Archive for March, 2013

Artist of the moment……Ennutsiak Ennutsiak

Ennutsiak Ennutsiak was another of the great Inuit artists of the 1900s. His work actually fetches more than any of the artists profiled so far. Ennutsiak worked with the themes of every day life but his work is more sophisticated than his peers with many carvings having multiple characters. He also was able to incorporate movement into his sculptures, a great example of this is in the gallery with one character jumping over the other playing “Leapfrog.”   Ennutsiak was born in the year 1986 in northern part of Quebec province in Canada.

Price range information:  Ennutsiak was a sculptor and works range from $3,000 to $90,000. His mediums were the normal Inuit materials such as antlers, whalebone, stone, steatite, and other found materials.

Our friends at Waddington’s Auction house of Canada bring us the following clips showing works by the artist. See the imagination of the artist here, a birthing scene.

Another work titled Piggy Back ride.

And Hunters Butchering a Walrus.

The artist passed away in 1967 whilst living on Baffin Island, where many Inuit families profiled here make their home.

Make sure to check out the other master Inuit sculptors on this site. For me I so enjoy their work because their civilization and tribe were on the decline with the fall of the fur trade in Canada and worldwide.  Thank goodness for James Houston and his idea to make the Inuit people known for their intricate carvings. The Inuit works went from being stored away for safekeeping and held in Inuit homes, to being sold for great sums of money and now annual sales surpass the $10 million dollar mark.


Happy Easter to all those celebrating today!


Artist of the moment…..Lois Mailou Jones….

Price range information: The artist worked in many mediums including watercolor $3,000 to $10,000. Oils range from $5,000 to $25,000.

The artist has sold work to President Bill Clinton and wife Hillary.

Lois Mailou Jones was a fantastic African American painter and one of few women of color to succeed as an artist during this time.  Jones was born in Boston, Massachusetts in the year 1905.  Her father was among the first persons of color to obtain a law degree from college.

They are several artists who work in capturing at some level the African American lifestyle. I have profiled many including Dean Mitchell, Mary Whyte,  Mario Robinson, and Stephen Scott Young. However, Lois Mailou Jones was painting African American themes and capturing their life when no one hardly any artists painted people of color.

One inspirational artist and mentor for Jones was the African American artist Meta Vaux Fuller. Fuller was among the first artist to capture the life of African Americans in sculpture. Born in 1877 she attended college and was a factor in the Harlem Renaissance. Below is an example of Meta Vaux Fuller’s sculpture work.


In this clip an interview with Lois Jones when she appeared on CBS television.

A great montage of works by the artist.

Another mentor for the artist was the American painter Celine Tabary. Tabary enjoyed painting landscapes with an emphasis on color. Below is an example of Tabary’s work.


Was married to a well known artist coming from Haiti named Louis Pierre-Noel. Pierre-Noel was born in Haiti and educated at Columbia University in the U.S. He designed postage stamps for Haiti, below is an example of his style.


Jones  took advantage of a grant to study abroad in Paris, France in 1937. The artist fell in love with the country and culture. There was seen as a great talent, not a person who skin was too dark to appear in galleries. It was here that she enjoyed freedoms she couldn’t embrace in her home country like eating and drinking where she wanted to.  Jones experienced tremendous success with art and was diverse painting landscapes, portraits, and still lifes.

Lois Mailou Jones also did a fair amount of time painting and depicting the landscape of Haiti. She enjoyed the colors of the region.

She passed away in 1998 at the age of 92 years old.

Artist of the moment……….James Houston

James Houston was the main figure involved in introducing new methods of art to the Inuit such as print making. Houston also helped to promote their artwork. In addition to being a great drawer and printmaker Houston was a skilled artisan when it came to glass.  James Archibald Houston was born in Toronto, Ontario in Canada in the year 1921.

Price range information: For the most part Houston produced prints such as woodcuts and lithographs which can be found for less than $1000. He also helped design glass and his most famous work is above in the gallery titled “Arctic Fisherman.” These works range $500 to $3000 for sophisticated limited edition works. Houston was a lead designer for Steubens glass.

Houston was able to mentor under the tutelage of Arthur Lismer whilst still a child. Lismer was renown teacher and advocated seeing the world through the eyes of a child. This would help Houston to become well respected author of children’s books. Below is an example of Lismer’s modernist style of painting.


For his collegiate studies Houston attended the Ontario College of Art, the Academy de la Grand Chaumiere in Paris, and also in Japan. The asian experience was key in developing his printmaking techniques which he would pass on to the Inuit peoples.

Tired of city life he went off in 1948 to find a great wilderness location to explore. He found it in a somewhat remote location in the Baffin Islands of Canada. He would go on to live with the Inuit people for years eating caribou and whale. Learning to live off the land and as a nomad. Eventually returning to the big city life Houston obtained a government grant to purchase some Inuit sculptures. The first show of  Eskimo art, a term later changed to Inuit art, was a grand success! A sell out!

Was married until 1962 to Alma Houston but the couple split and he went to New York to follow his dreams.

His book the White Dawn has been made into a feature length movie which he helped produce. A link for the film:

Below is an montage Houston’s artwork.

In this clip we  hear from James Houston in his own words what the experience was like after seeing the Inuit sculptures for the first time.

Houston passed away in 20905 at the age of 83 years old.

Houston was the author of a book titled ” The White Dawn.” Below is the cover of this novel.


Houston was not only a great artist, but also a great promoter of art. What a combination of skill sets to have. The annual market for Inuit art sales is between $10 and $12 million per year. A great boost to a people who have seen their main source of income the fur trade, fall for decades and decades.


Artist of the moment…Alexander Ney…

Alexander Ney is a wonderful sculptor that was born in Leningrad, Russia in the year 1939.  The artist came to the United States in 1974 and settled in New York city.  Ney is renown for using terra cotta as his medium of choice. He has unique forms in these works as well, my favorite in this series is the bird skulls. Some artists enjoy working with certain forms for their curves and their design aspect. Many of his heads seem like they are from a different planet as the features are so unique.

price range information: Sculpture in his special terra cotta porcelain mixture sell between $5,000 and $25,000.

Born just at the cusp of the outbreak of the second world war at only two years old Ney was forced to take part in the Siege of Leningrad. Many people were killed including hundreds of thousands of children. Luckily for us the artist survived this terrible ordeal.

As a child the artist mentored with artist V.V. Lishev.

For his collegiate studies Nay attended the Art School of the Leningrad Academy of Arts and the Art School of the Surikov Moscow Institute.

As you can tell from his works, he was very modern thinking in his artistic views, very progressive. He eventually came to clash with those in power and decided to leave his home country for France in 1972. Two years later he would head for the United States.

One of the artist’s sharing his same theories on art was Alexander Kosopalov. Kosopalov was one of the first artists of Russia to make social comments on political events and society. In this picture by Kosopalov we see him pay homage to Abstract master Kaspar Malevich, at first glace it reminds  me of the Marlboro brand logo.


In this clip we see the son of Alexander Ney deliver a sculpture to a satisfied client! Joel the artist’s son tells us briefly about his father’s working method. He starts with a  special company made mixture of clay and terra cotta.

I enjoy Ney’s work for the fact its so unique and you can tell one of his works at first glance because of his great and style that has evolved over the years. He makes the imagined heads  seem very real with his technique.


Artist of the moment….Pitseolak Ashoona

Pitseolak Ashoona was another artist coming from the Native Inuit tribe of Canada. She was the last of her generation to live the traditional nomadic lifestyle enjoyed by the Inuit since before 1000 B.C.  The tribe lived the basic hunting and gathering life with few material possessions and awful healthcare. She had 17 children and only 5 survived infancy. Ashoona was born around 1904 to 1907 and passed away in 1983.

price range info: Etchings,lithographs, and felt tip markers  range $500 to $2500. Works in stone range $500 to $5000.

Again it was the conduit of the Inuit people and the fine art world James Houston who convinced her to give print making a try.

She specialized in much of the same themes, hunting, riding in the canoe, and fables and legends rather than use stones or antlers to carve her story, the artist enjoyed drawing more than anything else and expressed herself in this method although she had done sculptures in the past it wasn’t a main genre for the artist.

The artist had a great use of color and many works were executed with felt tip pens giving them vivid color.

Pitseolak Ashoona appeared on a Canadian postage stamp for International Women’s Day.

Made a Member of the Order of Canada. The highest civilian honor available in Canada.

The artist married a hunter who passed away due to illness when he was only forty years old.

Included in the National Gallery of Art of Canada.

Artist of the moment…….Benny Andrews…


Benny Andrews was an African American painter who enjoyed working with the figure in a very expressive manner. Benny Andrews was born in the year 1930 to sharecroppers in Plainview Georgia. Andrews was one of ten children. Andrews was the first in his family to accomplish many things taken for granted today. He was the first to graduate from high school and went on to serve in the Air Force.

An excerpt from a documentary made about Benny Andrews.

After leaving the Air Force the artist took advantage of the Government Infantry program to attend college at the Art Institute of Chicago. Whilst at the institute a major influence was Jack Levine whom I have profiled before. Levine was the Daumier of modern times making fun of politicians and making social commentary in his art. Below is a great example of Levine’s work. He lived from 1915 to 2010.


Was named director of visual arts for the National Endowment for the Arts and was part of developing the National Arts Program.

Andrews art was a mixture of minimalism and realism. For minimalism I am reminded of the early works of Dean Mitchell. His small watercolor portraits of persons of color living in the south. Many of Andrews characters seem to move about all the empty space on his finished works. With his style of clothing he gives his characters, Romare Bearden comes to mind. Much like Bearden Andrews enjoyed playing with texture having some very rough and parts of his work appear rough and unfinished in conjunction with other more finished and polished parts of the piece.

The artist seemed to specialize in working with the figure who was under a lot of stress or depressed. Kathe Kollwitz comes to mind when looking at the art of Benny Adams. Kollwitz had a negative view on the world as she struggled living in Germany especially during the time of World War 2. She was placed on the list of degenerate artists like Ernst Wilhelm Nay whom I recently profiled and was forbidden to exhibit her art work. Below is a great example of Kollwitz’s style. Kollwitz was great at capturing the dark feelings of war, especially since many of these works have no color, just black and white. Andrews did series also on the Holocaust, the Native American struggle, and even Hurricane Katrina.


In this clip a brief interview with the artist:

Andrews passed away in 2006 at the age of 75 years old due to cancer. Andrews laid the ground for many African American artists to follow.

Price range information: Collage works are the most expensive going from $5,000 to $20,000. Works done in ink range $1,000 to $3,000. Etchings can be found for around $1,000.

Oils, gouache, and watercolor works reach as high as $20,000.


Artist of the moment….Arman Manookian….


Arman Manookian was a highly skilled artist that took his own life before the age of 28 years old. Though only working for little more than half a decade his works are celebrated for their wonderful use of color. Arman Manookian was born in the year 1904 in the city of Constantinople, Turkey.  I love his use of warm and cool colors, very pop and lively. The boldness reminds me pop art master Peter Max. I would say Manookian’s palette is slightly cooler, but mixed with the reds both artist’s landscapes exude warmth. His father published the Armenian newspaper.

Manookian, much like the Inuit peoples of North America, enjoyed using art to capture his culture and heritage of Hawaii. He was different as he wasn’t a native. His family came from the country of Armenia and other famous Armenian artists would be Gorky and Pinajian, the art worlds newest superstar.

Back in 1915 was the time of the genocide in Armenia. One day 600 highly educated people were gathered up and killed. Manookian’s father hid in his publishing head quarters of his newspaper. His father would die of the flu epidemic in 1917 and his mom sold the newspaper business and gave her son money to come to America.

Joined the armed forces and earned a great deal of positive reviews for some works he did for a Major McClellan.

Aloha! In this awesome clip view a montage of the artist’s paintings of Hawaii.

The artist worked in oils and gouache.

He passed away in 1931 taking his own life by ingesting poison.


Artist of the moment……..Arman….




Arman was a fantastic sculptor that came from France and moved to the United States and became a naturalized citizen. He is renown for his technique of taking something apart, and remaking it. In some ways similar to the art of Mimmo Rotella, taking one thought and reorganizing it. His birth name was Armand Pierre Fernandez born in 1928 in the city of Nice, France. He came from a family that was immersed in art and his father enjoyed photography and painting. Arman is renown for using the same shape over and over in his work. For instance a work might contain 20 different stamps or axes. The axes for example would be welded together in a geometric shape such as a triangle.

The early name for these works were called “cachets.” Works with the accumulated objects on a flat surface, stamps on fabric.  Gaining recognition for these works was a big step in the young artists career.

Became a citizen of the United States in 1971.

Was in a movie that Andy Warhol produced in 1964 titled Dinner at Daley’s.

Produced a large amount of public sculpture work.

Two  accumulations include a collection of 83 military tanks and vehicles. Another exhibition included many matchbox sized automobiles.

Arman enjoyed the work and was heavily inspired by Kurt Schwitters. I have posted about Schwitters before as he often has works for sale on ebay. A wonderful collage and decollage artiss that made wonderful works with the headlines and newspapes, stamps, and bus passes.

Arman studied math and philosophy for his collegiate studies.

First show in the Untied States was in 1961.

Attended Ecole Nationale des Art Decoratifs in Nice, France. A school for the designer arts (graphic design.) Also attended Ecole du Louvre, School of the Louvre in Paris, France majoring in oriental studies.

Became friends with well known french artist Yves Klein. Klein was the artist known for his female nudes and his Klein Blue. Working with Klein the two collaborated in creating a work titled “Fill Up.” It was basically a collection of garbage the duo collected. It brought the duo fame and recognition on Europe.

In this clip view a show given for the artist in 2011.

In this clip our dear art friend James Kalm takes us on a show featuring the artist.

Price range information: Arman was very prolific. Works in acrylics range from $5,000 to the low six figures. Lithographs range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Bronzes range from $500 to the low six figures. Etchings start at $500.

Arman passed away in 2005 at the age of seventy six years old.

With his art and his idea of repeating the same shape it reminds the viewer of Andy Warhol and Pop Art. See how many variations he comes up with for using violins both flat and in three dimensions.

Artist of the moment…..Constantin Xenakis….




Constantin Xenakis was born in Cairo, Egypt in the year 1931. Xenakis now spends much of his time in Paris, France where he moved in 1955. The artist is renown for his use of text, math, and symbols in his art. The artist also produces kinetic sculptures. Kinetic energy has to do with the energy an object has due to its motion.

Made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.

In this clip we view a collection of works that shows the many symbols used by the artist. It could be text such as letters from the Hebrew or Greek alphabet. Symbols seen on your daily walks through town could be used or letters from a math or chemistry equation. The show was titled Codes, Secrets, and Lost Symbols.

In this clip Xenakis wishes us well in 2013. I love his use of repeating shapes and patterns in these intricate works.

Has work in the National Museum of Greece.

Price range information:  The artist has worked in many mediums including acrylics which $10,000 to $25,000. Oils range from $1,500 and up. Watercolors $2,000 to $8,000.

If you enjoy looking at text and letters make sure and read my post about Dennis Brown and visit his website. He hails from Ireland and studied calligraphy in college though starting at a young age. Sometimes he builds his letters using glass. A link for Denis Brown’s website :

Artist of the moment…..Street artist master Monsieur A….Andre Saraiva


Andre Saraiva is a well known street artist that also goes by the more common acronym “Monsieur A.” He started doing graffiti works in 1985 and became well known for his character that is a stick man with an X replacing an eye and most times the figure is wearing a top hat. He started spraying this character all over the streets of Paris in 1995. The figure has a name and that is ,”Mr. A.”  Saraiva was born in the year 1971.


Price range information: When working in a small series of 50 t0 100 prints cost $2,000 to $4,000.

A link for the artist’s own website:

Mr. A has evolved now into the night life scene and is a well respected entrepreneur when it comes to night club activity. He has worked in Paris, Tokyo, and New York.

Mr. A also has appeared two times on film. One was with street legend Banksy. Another occasion was for the premium vodka Belvedere.

In this clip we see a trailer for the movie made by Banksy that includes Mr. A!

In this clip a short bio and interview with the artist.

The artist used to run a fashion boutique store that also featured his character art on clothes and various other accessories. His wife was the well known French artist working with light and now doing music named Uffie. Her debut album came in 2010. Her given name is Anna Catherine Hartley.  The couple were married briefly in 2008 to 2009.

Other Parisian street artists I have featured that you should check out would be Invader and Zevs.

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