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Even before the profound rupture of the Great War and the political revolutions that followed, a revolution in culture had taken in the first decade of the twentieth century. And in the visual arts, almost no one was so transformed by that revolution as Wassily Kandinsky. He was born in Moscow in 1866 and studied art in Odessa at the Grekov Art School. He then moved on to study law and economics and only returned to art in his 30s. Kandinsky’s early works are beautiful in the warmth of their colors, but conventional. As he began to think about the challenges of modernism in music as well as art, Wassily Kandinsky gradually became even more daring. The outlines of structures in his paintings began to melt. From 1911 onward, he filled entire canvasses with colored abstractions, and was among the first to produce purely abstract art.

From the Concrete to the Conceptual

The challenge faced by all artists in an era where a camera could reproduce scenes more accurately than a painting was to think again about the purpose of their art. For Kandinsky, the solution to the crisis of traditional art was to understand that art functions on two levels simultaneously, it influences both the senses and the mind. Once he had decided to investigate the effects of abstract painting on the mind, he opened the door to a revolution. Spending hours and hours experimenting with the impact of shape on color on his inner being, Wassily Kandinsky came to realize that even apparently simple geometric shapes could carry a powerful aesthetic impact to the viewer.

Wassily Kandinsky and the Bauhaus

The Bauhaus was an avant-garde art school that strove to unite arts, crafts and architecture in a revolutionary and modern fashion. Kandinsky was invited to join the school and there (1922 – 1933) he perfected his technique. His paintings from this period are stunning, in that they use carefully chosen blocks of color to evoke an emotional response in the viewer and selected shapes to challenge the human desire to make sense of patterns. Wassily Kandinsky was among the practitioners persecuted by the Nazis, who included his work in the list of ‘degenerate art’. He was forced to flee and moved to France, where he lived and worked until 1944.

“My Six-Year-Old Can Paint Like That…”

The case against Wassily Kandinsky, as against many other modern artists, is that anyone can paint in his style, even children. Yet contemplation of Kandinsky’s works evokes such strong responses that there must be more to them than the superficially playful interaction of color and shape. And there is. Wassily Kandinsky himself explained the issue in his 1926 book, Point and Line to Plane. The subjective effect upon the inner mind of the viewer even of points and lines can be profound. The manner in which a line is placed, the angle it makes, is enough to create meaning. A horizontal line evokes the ground on which a person moves, while a curved line suggests powerful forces are at work. Only someone who spends decades mastering color and contemplating on the spiritual and unconscious associations of geometric shapes can produce such masterful paintings as those of Wassily Kandinsky.



Who Was Marcel Duchamp?

Marcel Duchamp was born in 1887. He attended school in Rouen and developed an interest in art from an early age. This was an easy path for him to take, as his whole family was immersed in the arts: painting, engraving, sculpture and printing. Although arts were significant to his upbringing, the love of chess also played a central part: Marcel Duchamp’s engagement with art was essentially cerebral rather than visceral. This perhaps explains why it was Duchamp, more than any other modern artist, who revolutionized thinking about art.

The Early Work of Marcel Duchampmarcel-duchamp-mona-liza

Seeing as Duchamp became famous for creating art works that, at a certain level, could have been produced by anyone at all, it’s important to appreciate that Marcel Duchamp was a masterful artist in the traditional sense. His 1912, Nude Descending a Staircase No.2 is an oil on canvass that demonstrates the artist’s complete mastery of palette and line. It is also a profoundly revolutionary painting.

Art in an Age of Motion

In our current times, it is hard to appreciate how disturbing the early 20th century world Marcel Duchamp lived in was. Everything was in flux: heavy engines and massive factories everywhere, constantly producing shocking sounds; changing perspectives and new ways of thinking with the collapse of Newton’s static model of the universe; and amazing visual developments in film and photography. In the context of this chaos, the key question Duchamp asked himself was how to capture the energy of motion in a static display of paint on canvass. Nude Descending was a brilliant response to this challenge. His solution was to fragment a scene and present the viewer with images of several moments juxtaposed in the same painting. In this respect, Marcel Duchamp can be considered an early Cubist (Cubism was an approach to painting that had also been embraced by his older brothers). But Marcel Duchamp’s modernity disturbed even the Cubists, as he subverted all the traditions of painting in his attempt to grasp the nature of his time.

Marcel Duchamp’s New Forms of Art rouebicyclette

Duchamp abandoned the purely visual in art and strove to find a way to address aesthetics via an interplay between the object and the effect of looking at it. Although it meant giving up the usual path of the artist in his day and ignoring demands for portraits and landscapes, Duchamp continued to explore alternative artistic activity while taking a position as a librarian. At this time, he famously said of a design for an airplane (then the height of modern technical achievement) “Painting is washed up. Who will ever do anything better than that propeller?” It took him ten years, but in 1934, Duchamp demonstrated that he had found a entirely new approach to art and showcased one of his great masterpieces – The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even.

Chance in Artfountain by marcel duchamp

Marcel Duchamp’s incorporation of chance into art now seems conventional, but in 1934 it was shocking. Bride, a work of painting and sculpture between two large glass panels, uses everyday materials such as wire and a chocolate grinder. Marcel Duchamp also allowed dust to accumulate in places and incorporated it into the final artwork (evoking a sense of the passing of time).

Marcel Duchamp’s Urinal

Almost certainly Marcel Duchamp’s most controversial artwork was his Fountain, 1917, which was a urinal, signed R. Mutt. Shortsightedly, the Society of Independent Artists rejected the piece for their New York exhibition. This found and ‘ready-made’ object certainly was art and had a significant aesthetic impact as became evident in the heated debates that followed. The value of art had previously been thought to derive from the skill of the artist. But Fountain was not a work that required any technical expertise. It did, however, require a profound and revolutionary appreciation that the responses art triggers in the mind of the viewer are sometimes more powerfully evoked by the presentation of everyday objects than by traditional paintings.

Art Collector
[md_text md_text_title1=”” md_text_title_description=”” md_text_title_separator=”no” md_title_bottom_space_description=”” md_text_desc_google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3Aregular%2C100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”]Most financial experts agree that the three best places to invest your money are: (1) in your home; (2) gold; and (3) art. The reason these are good investments is that over the long-term, the risk of losing your money is slim and, even better, your investment will grow. Here we will discuss the strategies of investing in art.

Be Careful and Do Your Research

Art is like that house you might buy. If you buy in the wrong neighborhood, you could lose money. The art market is capricious and what seems like a great investment today could prove to be a lemon tomorrow. Educate yourself first and foremost in the subject of art and do lots of research on artists, art mediums and techniques, galleries, and sales before you begin to build your art collection. keep reading

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Exploring the Significance of a Work of Art

When you are buying art for your collection, it is vital that you get familiar with the artwork. The first step in getting closely acquainted with a beautiful piece is to compare it to other works by the same artist. Do your research by searching for the artist online, in catalogs, or in person. By knowing the full range of the artist’s work you will better understand the piece you are interested in. This is the very reason behind solo shows held by galleries; the morepieces buyers can see, the better informed they will be about the artist.    

Look Carefully, and Look Again

The second step is to carefully inspect the artwork you are interested in. Don’t just look at the picture, but explore the front, the back, sides, edges, dates, signatures, labels, construction, frames, and anything else you can find. This can turn out to be a fascinating exercise while also giving insight into the piece. Here are a few other things to consider:   1. Originality Ask if the art is original or mechanically reproduced. This is particularly important when it comes to limited edition prints because many are just digital reproductions done by commercial companies, and not the artist.   2. Major or Minor Find out whether the work is considered ‘major’ or ‘minor’. The more complex and labor-intensive the work is, the more valuable, expensive, and collectible it should be.   3. Is It Typical or Not?  
Artworks that are created with the artist’s usual medium, style, and size are considered typical pieces. Experimental pieces are known as atypical. These works are only for the discerning collector who wants every possible piece created by the artist. Typical art is usually worth more.   4. Which Period Is the Piece From? Artists go through phases and some of the periods are better than others. Learn what this means for your favourite artists and how it affects the art you are interested in.   5. Is It Unique? Determine whether the artwork has original qualities or whether it is a remake of other styles that have been produced over and over again.   6. Check the Condition Finally, it is imperative that you check the condition of the art and the materials it was created with. It is pointless spending money on something that has a limited shelf-life.

Personal Significance

After carefully considering how important the artwork is in the art world, also consider how important it is to you personally. If the work moves you in some way, and it is good quality, it is probably worth purchasing for your personal collection.

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Learn About the Artist Before Buying the Art

When you start your art collection and it is time to select your very first piece to purchase, your first question should always be: ‘Who is the artist?’. You can find the answer from a number of sources, including the artist themselves, the dealer, the gallery, the artist’s websites, exhibition catalogs, art reference books, and more. It’s just like any other valuable property that you buy. Take the example of a house: nobody buys a house on a whim without any research. Before you decide to buy a house, you will probably research the neighborhood, find out how much other houses in the area are selling for, and check for any structural issues. It is not that different when you start collecting art.

Read and Listen

To make sure you don’t come away with inaccurate or skewed information about how important the artist or the work of art is, you have to get information both verbally and written down. If you only read or only listen to what people say, there is a big chance that you won’t get the full and accurate picture. Make it your mission to determine the following information from various sources: • The time of birth and death of the artist • Where the artist lives/lived and works/worked • Galleries and museums where the artist held exhibitions • Awards, honors, prizes, and grants the artist received • Other collectors who own the artist’s work • Positions held by the artist • Publications like books, websites, catalogs, and magazines that mention the artist • Organizations the artist belongs to • Where the artist studied

Don’t Over-complicate Things

Once you have gathered as much information as possible, you will be able to make a few basic assumptions about the artist. Unless it is very expensive art, all you really want is a reasonable idea of who the artist is and how significant their work is, so that you can formulate an opinion of whether the asking price is fair. In a nutshell, the more the piece costs, the more established, respected, and documented the artist should be. If the price doesn’t match the reputation, negotiate or walk away.  

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You Don’t Need a Degree in Art to Buy Great Art

Not only highly educated art gurus with papers to prove their knowledge and appreciation of fine art can collect artworks – anybody who passionately wants a collection can do it. Whether your idea of art is renaissance pieces by the old masters like Leonardo da Vinci, abstract expressionist work like Jackson Pollock’s paintings or modern sculptures like Antony Gormley’s, there are at least a few works of art that are guaranteed to stir any art lover’s soul. To start filling your home with artworks that you love, all you need is the desire to collect beautiful creations, a love for art, and the willingness to learn a few techniques that will help you evaluate art by anybody, from anywhere and any period of time.  

Four Techniques to Evaluate Art Effectively

The four basic aspects of the artwork you have to evaluate are: • Who the artist is • How significant the artwork is • The history of the artwork – i.e. where it has been and who has owned it • How much the artwork costs, and whether this is a fair price In this blog I will be exploring these techniques in-depth, to help art enthusiasts learn how to spend their money wisely on quality works of art.

Art Collection vs. Art Investment

Although it is possible for anybody to collect beautiful works of art using this methodology, it is mainly intended to help art enthusiasts pay fair prices for good art – and not people who want to collect art as an investment only. The tips in here are also not meant to be strict rules. If you see a work of art that captivates you, whether it is a painting, a print or a sculpture and you really love it, why not buy it? Like the world famous artist Pablo Picasso once said, ‘The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.