Five of the Most Controversial Pieces of Art

Throughout the years, there are many pieces of art that have sparked conversation. But, some pieces of art make a bigger impression and cause controversy. Here are five pieces of artwork that have been considered scandalous.

 

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

This painting by Picasso is mural-sized, at 11 feet 5 inches tall and 25 feet 6 inches wide. The piece of art depicts the 1937 massacre of the Basque village of Guernica. The painting is controversial for political reasons, as it was a stand against the fascist regimes of Spain and Germany at the time. Picasso did not even want the painting displayed in France until peace had been restored to the country.

 

Fountain by Marcel Duchamp

The high point of the Dada movement, Marcel Duchamp submitted this piece to The Society of Independent Artists and was rejected, even though the rules of the exhibition stipulated all pieces be accepted. The piece was a standard urinal turned on its side, with “R.Mutt” written on it. The piece sparked conversations about what art was and refocused art’s purpose from physical practice to intellectual interpretation.

 

Myra by Marcus Harvey

Myra Hindley was one part of the duo responsible for the Moors murders. The portrait of her is made up of children’s handprints. When it was displayed at the Royal Academy of Art in London in 1997, protesters threw eggs and ink at the painting. Hindley herself even wrote to organizers of the exhibition, asking them to remove the painting because of the pain it would cause to the families of the victims.

 

Madame X by John Singer Sargent

Though the painting appears tame compared to plenty of artwork, this piece was the source of big controversy when it was displayed. The painting’s subject, Virginie Amelie Avegno Gautreau, was an infamous adulterer and her pose and dress offended the French sensibility. It was said that the woman’s pose was vulgar, arrogant and self-centered. The painting originally featured the strap of Gautreau’s dress slipping off her shoulder but was later repainted so the strap was in place.

 

The Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David

This painting depicts the murder of French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat. Marat was stabbed by Charlotte Corday who felt he was partly responsible for the more radical course the revolution had taken. The painting was viewed as controversial because it depicts Marat as a martyr for the French Revolution.

Lesser Known Art Museums in the United States

If you’re looking to experience some of the great artwork housed in the United States, consider a trip to a museum you may never have heard of. Skip the MOMA and the Met this summer and instead, take the road less traveled.

 

Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Norman Rockwell was an author, painter and artist who reflected American culture in his art. The Norman Rockwell Museum is home to the largest collection of original Rockwell art, including 998 original paintings and drawings. The museum focuses on Rockwell’s work and his contributions to American society, popular culture and social commentary. Rockwell resided in Stockbridge for the last 25 years of his life, so museum visitors can see the influence of the area and the residents in his work on display.

 

The Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

The Dalí Museum is the largest collection of the Salvador Dalí’s works outside of Spain. The museum holds over 2,100 pieces of his surrealist artwork, from every moment and in every medium of Dalí’s artistic activity. The museum was founded by Reynolds and Eleanor Morse, friends of Dalí’s who collected the artists work for 40 years before deciding to donate their collection for others to be able to experience the work.

 

Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, Missouri

Some curators consider this to be the finest art museum in the United States because of the architecture. The spare, modern setting encourages careful looking and quiet contemplation. The museum is a non-collecting institution, meaning there are only three pieces permanently on display, and presents both classic and contemporary artwork.

 

Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vermont

The Shelburne Museum is a single collector museum initially founded in 1947 to display the Webb family’s collection of horse-drawn carriages. After realizing she could use it to create a “Collection of collections,” she began collecting historic buildings from New England and New York and relocated them to the Museums grounds. Now, there are 39 unique buildings, including a one-room schoolhouse, a lighthouse, a jail, and the 220-foot steamboat Ticonderoga, on 45 acres of land. The museum displays Impressionist paintings, folk art, quilts and textiles, furniture and American art.

 

American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

Self-taught artists largely ignored by mainstream art museums have found a home at this eclectic art museum in Baltimore, Maryland. It’s America’s official national museum and education center for intuitive, self-taught artistry. The museum relies on guest curators to populate the collection, and sponsors exhibitions based on a theme and not a specific artist or art style.

World’s Best Cities for Art Lovers

Appreciators of art delight in discovering the beauty of some of the world’s most famous pieces, as well as the lesser-known masterpieces. By combining a love of art with travel, you can take in the globe’s most interesting works of art while visiting some of its best cities. From classic art steeped in history to more contemporary and eclectic works, anyone can find a piece that they appreciate. Art can be found anywhere, but here are a few of the best cities to start your adventure:

PARIS, FRANCE: The high roller of them all, Paris is an art lover’s dream. From the venerable works found at The Louvre to the quieter Musée Rodin, the city oozes art from every corner. You don’t even have to step foot in an official museum, as the beautiful gardens, sculptures, churches, and other architecture is art in itself.

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO: Some might be surprised to see this southwest American city on the list. However, visitors to Santa Fe have long marveled at its myriad of art galleries, from the more famous Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the Museum of International Folk Art to the smaller collection of independently run studios. The area is especially known for its focus on Native American and folk art.

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: That city that never sleeps has enough art to keep you busy for days. The famous New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is the centerpiece of the city’s dazzling collection of art designed to appeal to every personal preference.

FLORENCE, ITALY: Rome and Venice’s lesser-known sister is a star in the country’s storied and classical art history. Some of the world’s most famous works of arts call this beautiful city home. The Galleria dell’Accademia houses Michaelangelo’s statue of David, wowing countless visitors each year. The Uffizi Gallery and the Bargello Museum are all-day destinations in their own right. The gelato in Florence isn’t bad either.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: Home to more than 1,000 art galleries, London is a must-see city for any art connoisseur. In addition to the obvious stops at The National Gallery and the British Museum, travelers should also make time to visit the smaller Tate Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum, and more.

Build an Impressive Art Collection with Pennies

Being a connoisseur of fine art has nothing to do with how much money you have. Money doesn’t create good taste. If you have always been attracted to paintings, sculptures and other original pieces of art, seize this moment and start fulfilling your dream of starting your own art collection.

 

Avoid Looking at the Price Tag

 

An oil painting may sport a $1000 price tag, but pay little attention. Instead, study the piece for that one quality that has caught your eye. Look beyond the subject matter and focus on blend of colors, texture and depth. Something is triggering that euphoria in your brain. By identifying a specific feature, little-known and cheaper artists can bring the same reaction.

 

Visit Online Curators

 

There are many online artists that will feature their work on curator sites. Some use a rotating system of new artists while others have scanned and selected those artists that show promise in the art community.

 

Mingle at Art Galleries

 

There is often an interesting story behind a popular artist that drives up the price of a painting. This, and other tidbits of information, can help to expand your knowledge of how an artist thinks and works. Strike up a conversation with someone that shares the same aspects of a painting as you do. They can lead you to other shows, auctions and unknown artists. Also have favorite galleries place you on their mailing list for upcoming shows and possible discounts.

 

Be Obsessed to a Point

 

Having a passion for fine art can bring you many hours of satisfaction. However, set your boundaries and do not exceed. There is no fast money in turning art and should never be looked at in this light. Art is in the eye of the beholder and if you are not going to treasure its display in your home, you have missed the point. On the other hand, do not become so obsessed with a particular artist that your budget is continually in the red. Fine art can become an addiction so be careful with your new love.

 

Take it slow and easy when building your art collection. There are little rules and regulations in the fine art industry. Be leery of individuals that try and pressure you into a sale. There are sharks everywhere.

 

Celebrities With Impressive Art Collections

Celebrities have the financial means to spend their money on a number of expensive hobbies- a popular choice as of late is collecting art by world-renowned artists. Listed here are celebrities with the most impressive art collections.

1. George Lucas
George Lucas is a filmmaker who loves to collect pieces of American Illustration. Amongst his collection are pieces by Norman Rockwell. In fact, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg lent a portion of their collections to the Smithsonian for an exhibit.

2. Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer is a famous actor who happens to be a collector of Contemporary Sculpture featuring artists such as Roxy Paine. Rumor has it that he is working toward building a sculpture park on the large property he owns in New Mexico.

3. Jane Holzer
Jane Holzer is an avid art collector, movie producer, and Warhol Superstar of the past. She collects Contemporary art from a variety of artists including Andy Warhol, Fischli and Weiss, Andreas Hofer, Jean Michele Basquiat, Jonathan Seliger, Christopher Wool, and many, many more. She has real estate in Palm Springs and from there is mostly a full-time art collector.

4. Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt is an actor and art collector of contemporary art and modern and contemporary design. His collection includes work by artists such as Banksy, Yayoi Kusama, Neo Rauch, and Marcel Dzama.

5. Maddona
In 2009, Maddona’s art collection was valued at a whopping $160 million! The singer/actress collects artwork in the realm of contemporary and modern (with an emphasis on powerful female artists). Among them the famous Frida Kahlo, Tamara de Lempicka, Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, Damien Hirst, Man Ray. She enjoys art depicting often controversial and thought-provoking scenes.

6. Neil Patrick Harris
Actor Neil Patrick Harris is a collector of contemporary and Americana artworks by artists such as Andrew Sendor, Tony Payne, and Darina Karpov. Several times, Neil Patrick Harris has opened his home to show his collection as an effort to raise money for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles- and has proven to be successful in doing so.

7. Steve Martin
Steve Martin is an actor/comedian who has become more outspoken over the years becoming an advocate of the arts. He collects pieces of modern masters including Pablo Picasso and Georgia O’Keefe.