“Shape and color are my two strong things,” said Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015). The New York artist’s position on his own work was as simple as that, but his influence on 20th century art was considerably more complex. Kelly was a key player in the evolution of hard-edge painting, Color Field painting, minimalism, and Pop Art, though he never willingly assumed the mantle of a particular movement. Quietly and diligently, he observed the built environment around him and captured his shifting perceptions on canvas and paper.
Kelly’s lithograph Blue and Orange and Green is poetic in its simplicity, a visual haiku consisting of three echoed forms in bright hues. “I wanted to give people joy,” Kelly said. His print, which is new to the Zane Bennett Contemporary Art Collection, is sure to brighten your day—and perhaps your living room.
“Painting is about the beauty of space and the power of containment,” said Sam Francis (1923-1994). The abstract expressionist master is best known for paintings that show multicolored abstract splatters between luminous fields of white. “Containment” isn’t the first word you might use to describe these exuberant artworks that are devoid of hard edges. However, much like Jackson Pollock, Francis was actually exercising precise control in the creation of his work. Though Francis’s bright pigments are focal points, he knew that negative space was his most important compositional tool. These new prints in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection are dazzling examples of his signature aesthetic.
Guy Dill (b. 1946) doesn’t make preparatory sketches for his sculptures. He paints or prints abstract imagery, and then captures the flowing motion of the pigment in three dimensions. “I knew I had to discuss painting in a sculptural way,” the California artist explains. He started his art career in New York City—Donald Judd was an early benefactor—but settled in Los Angeles in the 1970’s. “New York is about New York, and LA is about the world,” he quips.
From his West Coast home, Dill has indeed conquered the globe with his monumental sculptures in bronze, aluminum and marble. He’s mounted over 50 one-man exhibitions, and appears in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Stedelijk Museum. Dill’s artworks in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection exemplify the complete span of his process, from his initial explorations in two dimensions to a sculptural expression that towers above the viewer.
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The first thing you need to know about Frank Stella‘s (b.1936) Waves series is that the vibrant, mixed-media prints are monumental. Each of them measures at least 6 feet high and over 4 feet wide. The American artist employed a trifecta of printmaking techniques to create them: serigraphy, lithography and linocut. The prints are hand-colored and collaged, ensuring that each one is unique.
Stella created these marvels of post-painterly abstraction over a 12-year period, between 1985 and 1997. His epic endeavor seems quite fitting if you consider his source of inspiration. The Waves series is a tribute to Herman Melville’s seminal Great American Novel Moby-Dick. Stella imagines himself as a stowaway on the whaler ship Pequod, joining the narrator Ishmael to chronicle Captain Ahab’s tumultuous quest for revenge against the elusive white whale Moby Dick. Each print is an abstract summary for one of the book’s 135 chapters—an elemental, topsy turvy impression of life at sea. To hear Stella speak about the series, check out this excerpt from Studio 360’s Modern Icons podcast about Moby-Dick.
Stella was also influenced by abstract expressionism for this series. “This is paying my debt, or not so much paying my debt as expressing my admiration for the abstract generation I grew up with and that I admired the most,” he said of Waves.
Works from the Waves series have passed through the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection before, but this release is truly remarkable. We acquired the mint condition prints from a private collection—including several images that we’ve never had before. They all hail from the same pull, and are a low edition number. We’re offering special pricing and right of first refusal to collectors who are interested in purchasing all six as a set, so make sure to contact us quickly if you’d like to own a piece of artistic—and literary—history.
Add a piece of art history to your walls this winter! There’s a new Special Offerssection on the Zane Bennett Contemporary Art website, featuring exceptional pricing on works by legendary artists. Scroll down to view prints by Pop Art icons and Pop-inspired artists from the new collection, and make sure to bookmark the Special Offers page for future additions.
“I thinkthat if you can turn off the mind and look only with the eyes, ultimately everything becomes abstract,” said Ellsworth Kelly (1923 – 2015).Kelly’s abstraction is rooted in the real world.His strong sense of form and color has often been tied to his time in the military, affinity for bird watching, and observations of nature. Although simplistic in imagery, Kelly’s work holds a certain tension.“I think what we all want from art is a sense of fixity, a sense of opposing the chaos of daily living,” said Kelly. “This an illusion, of course. Canvas rots. Paint changes color. In a sense, what I’ve tried to capture is the reality of flux, to keep art an open, incomplete situation, to get at the rapture ofseeing.”
Kelly was a pioneer of Color Field painting and minimalism whose influence extends across the second half the 20th century to the present.This is exemplified by the story behind Kelly’s Untitled (1983), a hand-signed lithograph that was included in the Eight by Eight to Celebrate the Temporary Contemporary suite. The portfolio features artwork by eight prominent artists, and was used as a fundraising vehicle for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. The artists who participated were Kelly, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, and Andy Warhol. This iconic collection is a testament to the cultural milieu of the United States in the 1980’s. This is a rare opportunity to own a piece of this illustrious history.
“All our projects are like fabulous expeditions,” said Christo (b.1935). “The story of each project is unique. Our projects have no precedent.” It’s a bold statement to make, but hard to deny when you look at the staggering output of Christo and his late, great partner Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009). Starting in the early 1960’s, they set out to wrap the world in flowing cloth. They’ve managed to cover quite a lot of ground since then, from Central Park to the Reichstag. Three new prints in our collection depict wrapped objects that are not monumental in size—but just as culturally significant. Wrapped Telephone shows an L.M. Ericsson design that’s iconic of early 20th century communication. Wrapped Motorcycle/Sidecar and Wrapped Automobile capture two symbols of freewheeling American innnovation. Both of the new prints come with complimentary gifts, pictured below. It’s a unique opportunity to “unwrap” a Christo this holiday season.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) is having a moment—though you could argue that the postmodern provocateur has been en mode since the midcentury. In any case, the Museum of Modern Art’s blockbuster survey show Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends recently closed in New York, and SFMOMA’s manifestation of the exhibition opens in late November. The new show is titled Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules, a reference to the artist’s legendary erasure of a Willem De Kooning drawing in the name of art. It was a seminal moment in his early career, but hardly characteristic of the work he would produce in the following decades.
Rauschenberg was a master of addition rather than subtraction, fearlessly layering a vast arsenal of bizarre materials to create sculptural paintings, painted sculptures and three-dimensional drawings that he referred to as “Combines.” Cock Sure, a mixed-media print that he produced with Pace in the 1990’s, represents a late chapter of his persistent experimentation. “Cock Sure is an extension of his curiosity, applying paint directly onto the glass surface, increasing the depth of the work so that it became three-dimensional,” wrote Art Daily. “The work is characteristically by Rauschenberg as seen through the inclusion of everyday images: an open sign, chickens, a windmill, and a dog resting by a brick wall.” Scroll down to view more works by Rauschenberg in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection.
Robert Rauschenberg Arcanum VIII
22.5 x 15.5 in
Robert Rauschenberg Arcanum V
color silkscreen with hand-coloring and collage on paper
22.5 x 15.5 in