Artist Spotlight: Kim Curinga

Tweet Meet our newest Artist, Kim Curinga.  Kim is a digital photographer and photo illustrator who studied at Art Institute of Pittsburgh, The Maine Photographic Workshops, and The International Film and Television Workshops. Her photomontages are the result of her need … Read More

Meet our newest Artist, Kim Curinga.  Kim is a digital photographer and photo illustrator who studied at Art Institute of Pittsburgh, The Maine Photographic Workshops, and The International Film and Television Workshops. Her photomontages are the result of her need to create personal landscapes from images she feels compelled to photograph, things she needs to document. The subject matter varies with what she is seeing around her and what is meaningful to her. Her work is featured in an Associated Press article, Trend Blast, an online trend site, and numerous corporate and private collections, including the Greater Latrobe Art Conservation Trust, regarded as one of the finest collections of 20th century.  Browse her works: http://www.gallerydirect.com/art/artists/kim-curinga  

The Original “Put a Bird On It”

Tweet Greetings, Gallery Direct! Having returned to the States after my fabulous summer of learning and exploring in Italy, I am back to the grindstone. I am currently applying to PhD programs in art history and museum studies, and had … Read More

Greetings, Gallery Direct! Having returned to the States after my fabulous summer of learning and exploring in Italy, I am back to the grindstone. I am currently applying to PhD programs in art history and museum studies, and had the occasion to visit Yale University in New Haven, CT, this past weekend for a fantastic conference on one of my favorite artists of all time, Edouard Manet. The conference was excellent, but I also got to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams: visiting the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Library at Yale.
beinecke library yale
[caption id="attachment_4223" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library[/caption] Not only is it the largest building in the world that is dedicated solely to the preservation, conversation, and dissemination of rare books, it is also open to both Yale students and the public at large. For a book geek like me, it's always wonderful to know that even with such precious materials at hand, people are dedicated to sharing them for the greater good. Among their collections that are out for public display (including a Gutenberg Bible) was a first edition run of John James Audubon's Birds of America. At the age of 35, John James Audubon embarked upon a mission to paint every bird in North America. In 1838, that project saw completion. Working with British engravers, Audubon transformed his watercolor and pastel works into what is now known as Birds of America. A total of 87 sets of five prints - making a total of 435 plates - were released between 1827 and 1838. [caption id="attachment_4224" align="aligncenter" width="528"] Original printing of Audubon's Birds of America[/caption] Having personally worked with all of the plates of this astonishing during my time at Gallery Direct, it was so incredibly cool to see the original works in person. Check out some of the great prints we have available over at Gallery Direct from the Audubon collection. Two of my favorites are the Great Horned Owls and the Zenaida Doves.   [caption id="attachment_4225" align="aligncenter" width="242"] Audubon's Great Horned Owls[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4226" align="aligncenter" width="240"] Audubon's Zenaida Doves[/caption] So, go ahead and "put a bird on it" with your favorite Audubon print from Gallery Direct!

Fall Art Trends: Black and White

Tweet   Fall fashion trends are hitting my favorite boutiques and I can’t stay away!  Through my shopping adventures, I noticed a trend in my shopping bag, that matches my walls.  Black and white! Here’s a shot of a display at … Read More

 
black and white trends

Fall fashion trends are hitting my favorite boutiques and I can't stay away!  Through my shopping adventures, I noticed a trend in my shopping bag, that matches my walls.  Black and white! Here's a shot of a display at my favorite boutique in San Francisco, Ambiance. They paired the classic colors with a splash of blue. That black and white dress is absolutely stunning and puts a new modern twist on a contemporary look.  This boutique has consistently been voted San Francisco's top woman's boutique for several years, and it's obvious why. Black and white are playing a huge role this Fall and are adoring runways across the globe. No longer reserved for basics, it’s time to embrace the freshness of the bold contrasts. Art works the same way. Artwork follows the fall trends of the runways, just in a more subtle way.  Like your clothes, with art you can pair your current or older décor with new décor, making a huge impact in your space.  This bold black and white abstract makes a huge impact in this room.  Changing the artwork from florals to abstract makes it look like a complete makeover.

My pinterest board has my wish list of black and white artwork and outfits, my two favorite things ......and these are anything but ordinary. From the runways to your walls, there is nothing boring about black and white. What are you wearing this Fall?  
Greetings Gallery Direct! I have just returned from a fabulous six-day vacation that I took during a short break from my program. Even though I'm already back in the thick of classes, I feel revivified and inspired from my travels. Last week, two of my friends and I packed our bags and boarded a train to Venice, a place I have been dreaming of visiting for years, and then on to Florence (but more about that next time!). As soon as I stepped out onto the piazza off of the train station, the beautiful view took my breath away. I could not believe I was finally there!
venice italy canal
[caption id="attachment_4121" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Canals of Venice[/caption] Now, being the art history nerd that I am, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of art all around me. Not only was the Venice Biennale going on (one of the most important contemporary art events in the world), but the masterful architecture and dedication to preserving the city and its treasures were enough to make my jaw drop. One of my favorite moments, however, was when I was walking along the Gran Canale, in front of the Piazza San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale, when I spotted the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore across the water. [caption id="attachment_4120" align="aligncenter" width="528"] San Giorgio Maggiore[/caption] The stunning sixteenth-century church inspired one of my absolute favorite series of paintings by Claude Monet. The most famous (and certainly one of the most beautiful) of these paintings is San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk. [caption id="attachment_4122" align="aligncenter" width="528"] Claude Monet's San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk[/caption] It was so incredible to finally see the landscape that Monet was so inspired by. It was even greater to feel that very same inspiration. It just goes to show that true beauty, like that which is to be found in the winding streets and canals of Venice, is truly forever. What cities inspire you? Want more from Monet's Venetian stint? Check out his painting of the Palazzo Contarini! 

The Wonders of the Waves

Tweet Last Friday, I took a trip to the ancient necropolis at Cerveteri and spent a few happy hours crawling around tombs that date as far back at 1200 BC. Needless to say, it was one of the greatest experiences … Read More

Last Friday, I took a trip to the ancient necropolis at Cerveteri and spent a few happy hours crawling around tombs that date as far back at 1200 BC. Needless to say, it was one of the greatest experiences of my young life. What could make this perfect day better? A trip to the beach, of course! After touring an archaeological museum that is housed in a medieval castle in the town of Santa Marinella, I got to dip my toes in my favorite body of water on earth: the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean is entrenched in the history of the ancient world, as well as more recent events. Its historical importance is matched only by its magnificent beauty.
mediterranean sea ocean
[caption id="attachment_4081" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Mediterranean Sea at Santa Marinella[/caption] As I stared at the vivid blue water and listened to the sounds of the waves and the splashing swimmers, I got to thinking about how bodies of water have inspired artwork for centuries. There is just something about the overwhelming vastness of the sea that is inspiring and contemplative. One of my favorite examples of painters who expressed their love of the waves in their work is Claude Monet. His paintings from Dieppe, Pourville, Varengeville, and Etretat are all perfect examples of how an artist can be inspired by the ocean and interpret that on canvas (follow the links to see what I'm talking about!). [caption id="attachment_4083" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Claude Monet's "Sunrise, the Sea"[/caption]

 The ocean-obsession exists all throughout art history. One of Gallery Direct's very own exclusive artists, Allyson Krowitz, is so taken with seascapes and coastal scenes that they comprise almost her entire collection! Her work provides a really multi-dimensional look at tropical life, and is well worth checking out. Gallery Direct also has an entire section dedicated solely to prints with coastal or nautical themes.

What's your favorite body of water? Do you like to frolic on the beach, or do you prefer the serenity of a lake? Or perhaps the energy of a rushing river? Whatever floats your boat (pardon the pun), I'm sure it inspires you in some way. If that inspiration means creating a piece of artwork that reflects your love of the water, all the better. For me, this is about as artistic  as it gets:

Not too shabby, eh? It's no medieval castle, but it will have to do.

Ciao Gallery Direct!

Tweet Greetings from Italy! It’s been a while since I posted to Off the Wall, but in my defense, I have been in transit. I am pleased to announce that I am officially Gallery Direct’s first Foreign Correspondant! After finishing … Read More

Greetings from Italy! It's been a while since I posted to Off the Wall, but in my defense, I have been in transit. I am pleased to announce that I am officially Gallery Direct's first Foreign Correspondant! After finishing my internship in the merchandising and marketing department, I said goodbye to beautiful Austin for a summer of postgraduate education, traveling, and, of course, lots of art. I am honored to be taking part in the Postgraduate Certificate Program of ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art. As you may recall from my previous posts about the Isabella Stewart Gardner theft and the destruction of two Klimt paintings during World War II, I have a special interest in art crime and cultural heritage protection. This ten-week intensive program will allow me to explore these kinds of topics in-depth in both a practical and academic setting. Oh, did I mention that this all takes place in a small, hillside town in Umbria?
amelia umbria italy
[caption id="attachment_4021" align="aligncenter" width="528"]amelia umbria italy View of the Umbrian city of Amelia, Italy.[/caption] My first week of classes consisted of a crash-course in the contemporary art market. Learning about the inner-workings of the gallery world, the auction houses, the role of the dealer and the collector, as well as the new, speculative market that has recently taken shape, I got to thinking about how Gallery Direct is very much on the cutting edge of the market. With the growth of technology, art is disseminating more quickly than ever before, as even large auction houses like Christie's conduct some sales either partially or entirely online. It's almost too obvious to say that the online marketplace allows more and more people to participate in the art market than ever before. But what distinguishes Gallery Direct from those traditional institutions that are adapting to the digital space is that our model allows us to price our artwork at a level that is accessible to everyone. Being in the art world is consistently governed by who has the most change to spare, and as prices at the auction house flock toward the billions of dollars, it's so encouraging to see, as a young student, that there are alternatives to these unimaginable sums. Working at Gallery Direct was great exposure to the potentials of the future of the art world, and I am so glad to continue that exploration from abroad. This summer will be filled with adventure, education, and loads of great art. I'll be sure to keep you updated on all of the above.
I crave the feeling of new decor, I think I am actually addicted to it.  I love retail therapy for my home. Too often I find myself buying new pillows, pictures, dishes, vases, throw blankets, duvet covers, towels, and most recently a new scale.  That last purchase is when I knew I had a serious problem, I bought a scale because it looked cute in my bathroom, not because I intend to stand on it. I decided it was time to break this obsession with purchasing new items every several days and that I was going to love what I already have. I am on a "no home decor purchase" pact for the next 6 months!  I can still redecorate, but I have to get creative with what I already own.  Here's five tips to show you how I have been coping. Tip #1 Moving my artwork around!  This is my favorite tip, moving artwork from one room to another creates a whole new room and a fun decorating challenge.  First, I started in my bedroom.  I took these love birds by Judy Paul that were above my sofa in the living room and hung them above my bed.  I love how modern the bedroom looks! Tip #2 pile on your pillows.  I grabbed every pillow I had in my entire home and put them on my bed. I am so pleased with the results and it doesn't bother me that they are all a little different.  As I went through other parts of the house, I pulled pillows from the bed to decorate the other rooms and still have 8 left on the bed. Yes I even got carried away and threw a white boa left over from Halloween on the side of my bed to throw the symmetry off a bit. Next up was my living room. Tip #3 I rotated my floor rug by 90 degrees.  This was scary at first, but I stuck it out.  I moved the sofa away from the wall by 3 feet after reading that moving your furniture to the center of the room can make a room look bigger.  I am not sold on this idea yet, but it did give me plenty of wall space behide the sofa to place large pieces of artwork. Tip #4 I took several books piling up in my book shelf and made a side table! How brilliant is this? Tip #5 I took all the blankets I have and placed them on various pieces of furniture. The sofa, reading chairs, even the ottoman. Bonus Tip: #6 I had a small curtain with a black and white pattern laying around. It's actually part of my winter collection.  I placed it on the table in the breakfast nook making a table cloth!  I then filled a vase with some fresh fruit, mostly oranges for the splash of color and to give it a summer like feel. Have a revamp your home tip for us? Please share with me in the comment section below, as I still have 5 months of no spending to go!  Wish me luck.    

How to Hang Level Artwork

Tweet   Learn how to hang level artwork perfectly with this Easy Tip* Now you can hang level artwork yourself! Visit our Design Help & Inspiration section for more DIY tricks like this and inspiring design direct from our talented staff!

  Learn how to hang level artwork perfectly with this Easy Tip* How to Hang Level Artwork Now you can hang level artwork yourself! Visit our Design Help & Inspiration section for more DIY tricks like this and inspiring design direct from our talented staff!

Star-Gazing with Sidney Hall

Tweet One of the great things about working with the merchandising team at Gallery Direct is that I have crawled and crept through every corner of our enormous digital collection. It is such great fun to discover all the amazing … Read More

One of the great things about working with the merchandising team at Gallery Direct is that I have crawled and crept through every corner of our enormous digital collection. It is such great fun to discover all the amazing images we have (that's everyone's idea of fun, right?). A few weeks ago, I came across yet another hidden gem in our historical holdings: a series of constellation engravings by nineteenth-century engraver Sidney Hall.  [caption id="attachment_3497" align="aligncenter" width="528"] "Virgo"[/caption] A couple months ago in my inaugural blog post, I revealed my quirky obsession with nineteenth-century maps. Apparently I'm not the only person with a penchant for geography, because our vintage maps section has since taken off. When these kinds of maps were growing in popularity, cartographers and engravers alike also turned their attention skywards, and began publishing what were referred to as "star atlases," or celestial atlases. Sidney Hall, a fairly successful British cartographer, begun his career by contributing engravings to popular international atlases. Around 1825, however, following the major success of Alexander Jamieson's Celestial Atlas, published in 1822, Hall was asked to created a set of 32 engravings depicting the sky's constellations. Published as a set of cards under the title Urania's Minor or A View of the Heavens, Hall created two editions of the cards, the later of which, released in 1833, have become iconic interpretations of the skies above. [caption id="attachment_3498" align="aligncenter" width="528"] "Cancer"[/caption] Hall's engravings were accompanied by a text by Jehoshaphat Aspin, A Familiar Treatise on Astronomy. The cards served the dual purpose of illustrating the text, as well as serving as practical astronomical tools for consumers. In addition to the illustrations of figures and animals that Hall uses to depict the constellations, he accurately places the actual stars along the constellation lines. What's more, the manufacturers of the cards punched small holes where the stars are represented to allow light to come through. [caption id="attachment_3499" align="aligncenter" width="528"] "Gemini," with visible star holes.[/caption] This allowed for two things for people interested in the night sky: one could hold the card up in the air to properly locate and align the constellations, or project a shadow of the constellation onto a surface by holding the card up to a light. The card above, showing the twin stars, Castor and Pollux, commonly referred to as Gemini, gives a clear view of the star holes inserted into the cards. I love learning about how our predecessors conceived and thought about the world around them. Looking at maps and celestial atlases is a great way to get a glimpse into how conceptions of the world were changing with innovations in transportation, communication, and industry. In addition to the nerdy, historical aspects, I think these cards make awesome pieces for wall art. A close friend of mine just had a baby in early August, so I'm thinking for the baby's first birthday, I'm going to have the "Leo" constellation printed on birchwood for the her room in honor of her astrological sign. [caption id="attachment_3500" align="aligncenter" width="528"] "Leo Major and Leo Minor"[/caption] So, what's your sign?
In 1508, famed High Renaissance painter and architect Raphael was given the commission that would make his career. The young artist was asked by Pope Julius II and his personal architect Donato Bramante to create the massive frescoes that adorn what are known today as the Stanze di Raffaello, or Raphael Rooms, of the Vatican Palace. Raphael's first conquest was the Stanza della Segnatura, which now contains four of his most beautiful and well-known frescoes, The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament,The Parnassus, Cardinal and Theological Virtues, and, his masterpiece, The School of Athens. Each of these four frescoes was meant to represent the four areas of human knowledge: religion, poetry, jurisprudence, and philosophy. Toward the end of 1509, Raphael began his second fresco of the series, The School of Athens, representing philosophy. Since its creation in the Apostolic Palace, it has been endlessly revered and contemplated.

Raphael's intricate fresco, measuring approximately 25 by 16 feet, contains nearly 60 figures in a beautifully arranged and appointed background. For hundreds of years, art historians and scholars of philosophy, classics, and mathematics have attempted to identify the different figures, though it seems that Raphael was intentionally vague in the majority of the depictions, with a few exceptions. What we can be sure about is that the two central figures represent Plato (on the left) and Aristotle (on the right). Raphael depicts Plato pointing to the heavens and Aristotle gesturing toward the earth - a commentary on their respective philosophies. Other figures that can be identified with some degree of certainty include Pythagoras, Socrates, Diogenes, Ptolemy, Heraclitus, and Euclid. Despite the many questions about the identities of the figures, what remains clear is that Raphael is representing thinkers from across myriad schools, time periods, and geographical locations from classical antiquity. Thus, he is not attempting to depict an historical moment, but rather a thematic representation of Greek philosophy at its finest. Identifying the figures becomes even more difficult when one realizes that they often have double identities - one from antiquity, and one from Raphael's own time. Many have speculated, for example, that Plato can also be identified as Leonardo da Vinci, Heraclitus has the visage of Michelangelo, and that Euclid shares features with Bramante. [caption id="attachment_3470" align="aligncenter" width="437"] Detail, Raphael's Plato with Leonardo da Vinci's 1510 self-portrait[/caption] So, why did Raphael choose to imbue his figures with this double identity? During the Renaissance, ancient Greek and Roman writers and thinkers experienced a renewed popularity, and were respected as the premier philosophers throughout history. By blurring the line between figures from classical antiquity and his own peers, Raphael asserts that the thinkers of the Renaissance were on par with their formidable predecessors. The artist also blatantly includes an image of himself, gazing out to the viewer. In addition to his commentary on the relative status of the Renaissance in relation to antiquity, Raphael boldly breaks with tradition regarding his representation of the idea of philosophy. While those who came before him tended to represent philosophy in a purely allegorical way (or at least in a way in which the allegory or ideal of philosophy is given more importance than its human practitioners), Raphael humanizes his topic. He does not forsake the allegorical depiction of philosophy, but rather makes it almost secondary relative to the rest of the subjects. The personification of philosophy, often called Philosophia, appears in the accompanying tondo (an Italian term for a round painting or sculpture). The tondo above the The School of Athens announces the subject of the work, in the same fashion as the other frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura. The beautiful Philosophia sits upon a throne, flanked by two cherubim bearing the words "Causarum Cognitio," a reference to Cicero meaning, "Knowledge of causes." She holds two books, one entitled "Morals," the other, "Nature." This is a classical depiction of Philosophy, and yet within the context of The School of Athens, the figure is relatively diminutive. The tondo is merely six feet in diameter, and because it is over 25 feet off the ground, it is hardly easy to see from eye level. Furthermore, while tradition dictates that the depiction of Philosophy should be the focal point of a work, Raphael isolates her from the rest of his work. While she may loom over the individual practitioners of the art of philosophy, the latter are nonetheless the primary subjects, overwhelming the former in size, number, and relevance. By making the practitioners the focal point of his fresco, Raphael humanizes and indeed secularizes the practice of philosophy. Like so many of his compositions (a personal favorite is the cherubim detail in his Sistine Madonna), Raphael's School of Athens truly rewards careful study and contemplation.