The Most Famous Portrait Paintings

Some of the world’s most famous artists are more commonly known for their detailed portraits of human subjects. Portrait paintings provide the artist with the opportunity to depict a story within the subject’s expressions. Although the meaning behind the portrait may not always be apparent, what makes most of them famous is the open interpretation of the emotions and inner thoughts of the subject. Here are some of history’s most recognizable faces

 

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Not surprisingly, the Louvre’s invaluable portrait would make this list. Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of a merchant’s wife, Lisa Gherardini, is perceived as the most famous piece of art in history. Originally commissioned by the merchant as a gift for his consort, da Vinci ended up keeping the Mona Lisa for the remainder of his life. When is passed away in 1519, the painting then fell into place in various French Palaces, including that of Napoleon Bonaparte, until finding it’s permanent resting place in the Louvre.  

 

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer was one of the most well-known artists of his time. The painting is often referred to as the “Dutch Mona Lisa” appearing a little more than 100 years after Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. One of the most enticing aspects of the painting is that very little is known about the model that is depicted. Viewers are fascinated with the mystery and like to speculate a story behind Vermeer’s subject. Modern-day entertainment has since written novels and movies about the peculiar girl.    

 

Le Rêve (The Dream) by Pablo Picasso

Known for his modern cubism style of painting, Pablo Picasso has a unique style that has made him one of the most famous painters in history. Le Rêve is a portrait of his 22-year old mistress at the time, Marie-Thérèse Walter. Picasso often painted her using bright colors, evoking pleasant emotions in the interpretation of their relationship. Picasso was not one to shy away from expressing emotions in his work that others would not be inclined to. 

 

American Gothic by Grant Wood 

Since it was painted in 1930, the relationship of the subjects of Wood’s most famous work has been discussed by art lovers across the world. In fact, the man who modeled for the painting is Wood’s dentist, and the woman is his sister. The two had an unusual connection for portrait subjects in that they were strangers to one another. Grant Wood was intentional about choosing subjects that he could imagine living in the Dribble House in Iowa, which served as his inspiration for the painting. 

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.

Most Valuable Art Collections in the World

Art collection supports local artists and the value it presents to society as a whole. In fact, art collecting has grown so big that the top five players in the game have more than $11 billion in assets. Art has become one of the most lucrative investments a human being can put their money into. In fact, to put art collecting into perspective, the Orange Marilyn silkscreens of Andy Warhol were originally bought for $2,400 in the ’60s. Auctioned at the turn of the century, they sold for $17 million, which is a 102,000% value increase in 40 years.

 

Here are some of the most valuable art collections in the world:

 

Francois Pinault

 

A total collection value of $1.4 billion dollars, Francois Pinault has a combined personal wealth of around $14 billion. Even small beginnings can have a massive influence, and when looking at Francois Pinault, he began from small beginnings. He started chopping wood in 1963, but he soon turned his business into a thriving profession. He grew smarter. Some of the investments he has made include Puma, Château Latour vineyard and one of the world’s largest art collections.

 

Philip Niarchos

 

Having a total collection value of $2.2 billion, Niarchos has a personal wealth of around $2.2 billion. Some of the collection of masterpieces include one of the world’s largest private stockpiles of Van Gogh and even the iconic “Self Portrait,” which took place before he cut his ear off. He bought it for $71.5 million, and he bought “Yo Picasso” for $47.9 million.

 

Eli Broad

 

Featuring a collection value of $2.2 and a personal wealth of $7.1 billion, Eli Broad has sometimes been called the “Lorenzo Medici of Los Angeles.” He’s a self-made billionaire who has done some famous philanthropic work. Broad’s interest in art dates to 1973 when he bought the Van Gogh drawing, “Cabanes a Saintes-Maries.” He picked up some other pieces like Picasso, Miro and Matisse. His collection has since expanded to include the likes of Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol. He has over 2,000 artworks.

 

These are some of the most valuable art collections in the world. As art collectors, each of these men hold a special regard and respect in the art community.

 

Tips for Starting An Art Gallery– According to the Experts

 

The most important consideration for individuals who plan to start an art gallery is to know your target audience. The next most important tip is to study the planned location of the gallery.

 

In large urban areas like New York City, starting an art gallery is a relatively simple matter of choosing a location with a lot of daily foot traffic. In large crowded urban cities, there is less worry about a target audience since throngs of people pass by an art gallery and, on impulse stop in due to an art collection that captures their attention. In these large cities, art galleries crop up on sidewalks, in local parks and in strip malls.

 

The Grand Opening of an Art Gallery

The most momentous occasion for a prospective art gallery owner is the Grand Opening. This event should attract artists, art lovers and buyers. Choose a specific theme for the Grand Opening that becomes a signature style of the gallery’s offerings to create the gallery brand.

 

This event should create a lasting memory of your gallery’s purpose and artistic potential for a wide range of patrons. A Grand Opening announcement should be done several weeks before the date of the opening through advertisements and public relations. Don’t be afraid to contact local dignitaries for a “ribbon cutting” ceremony.

 

An Art Gallery with Curb Appeal

The other facet of starting an art gallery is creating a proactive calendar of gallery events. These events include guest artists’ collections or an open house during the holidays. The purpose of starting an art gallery should be clearly defined before a location is chosen. Decide whether renting or leasing is within budget.

 

Advertising and PR – Tools for a Solid Start

Experts agree that art galleries with the greatest success are those who have a well designed advertising and public relations program in place. An effective advertising plan should include social media and some form of hard copy ads in local papers and magazines.

 

The public relations plan should focus on encouraging regular gallery patrons of the art. Successful art galleries often choose activities for patrons like a “wine and cheese” art collectors’ and buyers’ soiree. Don’t be afraid to start gallery events with a program by professionals in art restorations and identifying valuable works of art.

 

Collectors and Buyers – The Lifeblood of a Startup Art Gallery

Obviously, without art collectors and buyers, a gallery’s finances suffer. Before the Grand Opening, create a list of potential collectors and buyers for the type of works of art that will be on display.

 

Art Conservation 101

Art conservation is the preservation of artwork. Curators of art museums try to appropriate works of art they feel will encourage greater patronage. In some cases, these art museum curators require the services of highly experienced, professional art conservators. Generally, this occurs when artwork has been found to be of considerable value in estate sales and through art dealers who do not want to repair damaged artwork.

 

The Unique Skills and Talents of Art Conservation

In addition to repairing damaged works of art, the skills and talents of professional art conservators requires them to visit art museums to ensure great works of art remain in top condition in an uncompromising environment.

 

To show the depth of importance of art conservators, these professionals all adhere to “Guidelines and Standards of Practice” as set forth by the professional organization, AIC (American Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works).

 

Thus, an art conservator is experienced in proper pest and climate control, museum facility security and a broad knowledge of original artists’ use of color and design. These professionals must be able to detect an “overpaint” of a famous work of art and recover the original painting hidden beneath the overpainted artwork.

 

Tools of the Art Conservation Trade

In order to properly conserve artwork for preservation purposes, proper tools are needed by conservators. These include small implements like erasers, spatulas, tweezers, bone folders and cotton swabs. These tools help the conservator preserve works of art with such details as to appear untouched by other than the original artist. They also require a handheld black light to uncover “overpaints.”

 

Why is Art Conservation Important?

To understand the underlying factors of art conservation, it is important to study art value. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, generates a large patronage as a result of changing art exhibitions regularly to attract public interest.

 

An art conservator is required to store and lock away valuable pieces of art at this museum to make room for these displayed exhibits. The job of the art conservator is to properly transport works like 18th Century pastels, DaVinci, Matisse or Monet paintings, works of art from privately owned collections or those that are specially commissioned.

Conserving works of art is of primary importance in order to create the durability of artwork and also to preserve a continuance of the love of art for future generations.