The Original “Put a Bird On It”

Follow 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!
Spring is here and we just released our Spring Art Trends for 2013! Today, Gallery Direct announced that bold colors, geometric shapes and transparent inspired decor are some of the top art trends for spring 2013. We caught up with Nick Nichols, the Director of Design at Gallery Direct. Nick says, “Bold colors are everywhere this spring. The use of digital enhancement programs and high-definition mediums has really ramped up in every aspect of our visual lives, making our eyes more attuned to vibrant images. As a result, interior designers are choosing brighter, more saturated hues—and we’re seeing consumers pick up on that trend in their own homes. Bright wall décor is an easy way to modernize any space.” 2013 Spring Art Trends from Gallery Direct Embrace Emerald: This jewel toned Pantone Color of the Year adds sophisticated energy that creates balanced depth in your space--and it’s perfect for spring time. Choose an emerald hued statement piece printed on your favorite material with an elegant frame for a classic look.  Browse Gallery Direct’s Emerald Collection here.           Go Bold with Botanicals: Flowery fine art is always in season.  Placing a few vibrantly-colored botanical canvas prints in a room can make your space feel vivacious and harmonious: bright primary colors add a pop to the room while the flowers keep it rooted in calm tranquility. View Gallery Direct’s Botanical collection here.        
Get Creative with Transparency and Reflection: Art printed on transparent or reflective materials like glass, acrylic, aluminum or mirror can create an eye-catching impact.  This is a sophisticated way to incorporate gloss and shine into your décor, and allows you the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.  Learn more about unique printing materials for artwork here.
                                                                                                                                                Grow with Plant-Inspired Patterns: Patterns inspired by plants are making an impact this spring. For example, Sia Aryai’s Zen Series has been very popular with interior designers this season. The organic lines of nature soften the pattern, lending your space a refreshing and relaxing touch.         Update Your Geometrics: The trend of using geometric shapes and patterns in design is still popular. Update this trend for spring by adding stripes.  The stripes will complement the geometric shapes for the perfect sophisticated-yet-bold combination—don’t be afraid of mixing patterns!  Browse Gallery Direct’s Geometric Artwork here.
    Got a Spring trend to tell us about?  Post a comment below!

Wartime Damage and Destruction

Follow If you’ve seen any of my previous blog posts, you’ll know that I’m an art history afficianado. You may not know, however, that my primary area of interest is a bit peculiar. I am interested in art crimes and … Read More

If you've seen any of my previous blog posts, you'll know that I'm an art history afficianado. You may not know, however, that my primary area of interest is a bit peculiar. I am interested in art crimes and cultural heritage protection. In fact, I will be pursuing a post-graduate degree in the field this upcoming summer - but more on that another time. My first real training in the field was last year when I participated in the Provenance Research Training Program in Magdeburg, Germany, which is a course dedicated to the theories and methodologies involved in studying art that was destroyed, stolen, looted, or otherwise obtained by the Nazi regime during World War II. I could go on and on about the topic, and I'm sure you'll hear more about it in future blog posts, but today, I want to focus on two paintings that I came across in Gallery Direct's growing collection of modern masters. Namely, Gustav Klimt's Garden Path with Chickens and Hygieia (a detail from his painting Medicine). Along with thousands of other works of art, these two paintings were destroyed by Axis forces during the war. By all accounts, Hygieia is an exemplar of Klimt's so-called Golden Phase, which prominently featured stunning figures, usually women, rendered in bold colors (the most well known example being The Kiss). Hygieia, a figure from Ancient Greek mythology, is the focal point of his painting Medicine, one of three paintings Klimt made for the University of Vienna. The goddess of health, well-being, and hygiene, she was the daughter of the god of medicine, Asclepius. Klimt depicts her holding in one hand the cup of Lethe, symbolizing one of the rivers of the underworld, and in the other, the Asclepian snake, which symbolized healing and the renewal of health. By juxtaposing a symbol of death and a symbol of life, Klimt represents life and death not as too diametric opposites, but rather as two parts of a single, unified cycle. Klimt's use of mythological allegories in his paintings is one of the aspects of his work as a symbolist that are so unique. Along with the other two paintings commissioned to Klimt for the University of Vienna, Medicine was rejected as pornographic, and went on instead to be featured in the Tenth Exhibition of the Vienna Secession in 1901. After the exhibition, it was purchased by Klimt's friend and fellow Vienna Secession artist, Koloman Moser, and it eventually passed into the collection of a Jewish family. Sadly, the collection was seized in 1938 bythe Third Reich, as Jewish property was deemed to be the property of the German state. This was the case with thousands of families and millions of objects, many of which are still missing to this day. Garden Path with Chickens is not what one would consider a "typical" Klimt painting. Created in 1917, the colorful garden scene demonstrates that in addition to his groundbreaking subject matter and style, Klimt was also a precise and masterful technician of his craft. The detail of each individual flower and the considered blending of colors demonstrate how dedicated Klimt was to perfecting even the most minute and intricate aspects of his compositions. Garden Path was incorporated into the collection of Erich Lederer, which, along with many other works, including Medicine, was relocated to the Schloss Immendorf in Austria at the beginning of World War II, ostensibly for safekeeping. Throughout the war, countless objects, monuments, and landmarks were stolen, destroyed, or defaced, but even after the fall of the Third Reich, the damage continued. After the Nazi regime fell and SS troops were instructed to return to Germany, they left a path of destruction in their wake. One victim was the Schloss Immendorf, which was destroyed by a fire set by Nazi troops on their way out of Austria. All of the paintings within were completely lost, so all that remains of them today are the artist's preliminary sketches and photographs. That is, perhaps, what makes it so remarkable that we are able to have these two paintings at Gallery Direct, as we ensure that while the originals may be lost, and can surely never be replaced, the memory of the paintings and the horrific way in which they were lost endures.
Designers from all over the world work with Gallery Direct to transform homes and offices. We followed interior designer, Sarah Scott, as she helped a work from home mom choose the right art for her space, her style and her budget.   The challenge was to find harmony with Kiera's and her husband's conflicting styles. Watch this video to see how Sarah navigates these challenges and pulls the space together perfectly. Have you faced a design challenge like this?  Let us know your design tips and tricks!

Star-Gazing with Sidney Hall

Follow 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?

Gallery Direct Featured on BUILT

Follow Gallery Direct is proud to sponsor BUILT the Style Network’s new home improvement show.  Based in New York City, BUILT is the authority on stylish living.  The 10 episode series followers one of New York’s top design teams as … Read More

[caption id="attachment_3486" align="alignleft" width="329"] Radio City Music Hall by Michael Joseph printed on Aluminum[/caption] Gallery Direct is proud to sponsor BUILT the Style Network's new home improvement show.  Based in New York City, BUILT is the authority on stylish living.  The 10 episode series followers one of New York's top design teams as they transform the homes of New York's most exclusive clients. What's the hook? This construction crew is made up of the male models that have graced the fashion runways and magazines. Each episode features a demanding client who has hired the design team to do a high end room remodel in their fabulous home, turning what was once a bland space into a dream location that the viewers will aspire to. Among them is an engineer, an art installation specialist, a foreman, and hundreds of hours of hands-­‐on handy work. [caption id="attachment_3487" align="alignright" width="300"] Merrymaking Series by M. Drake printed on Acrylic[/caption] We are thrilled that Gallery Direct's artwork was chosen by the interior designers for the remodels.  The shows interior designers picks out and customizes the artwork that completes the room decor.  See anything you like?   See more of the BUILT images on our Facebook Page.    
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.

Selecting Art: Sailing in Couture Stilettos

Follow My most recent project with Gallery Direct was selecting art with a couple in Austin, Texas that just moved from the East Coast. Two very different personalities presented themselves, which is always a fun design challenge. Nicola, a fashionista … Read More

My most recent project with Gallery Direct was selecting art with a couple in Austin, Texas that just moved from the East Coast. Two very different personalities presented themselves, which is always a fun design challenge. Nicola, a fashionista who has an extreme passion for abstract art and design. Her husband Christian, has an intense passion for sailing, the ocean, and very traditional. Their common denominator was entertaining their friends at their known dinner parties. Their Austin home had one of the best modern dining room layouts, providing his and her walls to showcase their personalities in their favorite room. Like everyone, they had a budget so we started at Gallery Direct. Nicola was shocked at the options, but extremely puzzled how to make this important space both theirs. She wasn’t real thrilled to be searching for an abstract ship to compromise. It was important for her to have something colorful and abstract of her own. To ease the overwhelming search for her we took three easy steps to get started, here they are:
  1. Check out the Brand New First Additions
  2. Use the search engine with key words that express an emotion you might want to feel in that room.
  3. Gallery Direct has the best Subjects section online. That is where we found what we were looking for. (Abstract for Nicoloa and Coastal and Tropical for Christian)
We choose the Brisbane by Brett Pfister with an aluminum finish for Christians wall and a series of four abstract pieces by Jamie Packard on gallery wrapped canvas for Nicola. Two Quick Tips:
  1. To help finalize your decision for your art selection, choose three, print them at home or your office, tape them on the selected wall(s). Leave them up for at least a day. By the end of that day you will know which one you want.
  2. When deciding on a size, use blue tape to safely show you the impact of the size on your wall.  Don’t be shy to go big!
Nicola and Christian were extremely excited to have their guests over. They now have amazing conversation pieces with the balance of vibrant energy and the calming sea showcasing both personalities they desired. Until the next project… Give the gift of art to your temple. Make it the colorful palace you look forward to coming home to. Sarah
Talk about positive energy!!   You can feel Alex's energy exploding from his paintings.  Alex is all about having fun and learning from life's journey.  Many of his abstract painting ideas come from his dreams. He is inspired from observing people and changing their features and colors to reflect their expressions and feelings.  Claiming there is no logic to his paintings, but a constant flow of energy that guides him to into portraying inner feelings, both his and other people's. "People and their expressions have always fascinated me, to see how different yet similar we all are. Bold colors reflect the intensity with which I live and view life. For my black lines, I choose to use liquid acrylic in a bottle and as each squirt of paint falls on the canvas, I capture the irregularity that defines us as humans. It also bestows a particular energy that mirrors my energetic personality.  Welcome to the world according to me." -Alex Benitez View his limited edition Gallery Direct collection HERE.  

2012 Art Gift Guide from Gallery Direct

Follow Give the gift of art this holiday season with Gallery Direct’s Art Gift Guide! For the Eco-friend:  Warm up a green thumb’s home with these bright floral prints by Laura Gunn For the Bar Fly:  This classic French Poster … Read More

Give the gift of art this holiday season with Gallery Direct's Art Gift Guide! For the Eco-friend:  Warm up a green thumb's home with these bright floral prints by Laura Gunn For the Bar Fly:  This classic French Poster printed on Aluminum is sure to make a splash in any social butterfly's space. For the Foodie:  This French Poster by Leonette Cappiello is a classic food lovers delight. For the Fashionista: Compliment the fashion forward favorites in your life with Joel Ganucheau's Subtle Deception paintings. For the Traveler: Give them the world with this Walter Paulson Hemisphere Map printed on canvas. Your Classic Art Lover:  You can't go wrong with a Vincent Van Gogh!  Blossoming Almond Tree puts the finishing touches to any space. Friday at midnight is the last day to order in time for Christmas delivery.  What art do you want this holiday season?