LATEST ARTICLES

The attempted sale of a fake Van Gogh last week brought the subject of art theft and forgery back into the public spotlight, again. A 56-year-old man was arrested by Dutch police for attempting to sell a forgery of “The Harvest.” What was the asking price? The suspect wanted 15 million euros (the equivalent of $17 million) for the forgery. He reportedly also had falsified documents from the Van Gogh Museum that attested to the artwork’s authenticity. Not one, but several potential buyers showed interest in purchasing the work. This wasn’t exactly the first time that a famously high-priced artwork was forged and sold (or attempted to be sold). Criminal activity in the art world is a big business (second only to drugs and guns); and the fact that the industry is the largest unregulated lawful enterprise in the world further helps to encourage forgeries. That said, not all art forgers are in it for the money. Even though there are clearly huge profits to be made (and equally as stiff penalties for forgers who are caught), some of these art criminals create fakes for other reasons. In July a Portland man, Larry Ulvi, plead guilty to an art forgery scam,...
Gauguin's When Will You Marry?

Pioneering the Symbolism art movement, Paul Gauguin is one of history’s greatest and most well-known artists. Favoring exotic destinations, he set sail for Tahiti in the late 19th century. Although he returned to Paris following this South Seas trip, he eventually made his way back to Tahiti for good. His paintings of tropical Tahiti and the Tahitian people are now the hallmark of Gauguin and his work. If the artists paintings inspire you to travel into French Polynesia, you’ll find a cruise line that bears the artist’s name. Paul Gauguin Cruises, and the company’s primary luxury ship the m/s Paul Gauguin, features year-round travel in the South Pacific. The luxury liner doesn’t just take you into Gauguin’s world, it provides you with the opportunity to explore the history of Tahiti. On-board guest presenters offer an array of lectures, including the local marine biology and the anthropology of the culture that Gauguin held so dearly. The cruise liner also features special guests, coming from a wide range of backgrounds. From musicians and artists to environmentalists, there’s something for everyone. Specific special guests vary by cruise. Check out the schedule (which is published at least a year in advance) for upcoming options. While...
Amaretto by Alexey Rubinov

Alexey Rubanov is a Ukrainian artist whose work has been exhibited internationally. Hailing originally from Zaporozhye, he’s lived in the town of Kremenchug for the past 15 years. Born in the early 70’s, Rubanov recalls being an artist for as long as he can remember. Finding the musicality in painting, the painter sees sound as color in his works. The contemporary collection of works that Rubanov creates is unique to the artist, coming together in his own school of painting. Covering his canvases with oil and acrylics, he explores and experiments with his own artistic voice and the use of color. Even though Rubanov has always seen himself as an artist, he honed his skills while earning a master’s degree from the Kharkov State Artistic School and Poltava National University. His first exhibits were in the artist’s native country of the Ukraine. His works have been shown around the world, including St. Petersburg and Kiev. His artwork was most recently shown at the 6th Beijing International Art Biennale in 2015. Rubanov is also part of the National Artists of Ukraine and Art for Peace. Along with exhibiting extensively both in the Ukraine and internationally, the artist won first prize in the All-Ukrainian...

Vincent Van Gogh lived his life creating iconic pieces of wonder and beauty. He was dedicated to the purest form of finding all the good things that the world had to offer, despite only having gained a few of those good things in life for himself. It is only fitting that, through his death, he inspired others to create. Today, the 29th of July, marks the passing of the legendary Dutch painter; the 125th anniversary, to be exact. As such, many of the things inspired by his life and works have been prevalent in popular culture. This article, published by Hannah Sheinberg via National Geographic, talks briefly about some of the geographical places Van Gogh’s legacy has impacted, including a bike path that lights up like the Starry Night, and a place to create your own masterpieces, inspired by Van Gogh’s work. Another piece by the BBC, talks about an artist, Mac Cauley, who has created a virtual reality where you can explore some of Van Gogh’s paintings, and to see the world as he might have seen it. Although most art critics agree that Van Gogh’s mental illness had nothing to do with the way he chose to paint...
The Laundress

Despite the many infamous painters of the Post-Impressionist movement, maybe the most unlikely stand-out was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. His aristocratic background and short-stature, (he only stood about 4ft 8inches) was perhaps the unique combination that informed his art, and is what ultimately made him an icon. During his life time, Lautrec contributed approximately 737 painted works; his most famous depicted the night life of the theater, both in Paris and London, and frequently featured mysterious redheads who exemplified his fascination of the urban underclass. Most of Lautrec’s works were created in the central hub of art at the time, Paris. During the 19th century Paris was a haven for bohemian folk, writers, musicians, actors, and painters. It was here that Lautrec rubbed shoulders with infamous artists, such as Emile Bernard, Vincent Van Gogh, and Oscar Wilde. Unfortunately Lautrec was not without his own suffering. Due to his short stature, he was often mocked and ridiculed. As a child he fractured his right leg at the thigh, and likely due to an undiagnosed genetic disorder (his parents were cousins), his legs did not heal, and in fact ceased to grow. Despite his talent far outreaching his short size, many people could not look...
looted art example

The research into the provenance of some artwork can reveal surprising twists and turns. Finding out the art you bought and cherish is a looted antiquity is a discovery that’s not exactly unique to the modern-day art world. For centuries robbers have been looting tombs, stealing priceless pieces of art, sculptures and other artifacts that they resell for major profits. How has looting changed over the years? It hasn’t – at least not by much. While the days of breaking into tombs or digging up art-filled graves have been replaced by more high-tech means, the crime is still the same. One of the most well-known cases of art theft was perpetrated by the Nazi’s during World War II. The mass looting resulted in more than 650,000 works going missing. Many of the pieces have been ‘hiding’ in plain sight for decades. Hung on the walls of some of Europe’s most prestigious museums, paintings by the likes of Monet and Rubens were sold to museums, where they remained – despite knowledge of their true origins. Forty-four countries signed a deal in 1998 to find, recover and return the looted art. That said, not every country has been completely committed to returning...
Creation Adam

Right at the Pope's doorstep, the Vatican is now the site of a gay-themed exploration of art history through its “Untold History” tour. If you think you’re in-the-know about the significance of the Catholic headquarters, take another look. Quikky, an LGBT-friendly travel company, now offers a look into the back story of the Vatican’s immeasurably historic collection. Thanks to the Catholic church's habit of art-hoarding throughout history: Quikky’s tour features the gay history of some of the world’s most famous and notable works of art. From the sculptures on view to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the physicality of the pieces and paintings takes a turn from the traditional art history when looking at both the creations and creators in a very different way. For example, while not documented, Michelangelo is thought to have been gay. This puts the almost-erotic images on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling into a new light. Even though the Catholic Church is quick to dismiss their famed ceiling as a sensual scene that sprung from the mind and hands of a gay man, the notion is controversial enough to put it at the forefront during this tour. The tour guide provides the audience with an overview...
lily 8 painting

Sanjay Punekar is an artist who paints from his inner dreams and the beauty of nature. Using vibrant colors, Punekar aims to create heart-touching works that show the amazing power that is internal the human experience. Born in Pune, the artist received a BFA in fine arts from AKMV (in Pune) and was in his first year of an MFA program as of 2015. He has exhibited is Mumbai at the Jehangir art gallery as well as in Delhi at the Taj Place, India Habitat Center and for the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Punekar has received honors for his painting, winning the Hindustan Times award. As a contemporary painter, Punekar works mostly in acrylic colors and water colors. While he’s not currently exploring a new medium, he is experimenting with his inner dreams as subject matter for his work. In his work “Inner Power” Punekar brings the inner soul to the forefront with his bold use of color. The vibrancy of the piece evokes the beauty of nature via abstract forms that flow through the canvas. Like many of his other paintings, “Inner Power” reflects that artist’s style and internal beliefs. The artist delves deep inside to his soul in creating...
Le Havre

You can’t get something for nothing. Or can you? In the case of art gallery director Jonathan Greene, you absolutely can! When Green bought two early pastel studies by Claude Monet he had no clue that there was a third artwork hidden behind the others. The director of London’s Richard Green Gallery bought the Monet’s at a Paris auction in 2014 for an undisclosed amount. After returning home, Green realized that he had three (not just two) original Monet’s. The surprise artwork was taped to the back of one of Green’s purchases. The first two artworks are studies of skies, dating from 1868. The pieces are from an early period in the artist’s career and depict Monet’s fascination with the changes of the natural world. The exploration of light and the natural transitions in the sky were treasure enough when it came to the two Monet pastels. The third work features the jetty and lighthouse at Le Havre in Normandy. The artist used a blue-tinted paper to accompany the sea-side scene that features the area where he grew up (and the subject of his first professional painting created when he was only 18). All three pieces are rare and were not originally...
Van Gogh Unknown Photo

A newly surfaced photo begs the question, “Is this Van Gogh as an adult artist?” The photo, which dates back to 1887, was set to be sold at the Brussels auction house Romantic Agony on June 20th. Supposedly featuring Van Gogh (along with a group of men, including Paul Gauguin), the tin type was taken in Paris by Jules Antoine. With a pre-auction sales estimate of between $136,000 and $170,000, the photograph failed to sell at all. Why would such an impressive photograph fail at sale? The would-be rarity may not actually feature the famed artist. Well-known for shirking photographs, there are no known authenticated images of the adult artist (aside from paintings). Purchased at an estate sale, the buyers brought the photograph to French photo expert Serge Plantureux. The owners thought that they recognized the post-Impressionist artists in the photo as Van Gogh, Gauguin and Emile Bernard. After researching the photo and its origins Plantureux was convinced about the authenticity of it. That said, not everyone else in the art/photography world is as game to agree. The only authenticated photographs of Van Gogh are from his childhood or shot from behind (i.e., not revealing the artist’s face). A photography expert...