Monday, December 14, 2009

The 1980's Big Hair and Big Art, Artist Gregory Gioiosa

In a decade preoccupied with success and status, art got bigger in scope, ambition, theme, budget, promotion and cultural presence. Art became an extension of ones success or power. During the 1980's, collecting art was a symbol of ones education, lifestyle and class. New York and Los Angeles became hot spots for galleries to flourish under the patronage of yuppies. Gallery owners were constantly looking for new cutting edge work that would challenge the intellect and budget of their clients. As clients became desensitized with the simple idea of new imagery, new materials or new subject matter, there was an opening and opportunity for truly challenging work to be developed. Artists like Robert Longo began showing businessmen in agony with his "Men in Cities" series. Keith Haring used street graffiti and street polemic art to attack the conformities of the decade. And while artists like Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Longo need no introduction, there are monumental works of art that were created in the 80's that need to be reintroduced today.

We are spotlighting an original painting by Gregory Gioiosa titled "Asterope" created in January of 1988. This monumental original painting on board measures 115" tall by 73" wide and sits 3" reliefed away from the wall. It's difficult to convey the grandeur of this piece, not only because of the size, but the bold colors and abstract edges of the piece. Looking at the piece up close you are awstruck by Gioiosa's meticulous precision with the layering and overlapping of colors. Below is a detail picture of the lower center section of the piece.

The neon colors are just as clean and vibrant today as they were when it was created 22 years ago. Dominating the better part of any wall, this painting makes a statement that says "I Love Living in the 80's".

"Asterope" Original Painting on Board by Gregory Gioiosa currently available

For additional information please email or visit

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Patrick Nagel Original Painting Market

We've recently received a few inquires about the current marketplace for original paintings by Patrick Nagel. After looking at recent auction results and gallery representation, we wanted to comment on the marketplace for Nagel's originals.

In 1976, Nagel began contributing regularly to Playboy Magazine. Working with one of the most widely read magazines in the world, Playboy exposed and popu
larized "the Nagel Woman" to a huge audience. In 1978, he created his first poster image for Mirage Editions, which would prove a fruitful relationship with the release of approximately 60 printed images during Nagel's life. In 1982 Nagel's painting for the album cover of Duran Duran's record selling album "Rio" would become one of his most recognizable images. As Nagel's images gained notoriety and collectibility in the early 80's, he began to work on canvas rather than his traditional illustration board. Tragically Nagel died February 4th, 1984 at the age of 38. Since his death the Nagel market has seen a tremendous roller coaster of ups and downs. Immediately following his death there was a surge and fever for collecting Nagel's iconic images. As the commemorative prints were developed, Nagel's name and images became synonymous with the climate and attitude of the 1980's. But as the "me" decade of the 80's passed into the 90's, the boasting bright neon colors were put away as the Savings and Loan Crisis left many melancholy in '91. Nagel's images quickly declined in popularity as the over printing of the commemoratives watered down the market. For a good portion of the general public the images became passe and took on a negative association. Once the prints were pulled off the walls of bachelor pads, they were found in abundance at thrift stores.

As the 1980's have seen a revival in popular culture, we have seen growth in the collector base and the price for original paintings. In September of 2007 Just Looking Gallery of San Luis Obispo, California held the largest Nagel show in 25 years. Working with the Nagel Estate, Just Looking Gallery brought approximately 200 original pieces to the public's attention. The introduction of original works into a gallery brought a great deal of validation back to Nagel's work. As old collectors were introduced to never before seen images, collectors from a new generation were born. Of the nearly 200 originals, approximately 100 were original acrylic paintings. Of those paintings there were 11 original canvas paintings shown. While it's unknown how many paintings on canvas Nagel created, it is believed that he painted somewhere around 50 originals. Since the retrospective show, there have been approximately 10 paintings that have come available through auction houses in the U.S. In the past year, the acrylic on board paintings have been averaging around $7,000 at auction. And while auction houses have seen a number of acrylic paintings on board sell, it is the rare canvas works that seem locked into collections. The auction block has been void of the canvas works, but prices have been hovering around $20,000 on a secondary market. Since Just Looking Gallery's retrospective show in 2007, we have seen an annual increase of around 10% at the auctions. With there still being more qualified collectors of Nagel's work than there are available Nagel originals, it's safe to say that there is room to grow!The three images above are original acrylic paintings on board that were auctioned at Heritage Auctions on October 20th, 2009. (Woman in Fishnet $7,170.00 / Woman on Toilet $9,560.00 / Woman in Jacket $13,742.50)
The two images above are original acrylic paintings on canvas that were represented and sold by Just Looking Gallery in October of 2009. (Woman Removing Top approximately $18,000.00 / Woman with Polka Dot Earring approximately $18,000.00)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Memphis Atomic Earrings

Adding to yesterday's spotlight of Adrian Olabuenaga's Memphis necklace "Atomic", we wanted to feature the matching earrings. Adrian created two pairs of earrings as companion pieces to the necklace. The first pair of earrings titled "Neutron" measures 2 1/2" long. These post earrings are very 80's in the color and shape composition, but it's the use of the Bacterio Memphis pattern that makes them even more showcase! The Bacterio pattern was frequently used as a laminate on Memphis furniture pieces like the Carlton Bookcase & Tahiti Lamp. These earrings are currently available for $130. The second pair of earrings titled "Proton" measures 2 1/4" long. These post earrings are very aggressive with the shape and color combination! The confetti pattern was a very poular design element used by designers like Dorothy Hafner for her ceramics in the 1980's. These earrings are currently available for $130.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jewelry of The Memphis Design Group

As our first post we would like to spotlight the Authentic Jewelry of The Memphis Design Group. In 1985 Memphis founder Ettore Sottsass paired with Acme founder Adrian Olabuenaga to develop a series of jewelry pieces created by various Memphis group designers. The entire body of work created with Acme is featured in the Groninger Museum, Groningen, Holland. These pieces were officially retired and taken off of the market years ago and all of the tools & dyes used in their manufacturing were destroyed. Over the past year we have become the exclusive representative of Acme's Memphis Jewelry line. Many pieces are either sold out or near a sold out status, so you'll want to watch our blog and website for these unique collectibles pieces.
This showcase necklace is a great example of Memphis Design by Adrian Olabuenaga. This necklace titled "Atomic" measures 1 3/8" x 7 1/4" with a 15" long black rubber chain and is available for $275. This necklace won him an award with Design Plus, Germany. The matching brooch and earrings were featured in the Memphis exhibition in 2005 at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Frankfurt, Germany. Adrian's work was included in the "Memphis Designers for Acme" jewelry series at the insistence of Memphis founder Ettore Sottsass. Please keep a watch as we will continue to spotlight great Memphis Jewelry pieces that we have available on our website.