About Nikki Georgopulos

After interning in the merchandising department at Gallery Direct and developing a reputation as the token art history nerd in the office, Nikki took off for a post-bac program in the hills of Umbria in Italy, and is happy to call herself GD's first Overseas Correspondent. Bitten by the travel bug at an early age, nothing makes her happier than exploring new museums or reading old art history textbooks while curled up with her cat, Zeppelin, her basset hound, Diesel, and her main squeeze, James.
Being an art history geek has its quirks. How do I unwind after a long day at work? I scan through my old art history textbooks. I know it's kind of weird, but it gives me a sense of calm to flip through the well-loved pages and read the words of the scholars and thinkers who inspire me, and in turn, the artists who inspire them. Working with Gallery Direct adds a whole new dimension to my little meditation - with a quick click of a button, I can find high resolution images of my favorite paintings and prints. Last night, I was all zenned out while looking through one of my favorite books, Carol Armstrong's Manet Manette. Not only is this a groundbreaking text, but  it is also one of the first books that made want to go into art history. Armstrong spends her final chapter contemplating a single painting, Edouard Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882). This so happens to be one of my favorite paintings of all time, so I was thrilled to discover that it is also on Gallery Direct. Often heralded as Manet's last great painting, it certainly makes an impression. Not only is it beautifully executed - from the considered palette to the purposeful brushstrokes - it is a veritable field day for art lovers. Reading about this painting for the first time blew my mind. It simultaneously subverts traditional notions of perspective and viewership and yet is still utterly readable and relatable for any viewer. At first glance, it is simply a bar scene - the bottles on the counter frame the beautiful bartender as she waits to take an order. But upon further examination, you realize that the customer the bartender is waiting on is you, the viewer. She stares right at you, waiting. Digging even deeper, you realize that the background of the painting is in fact a reflection in a mirror, and to the right of the bartender, a face is reflected. Like I said, this painting can (and has) been discussed every which way for hours on end. One of my favorite things about it, though, is how it brings together so many of Manet's interests as an artist. While the Impressionists, his contemporaries, were interested in painting en plein air, or outdoors, and capturing the light and colors of nature, Manet's paintings are concerned with the emergence of modern Parisian life. Urban scenes and quotidian subjects abound in his oeuvre, along with a meditation on how art relates to consumerism. Fin-de-siècle Paris was a place of spectacle, and consumption of that spectacle was on the minds of its painters and writers. In Bar at the Folies-Bergère, Manet examines the idea of consumption from multiple angles - the subject itself, a bar, is a place for the consumption of alcohol and food. Moving beyond literal consumption, Manet examines how nineteenth-century Parisians consumed culture at the Folies-Bergère, a popular nightclub, how does the male customer depicted in the mirror "consume" the beautiful bartender, and how do we, as the audience, consume this piece of art? Manet is one of the most complex and confounding artists that I've come across, which is why, I think, he is my favorite artist. His paintings are beautiful and striking, and on top of that, they make me think. When it came down to it, my meditation last night turned into retail therapy - on a whim, I ordered a print of the painting, framed and on paper, through Gallery Direct. I am so excited to have a bit of art history right there on my wall for me to contemplate every day.
Let me come right out and say it – I am a big nerd. I studied art history and history in college, so working with Gallery Direct, I get to geek out on our amazing collection of Old Masters, like Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, our modern masters like Vincent van Gogh and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and of course our incredible collection of vintage posters, advertisements, and other cool memorabilia. But I just hit the jackpot. The team here at Gallery Direct has recently begun an effort to bring you a wide array of historical maps, and I have to tell you, I am just crazy about them. Most of our maps are from the nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century, and are as beautiful as they are intriguing. Studying historical maps is such an interesting experience. Not only are you seeing a glimpse of what once was, but how people thought about the world. I am currently lusting over this incredible 1870 map of New York. Being a native New Yorker living in Austin, Texas, seeing this map every day is a great reminder of home, as well as the city’s intricate history. I just had to have it!   These gorgeous maps are the perfect way to decorate your home. If you’re like me and living away from your hometown, you can commemorate your roots in style. Overtaken by wanderlust? Dreaming of traveling? Pick a handful of your favorite cities to put on display as a reminder of your memories abroad, or your future travel aspirations! Many of our American panoramic maps were designed by Albert Ruger, a Prussian immigrant who served with the Ohio Volunteers during the Civil War. During the war, he started drawing pictures of Union campsites. After the war ended, he settled down in Michigan and began his career in mapmaking by sketching maps of the cities of Michigan. He soon became very successful, and in the 1860s, formed a partnership with another American mapmaker, J.J. Stoner, and together, they published dozens of the panoramic maps that we have available to grace your walls today. The printing company Currier & Ives is also responsible for a good portion of our maps, another nineteenth-century outfit that helped pioneer the American panoramic map. I personally feel so lucky to be able to work so closely with these little slices of history on a daily basis, and even more fortunate to be able to see them printed in such high quality! I suggest checking them out on birchwood, one of the many awesome materials that we print on. Are you as ga-ga for geography as I am? What cities inspire you?