Acquiring Cubists

The big news item in the art world last week was the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s announcement on Tuesday that philanthropist Leonard A. Lauder will be giving his highly esteemed collection of Cubist paintings, drawings, and sculptures to the prestigious New York City museum. The gift – clocking in at almost 80 pieces worth over a billion dollars – is the biggest in the museum’s history.

Lauder, a longtime collector and patron of the New York art world (he has been an active trustee, president, and chairman of the Whitney Museum of American Art, just to name one example), told the New York Times that from the very beginning, he envisioned it as a museum-quality collection. By all accounts, he has certainly met his goal; his collection, which he began assembling in 1976 and is still growing today, is considered to be one of the best and most important private collections of the early 20th-century movement.

We here at Gallery Direct are happy to announce an acquisition of our own. Much like the Met, we too have recently added a considerable number of Cubist masterpieces to our holdings, and we are thrilled to be able to bring them to you.

I remember when I was in college, a professor asked our class a rhetorical question. Wanting to make a point about how the Cubists created a whole new aesthetic in the world of art, he asked how many of us had a piece of Cubist art on our walls at home. He did not expect anyone to respond in the affirmative. His intention was to illustrate how Cubist art did not adhere to traditional notions of beauty, and was thus less likely to adorn someone’s walls than, say, a landscape by Monet. But I surprised him by raising my hand – I┬ájust happened to have a print of one of my favorite Picassos above my desk at the time – but his point was well taken. One does not typically think of having a Picasso or a Braque above the fireplace – but why not? The best rule of thumb for picking art is to go with what you love, and I loved sitting down at my desk every day and being confronted with a piece of art that was challenging and thought-provoking.

That’s why Gallery Direct is dedicated to breaking down the barriers between fine art and everyday decor. Why shouldn’t you have a museum-quality image in your home? No good reason, as far as I’m concerned.

Our recent acquisitions most heavily feature the work of two artists in particular, Juan Gris and Franz Marc. Gris developed his own, unique take on Cubism, often harmonizing colors rather than using monotones, and is particularly well known for his works in collage. His work also demonstrates the popular Cubist motif of incorporating typography and painted typeface into his work, thereby inserting a sort of identifiable referent in what might otherwise be an “unreadable” painting.

Marc, heavily influenced by the concomitant German Expressionist movement, had a proclivity for choosing natural subjects and depicting them in an abstract manner. His use of bright, bold colors was motivated by a desire to infuse his work with emotional weight and meaning.

So, what are your thoughts on Cubism? Check out Gallery Direct’s new collection and let us know what you think!

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