I Pressed the fire control cushion

So Lichtenstein: A Retrospective was SENSATIONAL – A definite go-see. And when visiting be sure to support the work of the museum by going crazy in the shop – I brought home these fun cushions and of course the book which is a complete treasure trove. There are fun homeware items (espresso cups being noteworthy) and postcards and all sorts of things which will bring those spots and colours to life in your own home.

WHAAM Cushion

I was really excited to find this gorgeous grey throw (the photo really doesn’t do it justice) in the shop at Cliveden for just £30, pure wool and not scratchy which is a bugbear of mine… why wrap up in something which feels like sand on wet skin?! They also have fantastic plaid woolen picnic blankets which are a steal at just £12, which must be less than the cost to make the wool, and my new favourite hostess gift item for spring (I would never accept an invitation of any sort from someone who doesn’t like picnics).

Wool Throw National Trust Shop

 

I am tempted to describe in minute detail a marble tray I saw at Skandium the other day and hanker for… but I won’t for fear of talking myself into buying it.

I am positively giddy at the news that the divine Mr David Collins is launching a furniture collection in Milan later this spring, finally bringing his uber luxe aesthetic within reach, but I’d better get saving as I doubt anything Collins has in store for us will be anything less than truly exquisite.  I yearn for Mr Collins to do a book, allowing us to share his genius and apply his rules to our own rooms.

 

February is my least favourite month. I DO honour St Valentine and my beau will likely receive a card and a small gift (OK so admittedly I do fall occasionally for a little bit of commercialised schmaltz) but the sight of Easter eggs, bunnies and baskets proliferating in the shops fills me with barely-concealable irritation (akin to my thoughts on Christmas decorations going on sale in July) but really, February in London is somewhat dismal. Aside from the retail horror aforementioned, the grey fills me with gloom and frankly if I could live somewhere else from January to March I would.

However, had this dream been realised, I should be jetting back to Blighty about now in anticipation of a new blockbuster exhibition opening at Tate. Lichtenstein: A Retrospective could not have been scheduled more perfectly to bring welcome joy to a soupy London day.

I believe my first encounter with the artist’s work (sadly never the artist, he died in 1997) was I think at the age of 11 when I visited POP ART at the Royal Academy on a school trip. If memory serves, they had a Lichtenstein or two in the show, but sadly I can’t remember which one(s) OR indeed if I wanted to see one so much that I dreamt it and it became a memory… research into this matter will ensue I promise… but whatever moment in time I first beheld the large (huge when you’re 11) canvas, screaming with energy and primary colours all brought to order by the strong black lines and seemingly countless rows of seemingly countless dots endlessly repeating… it was a moment of awe and early appreciation for this body of work which has become among the most recognisable in all modern art. I am by no means an art historian, but the repeating dots theme has put me in mind of Kusama and her dotty takeover of Louis Vuitton in 2012.

Lichtenstein at Christies

Those wishing to own a tiny but very attractive piece from the artist’s own hand need only look to Christie’s sale in London on the 13th February… a really lovely artist’s study is coming to the market estimate £700,000-£1m.

Lichtenstein: A Retrospective opens in London on 21st February. 

“Art market history was made at Christie’s last night when a Picasso, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, coming from the collection of Mrs. Sidney F. Brody, sold for $106,482,500 (₤70,278,450 €81,991,525) to an anonymous bidder, setting a new world record for any work of art sold at auction. The Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale realized a total of $335,548,000 (£221,461,680/Є258,317,960), and also achieved world records for Braque and Rafaelli.” Christie’s New York

In a world where financial markets are in turmoil it is hardly surprising that those at the top of the financial pyramid are looking for alternative investments and are putting their money where they can see it (and enjoy it). The astounding results from this week’s Impressionist & Modern Art sale at Christie’s in New York are testament to this concept of alternative investments providing more satisfaction and a safer return long term than the traditional markets.

For those interested in luxury the art market provides a thousand case studies in one – what makes one artist or composition so much more desirable than another? What drives an individual to spend almost $107m on an object (albeit a very beautiful and unique one). What makes a seller choose a particular auction house? This result is certainly a huge triumph for Christie’s expert marketing.

Not being in this league of art acquisition myself, I do nevertheless have a secret wishlist which currently comprises two works of fine art I would dearly love to own.

Le Moteur Fernand Leger, 1918
This truly captivating painting was part of the Rene Gaffe Collection, and one of several works of art forming a very generous bequest to UNICEF made in 2001. Christie’s handled the sale coincidently, generating $70m in total and making it the largest single bequest from a private individual in the charity’s history. I was honoured to attend a reception at Christie’s HQ in King Street at which the collection was presented to buyers and UNICEF VIPs including the great and dear Roger Moore CBE (he hadn’t yet been Knighted at that time) and Michael Palin. I was totally smitten by the beauty of this composition and of all the paintings I have ever had the pleasure to see up close, this is by far the one I would choose over all others.

Half Face with Collar, Roy Lichtenstein 1963
I don’t know much (if anything in fact!) about this fantastic painting, other than it is by a favourite artist of mine Roy Lichtenstein. I really must undertake some research when more time presents itself but regardless of the painting’s background or “story” I just cannot help but absolutely love it. I read (somewhere) that Lichtenstein’s technique of painting his large compositions with a series of dots (look closely at the face) abstracted him from painting the “thing” he was representing as a whole, as his hands and tools were merely creating a circle of colour; until the image was viewed from further away, as far as the artist was concerned he was just painting a series of single dots on a canvas.

My perspectives, poor referencing and limited knowledge compel me to learn more about these artists, their lives and politics, and about their work.

All copyrights are acknowledged and fully respected and the images belong fully to their respective owners who’s permission has not been sought.