a private collector purchased it.

The Egghead series (photo at top of page) were among some of the artist's last works before he died. They were originally commissioned for the UC Davis campus. Today the Eggheads are an important part of life on the campus. In fact, the artist specifically requested that the University never limit or inhibit the student's playful interaction with his sculptures. Because the estate of the artist owns the originals, 'editions' of the same works can be seen in other public locations. Recently, when I was in San Francisco, I saw Yin and Yang on the Embarcadero. Pictured above with my husband posing next to them, these pieces are bronze with a white patina are number 2 in an edition of 3.

Today, Robert Arneson's pieces continually sell privately and at auction. Some recent auction figures can be found below. The pieces that demand the most money are those that are more representative of the artist's point of view. Generally, this means they are political or funny. The first piece listed below was completed in a more traditional style and sold for just $3,585. The other pieces have sold or are estimated to sell for higher values because they better represent what collectors are looking for when buying an Arneson piece.

Robert Arneson
bronze with blue green patina
Year of Work
Height 7.2 in.; Width 4.2 in.; Depth 3 in. / Height 18.3 cm.; Width 10.7 cm.; Depth 7.6 cm.
Walla Walla ed.
Inscribed, Stamped
Sale of
Bonhams & Butterfields: Monday, November 19, 2007 [Lot 01604]Made in California
5,000 - 7,000 US$
Sold For
3,585 US$

Robert Arneson
W.T.W. witness - William T. Wiley
Robert Arneson (American, 1930-1992)W.T.W. Witness (William T. Wiley), 1980signed and dated 'Arneson 1980' (lower right)conte crayon, oil crayon, oil paste and oil stick on Reeves paper51 x 30in
conté crayon, oil crayon, oil paste and oil stick on Reeves paper
Year of Work
Height 51 in.; Width 30 in. / Height 129.5 cm.; Width 76.2 cm.
Sale of
Bonhams & Butterfields Los Angeles: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 [Lot 02082]Made in California
20,000 - 30,000 US$
Morgan Gallery, Shawnee Mission, Kansas (label on the reverse)Hansen Fuller Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco, California (label on the reverse)Property of a Southern California Collection

Robert Arneson
A nuclear warhead
Year of Work
Height 16.9 in.; Width 18.5 in.; Depth 9.1 in. / Height 42.9 cm.; Width 47 cm.; Depth 23.1 cm.
Sale of
Bonhams & Butterfields: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 [Lot 01119]Made in California
12,000 - 18,000 US$
Sold For
32,400 US$