The Frank Worth Exhibition is open now through August 31st at the W Hollywood Hotel Gallery. All images are available for purchase with options to purchase framed or unframed.
Join us on Wednesdays from 4pm-8pm for complimentary wine tasting. Free 8x10 Frank Worth images while supplies last.
Frank Worth (1923 - 2000) was an American photographer who befriended and photographed many Hollywood actors and actresses between 1939 and 1964. His black and white candid pictures are unusual for the era, when most stars limited themselves to carefully posed glamour portraits...
11 Little-Known Facts About Frank Sinatra
1. Traumatic Birth
Born on December 12, 1915, in a Hoboken, New Jersey, apartment, Francis Albert Sinatra was blue and not breathing when he was yanked out of his mother with forceps. Thought to be dead, the infant was laid on the kitchen counter while the doctor attended to his mother. His grandma picked up the newborn, stuck him under some cold water, and little Frank wailed out his first song.
2. Physical Insecurities
Those forceps left their mark on the left side of Sinatra's face, in the shape of a scar that ran from the corner of his mouth to his jaw line and a cauliflower ear. As a teenager, he was nicknamed "Scarface." He also suffered a bad case of adolescent acne, which left his cheeks pitted. Self-conscious about his looks as an adult, Sinatra often applied makeup to hide the scars. Even with that, he hated to be photographed on his left side. The physical insecurities didn't end there. Sinatra also wore elevator shoes to boost his five-seven stature up a few inches.
3. Bad Boy Image
Sinatra's bad boy image began with his infamous 1938 mug shot. The charge? At a nightclub, one of his girlfriends attacked his wife-to-be Nancy and later had Frank arrested twice – once for seduction and again for adultery.
4. Manufactured Hype
In the 1940s, Frank – or Frankie, as he was then known – became one of America's first teen idols. Not to take anything away from his amazing voice and his ability to excite the female throngs, but the bobbysoxer craze he incited (so called because the coed fans wore Catholic school-style bobby socks, rolled down to their ankles) had a little help. Sinatra's publicist George Evans auditioned girls for how loud they could scream, then paid them five bucks and placed them strategically in the audience to help whip up excitement.
5. The House I Live In
In 1945, Sinatra made a short film, The House I Live In, that spoke out against anti-Semitism and racial intolerance. Ironically, a decade later, its liberal slant got him tagged as a Communist sympathizer during the McCarthy trials. Sinatra never testified, but it was more fodder for his already growing FBI file.
6. FBI File
That FBI file had been started by J. Edgar Hoover a few years later after a radio listener wrote to the Bureau, saying, "The other day I turned on a Frank Sinatra program and I thought how easy it would be for certain-minded manufacturers to create another Hitler here in America through the influence of mass hysteria." Sinatra had also been investigated by the FBI for reportedly paying doctors $40,000 to declare him unfit to serve in the armed services.
7. Introduction of Concept Album & Box Set
In 1946, Sinatra's debut release, The Voice of Frank Sinatra, helped introduce both the concept album and the box set. At a time when long-playing records were still novel, Sinatra issued a set of 78 rpm records with eight songs, all with a theme of lost love. It sold for a hefty $2.50 (the equivalent of about $30 today). But the price didn't prevent it from topping the charts for seven weeks. Two years later, it became one of the first-ever pop music vinyl 10" LPs. Sinatra would later make classic concept albums like Only The Lonely and In The Wee Small Hours for Capitol Records.
8. Suicide Attempts
Frank's star fell hard in the early 1950s. He was so low that he even attempted suicide. Walking through Times Square, he saw mobs of girls waiting to get into a concert by new singing sensation Eddie Fisher. Feeling washed up, Sinatra went back to his apartment, put his head on the stove, and turned on the gas. Luckily, his manager found him in time, lying on the floor, sobbing. Sinatra made three other suicide attempts, all of them in the throes of his volatile relationship with actress Ava Gardner.
9. The Summit
With his pals Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford, Sinatra led the Vegas clique known as the Rat Pack. The name was coined by actress Lauren Bacall years earlier to describe a Hollywood drinking circle that included her then-husband Humphrey Bogart and Sinatra. The guys in the Rat Pack actually referred to themselves by a different name – The Summit – playing on a 1960 summit meeting in Paris between top world leaders.
10. Signature Drink
James Bond has his martinis, shaken not stirred. And for Ol' Blue Eyes, the cocktail of choice was a mix of four ice cubes, two fingers of Jack Daniel's whiskey, and a splash of water. "This is a gentlemen's drink," he once said. And if you want to hold the drink like Frank, don't touch the rim. Cup it in your hand, insulated by a cocktail napkin.
11. New York, New York
Sinatra actually had two hits called "New York, New York." The first was in 1949, from the film On the Town, and was written by Leonard Bernstein, Adolph Green, and Betty Comden. Thirty years later, Sinatra cut "(Theme From) New York, New York," by John Kander and Fred Ebb. Originally from Martin Scorsese's 1977 bomb New York, New York, Sinatra turned it into his signature song and onstage closer. He also angered the lyricist, Ebb, by customizing the words (Sinatra had done this to a few songwriters, most famously Cole Porter), adding the climactic phrase "A-number-one." In 1993, Sinatra recorded the song again, this time as a duet with Tony Bennett.
The Untold Story
We are excited to share with you the story behind one of Helmut Newton’s most sensational pieces “Comme Jackie O”, featuring one of his favourite and best-known supermodels, Linda Morand.
COMME JACKIE O
Perhaps the most remarkable work, at least for its sensationalist story, in the gallery’s collection is this photograph of super-model Linda Morand posing as Jackie Kennedy for French Vogue.
The two were well known for looking alike and Newton’s satirical reportage of Morand as Kennedy became an iconic Vogue spread. The notorious shoot emphasises the brave, single-mindedness of Helmut Newton’s creativity – his provocative perspective stretching even to the doors of the White House.
As the story goes, Richard Avedon sent a telegram to Newton following the shot congratulating him and letting him know that the First Lady was getting ready to sue Newton for defamation of image!
Excerpts from Linda Morand’s upcoming book reveals the true story behind the shoot of Newton’s most remarkable piece “Comme Jackie O.”
LINDA MORAND: INCOGNITO – A Daughter’s Search for Her Heritage
“At the end of WWII, the beautiful singer, Ava Martel, has a whirlwind romance with a handsome older man. Eighteen years later, coming of age in the Swinging Sixties, her daughter, Donna eerily resembles the most famous woman in the world. Disturbed by the mystery of her origins Donna becomes a Ford model and runs away to Paris in search of a long-buried family secret.”
In our first of two excerpts from her book, this is the real story of “Comme Jackie O”.
“The story is that the Vogue shoot was a take-off on Jackie but that is not the true story.
For my entire career, I had tried NOT to look like Jackie because she did not like it. I was disguising myself (rather unsuccessfully) with short hair and later with plucked eyebrows and dark lips, very un-Jackie.
One day I met Helmut Newton who encouraged me to celebrate my own beauty and own my image. He said I should not cut myhair, but wear it long and big, because it suited me and the look of the time.
He convinced me to stomp around the streets of Paris dressed in haute couture. I did wear couture at the time and had several garments in those styles. It was impossible to resist the temptation to be in Vogue and work with the great Master. (I had worked with him in 1966 at the French Space Center. Those pictures were very good but it was before Newton developed his distinct style.)
We used Vogue studio at Place de Bourbon. I remember that Ursula Andress was also being photographed that day, by someone else. She remarked that I looked so much like Jackie.
We went to the American Embassy and the Ritz. He would stake out a location, have me stand there near policemen or Marines or have me stroll by. Newton stood across the street and shot with a telephoto lens. It was all very unobtrusive and the Marines and police didn’t realize that I or they were being photographed.
He directed me to be very forceful, angry and strong, with a serious face. This was contrary to my more gentle, gamine style. The results are a testament to his skills not only as a photographer but also as a director. They looked like paparazzi style photos of Jackie.
The use of my name was important because as it turned out I looked exactly like Jackie O. She was livid. When the photos were published, people were calling Jackie from all over the world, freaking out that she was in Vogue. Then that read the fine print that said I was Linda Morand (Forquet de Dorne) a “certain client.”
Rumours of my parentage abounded. Oleg Cassini, who was a romantic interest of mine, was convinced I was Jackie’s secret half-sister. I was appalled. I denied it.”
Every year ground-breaking technologies shift the way we think about photography. To make sense of the changes, I write about where the world of photography moving. Five years ago I wrote a piece about iPhone camera, and a few short years later Apple listened and introduced RAW support, fully fulfilling my not-so-obvious prediction at a time.
Two years ago I covered both what’s expected inside the creative side of the photo industry, and inside the hardware side of it. I got a few items wrong, but also correctly predicted the dual camera setup on the iPhone.
So what can we expect to see this year?
Computational Photography Gets Smarter
First of all, Light saw the light (pun intended) of day, and started shipping in small batches. I haven't had the chance to review the camera yet, but I had two brief interactions with a pre-production model at Light's offices in San Francisco (disclosure: I'm on Light's Creative Advisory Board). In short, I remain the strong believer in computational photography. Two different approaches to computational photography are represented by Google and Light. Google has shown that incredible results are possible with just one lens, using machine learning and clever computational algorithms to enable bokeh (seriously, the Google hardware work on the pixel sounds futuristic).
Android Authority’s Brian Reigh writes: “Because each lens is essentially split into two – 1 mm or so apart from each other – it creates two viewpoints that are different enough to compute stereo, similar to how dual-lens cameras work. Simply put, Google is using Dual-Pixel technology not just to improve focusing speed but also to create a depth map.”
Light's approach is on the other side of the spectrum. Light's L16 is using 16 lenses are used to create one image. In the future we are likely to see some sort of equilibrium — the Google Pixel will gain a second lens, and Light (or a competitor) will offer a camera with fewer lenses, maybe within 5-7 lens range.
For 2018 I’d expect smartphone makers to introduce a third rear camera — a hybrid approach that was popularized by OnePlus 5T, where the second shooter is a high-resolution camera for better noise reduction, combined with Huawei approach of adding a monochrome camera, for the same reason of improving contrast and noise. With three cameras it’s possible to have both wide angle and tele photo lens, along with monochrome sensor dedicated to improving low light performance.
Stereo Cameras Might Make A Comeback
Pushing a bit on the futuristic angle, I believe we’ll see at least one production smartphone with a stereo camera. Basically, a phone that in addition (or instead of) a bokeh effect will produce a stereo effect — in essence allowing to “peek” behind the subject.
Back in 2015 that was a gimmick, but with gyroscopes and multiple cameras on the back, it is now possible to make it tasteful. The only requirement, it seems, is to place lenses a little further apart from each other. The technology is not new, of course. HTC even released a stereoscopic smartphone back in 2011, but HTC EVO 3D was definitely ahead of its time. Google’s Tango, boasting similarly complex tech, might also make a come back from the dead, albeit in a less ambitious form.
DSLR's Are Becoming A Niche Market
The tidal wave of change has already begun, and it is unsettling. DSLRs have moved into a niche category. As a niche, it now commands a hefty price premium. New cameras aren’t cheap — the technology is advancing, but the pricing easily outpaces the technology. For example, a new lens from Nikon, AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm F/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR, just announced at CES, will sell for $12,400 USD, a price of a decent used car. It will be a good match for Nikon D5, that currently retails for $6,500 USD. In general, a trend to hike prices is attributed to this niche status, and I expect that to continue. So if you are a serious photographer, upgrading your equipment just became a whole lot expensive.
Ground-Breaking Mobile Apps With AI
The fact that iPhone X is as powerful as a modern laptop, it’s natural to assume that developers, who gained access to the iPhone powers in late 2017 will surprise us with new photo editing software to take advantage of this raw power. In addition, Apple now has CoreML, allowing object recognition directly on the device. So we will see apps that can intelligently clone out unwanted objects, like passerby or advertising, as well as gain the ability to do more intelligent processing, taking advantage of the depth information in the camera. Imagine, for example, having the ability to add realistic sun rays with proper shadows to your photos.
The Drones Swarm Into Mainstream
Nobody innovated faster in the drone market than DJI, so when we are talking drones, it basically means DJI. And this Shenzhen-based company has been out-innovating itself. So 2017 saw the additions to Phantom 4 lineup, improving upon a winning design. Both Mavic Pro (released late in 2016), and Spark (released mid-2017) made drones more affordable. More importantly, the size has shrunk, thus allowing to add a drone in addition to all other equipment. Just a few years ago, a drone backpack was of a size of a carry on luggage. Today, it fits in an oversized coat pocket. In 2018, DJI is for sure release updates to Phantom, Mavic Pro and Spark, improving camera quality, object avoidance, and ease of use. DJI’s new Tello (made by Ryze Tech but marketed as DJI Tello) is a new introductory drone that will soon start selling for just $99. If rumors are correct, a new Mavic Air, a drone to sit between Mavic Pro and Spark in the product line up will become the most affordable prosumer drone — at an estimated $699 price consumers will get an incredibly agile foldable drone with a pro-quality camera, RAW support, and 3D gimbal.
Let’s first understand the fundamental differences between soft focus and bokeh. In soft focus photography there is an intentional blurriness added to the subject while the actual edges are retained in sharp focus, but in bokeh it is only an element of the image that is intentionally blurred. Additionally, bokeh tends to emphasize certain points of light in the image as well.
Bokeh tends to appear in the areas of an image that remain outside the focal region. Because of this the most common technique used to add it is a shallow depth of field created through a wide open aperture.
In order to create an image that contains what is known as “good” bokeh, the photographer must first find a subject which is easily captured in a close up or short focal distance. For this discussion we’ll select a daffodil blooming in the bright spring sunshine. We will want to be sure that the sun shining down on the bloom is also apparent in the background behind it. This is the way to allow the points of light behind the flower to be forced out of focus and create the round blooms which are so common to images relying on bokeh for their overall effect.
We’ll position the camera on a tripod and use the manual settings to focus the flower sharply. The next step is to actually un-focus the bloom slightly so that the background is completely blurred, but the flower is still a recognizable item. We must then decide upon the exposure settings for this image, and this involves the proper shutter speed, aperture and ISO.
Because we don’t want any graininess to ruin the prints of this image we will raise the ISO no higher than 400. This means that we will want to also keep the aperture open wider to allow a shorter shutter time too (remember that high ISOs and long shutters are the most common reason for digital noise).
For this exposure an f/5.6 is selected and a shutter speed of 125 is what the meter recommends. The wide open aperture creates an even shorter depth of field, and the background that we have already forced into a blur is going to become even more unrecognizable and dotted with brilliant points of light. This is what is referred to commonly as good bokeh.
About the Author:
Amy Renfrey writes for DigitalPhotographySuccess.com. She’s photographed many things from famous musicians (Drummers for Prince and Anastasia) to weddings and portraits of babies. Amy also teaches photography online to her students.
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles California.
Her mother, Gladys worked at Consolidated Film Industries where she met salesman Charles Stanley Gifford who left Gladys when she fell pregnant.
Gladys had severe bouts with mental illness and was unable to care for Norma, so she was placed with foster parents. She spent her childhood in and out of foster homes and state-run care until the age of sixteen when she married James Dougherty, a friend of hers that lived a few houses away. Dougherty joined the military and Norma went to work at a defence plant as well as working as a model.
In 1945 she signed with the Blue Book Model Agency, dyed her hair blonde and began appearing in magazine ads and covers. Norma was an avid reader and spent quite a bit of her modeling salary on books. She also took literature courses and an acting course at the Actors Lab in Hollywood. When she met Ben Lyon, an executive at 20th Century Fox, he convinced Darryl F. Zanuck to sign her to a six-month contract. It was at this time Lyon changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. She had a bit part as a waitress in the movie Dangerous Years in 1947. Zanuck was not particularly impressed with Monroe and let her contract lapse a year later. By this time she had divorced Dougherty and decided to pursue acting full time.
In 1948 she was signed by Columbia Pictures and appeared in several minor pictures such as Ladies of the Chorus in 1948, A Ticket to Tomahawk, All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle in 1950 and Niagara in 1953. It was her performances in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire in 1953 that made Monroe a star. In 1954 she married baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. The marriage lasted less than a year because DiMaggio wanted a full-time wife and Marilyn wanted to continue to act. He also had a hard time dealing with Marilyn’s sex symbol image and attention from men.
In 1955 she appeared with Tom Ewell in Billy Wilder’s comedy The Seven Year Itch where the iconic photo of Marilyn standing over a sidewalk grate blowing up her skirt was created. By this time Marilyn was tired of the dumb blonde roles, she was continually being handed and yearned for more dramatic roles. She moved to New York and enrolled in the New York’s Actors Studio studying under the director, Lee Strasberg. She also began psychotherapy, urged on by Strasberg.
Strasberg was one of the movie industry’s elite. He coached such actors as Marlon Brando, James Dean, Anne Bancroft, Shelley Winters, Sidney Poitier and Joanne Woodward in the “Method Acting” technique. Monroe became very attached to Strasberg, and in a sense, he became the father she never had.
In 1956 Marilyn was back in Hollywood to work in Josh Logan’s Bus Stop. She ran into playwright Arthur Miller who she had met years earlier at a party. Miller embodied everything Marilyn wanted in life. He was a serious thinker, well educated and a highly respected writer. She was introduced to his social circle of literary greats such as Truman Capote, Carl Sandburg and Saul Bellow. Marilyn was intelligent and witty and fit right in with Miller’s friends.
She converted to Miller’s religion of Judaism and married him in June of 1956 with Lee Strasberg giving her away at a small wedding.
The newlyweds moved into an apartment on East 57th Street in New York City and frequently vacationed on Long Island. Monroe had reported that the time spent with Miller in 1957 were the best of her life. She was truly in love; she was being given serious acting roles and believed that she had finally found the happiness that had eluded her since childhood.
When she and Miller moved to London so she could work on The Prince and the Showgirlwith Laurence Olivier, things began to unravel. Miller had left his diary open, and Marilyn saw an entry where he had written that their marriage was a disappointment and that she had frequently embarrassed him in front of his friends because she was not as smart as he would have liked. Marilyn was devastated, but continued to work to keep the marriage together. She returned to psychoanalysis and began relying on barbiturates and alcohol to sleep.
The two returned to the United States and purchased a home in Connecticut. Marilyn stood with Miller while he was attacked by the House Un-American Activities Committee run by Senator Joseph McCarthy, well known for investigating the famous for ties, real or imagined, to the Communist Party.
In 1959 Marilyn appeared in Some Like It Hot with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. The film was a critical and box office success. Marilyn had already been fired from several projects due to habitual lateness and for being difficult to work with on set, and her anguish over her failing marriage only made things worse.
She completed Let’s Make Love in 1960 with Yves Montand and, starved for affection, had become involved in an affair with Montand, further alienating her from her husband. She re-entered psychoanalysis, but it seemed to her that her doctor was more concerned with his infatuation for her than on her mental well-being.
Miller had been writing a screenplay for her, The Misfits, with Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, and Eli Wallach. Filming started in 1960 with Miller on the set every day. During the filming, Miller met Inge Morath, a film archivist, and Marilyn was forced to watch as her husband fell in love with another woman. Three months after filming began Miller and Monroe announced their separation.
Marilyn moved back to California and began filming the movie Something’s Got to Give with Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse but was fired for her inability to show up on time.
On May 19, 1962, Peter Lawford had arranged an appearance with Marilyn at a Democratic Fundraiser at Madison Square Garden. It was there that Marilyn appeared in the now famous skin-tight dress and sang Happy Birthday to President John F. Kennedy.
Three months later Marilyn died. She was discovered by her housekeeper on August 5, 1962, in her Brentwood home, the victim of an overdose of barbiturates. Her link with the Kennedy family has caused many to believe that she was secretly murdered or that she committed suicide.
Her former husband Joe DiMaggio stepped up and took care of the funeral arrangements with Lee Strasburg delivering the eulogy. Marilyn was interred at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, and DiMaggio made sure that a fresh red rose was placed at her grave every day.
Prints are a great starting point for many new fine art collectors and for those wishing to expand their collections with low risk and the potential for high reward. Collecting printsalso provides the rare opportunity to acquire works by well-known artists and masters at a much more reasonable price.
More than ever, collectors are looking at prints as works of art that are valued for the qualities and techniques only possible in printmaking. Copper, limestone, paper, wood, acid and ink are just a few of the materials involved that create textures and marks, which can only be produced by this process. Unlike most paintings, the indirect procedures essential to printmaking do not have immediate results. Each print is built in layers. An image is pressed without full control of its outcome. Marks are carefully planned and practiced with thoughtful appreciation of the material and its mysteries. The growing interest in the complexity and beauty of this tradition has ultimately led to significant recognition of a print’s value in today’s market.
Over the past decade, the prints market has closely mimicked the broader trends of fine art in that contemporary artists primarily in the Pop genre have excelled at auction. Prices for prints by contemporary Street artists, including KAWS, Banksy, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, have also continued to rise. At the same time, collectors of contemporary art are now showing an interest in iconic subject matter and artists from the past, including Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya, Joan Miró, Edvard Munch, Rembrandt, and other masters who produced some of the most radical work of their day.
Below are some basic reference points to help new collectors better understand the various types of prints and what to consider before buying.
A Brief History
Considering where and who was involved in the creation of a print is an important and equally exciting aspect of collecting prints. Taking the time to learn more about the history of a particular printer studio or publisher can enhance one’s appreciation of the process and even provide inspiration for a collection’s direction.
Publishers can typically be identified by a stamp, which often appears as a logo and consists of a name and/or address. Though the printer is not always stated, except on lithographs, you can request this information from the seller. Some prints, especially older works, will feature a watermark—a symbol or logo that identifies the factory that produced it. Since watermarks are incorporated in the paper’s woven texture, they appear as translucent designs that can be recognized by holding the print up to a light source (just like a roll of film). Other stamps can identify a previous collector. Historically, many collectors made a habit of stamping or signing prints that they acquired. These are called “collector’s marks” and are key to identifying a print’s provenance and understanding its history.
A print is a work of art, usually a work on paper, which typically exists in multiple, identical impressions from an inked surface, called a “matrix.” A matrix is the surface from which the printed image is pulled and can be created using various materials—the most common being screen, wood, metal, and stone.
Type 1: Relief Print
Relief printing involves the use of sharp tools to carve away an image or design on the surface of the matrix, leaving the raised areas to collect ink. There are typically two types of relief prints: woodcut and linocut.
Woodcut is a print created using a block of wood as the matrix. Areas of the wood are carved away to reveal a design; ink is then rolled along the raised areas; the design is transferred to a sheet of paper by using a printing press or by smoothing the surface of the matrix and paper together by hand in a technique known as “hand burnishing.” Since the carved areas do not receive ink, they will appear blank—in other words, the same color as the paper. The woodcut process can typically be identified by the visibility of the wood grain as well as bold dark and light contrasts.
Linocut is a print created using a block of linoleum as the matrix, which is often reinforced with wood. The linocut is handled in the same way as a woodcut, but typically results in less texture as it lacks the grainy quality of wood.
Type 2: Intaglio Print
Intaglio printing involves the use of sharp tools to incise a design or image into a metal plate, usually copper. After the matrix is inked, it is wiped clean, leaving only the incisions to hold ink. Another distinction in this process is that a press must be used to create an intaglio print, as extra pressure is necessary to force the dampened paper into the incisions to effectively collect ink.
There are four main types of intaglio prints, all of which can easily be identified by a visible platemark—a platemark refers to the linear indentation along the edges of a print caused by the press; it is a defining characteristic of an intaglio print.
Engraving is a print created with a particular sharp tool called a “burin.” As the tool moves across the surface of the metal, shavings known as “burr” are left behind along the incision marks; the burr is then cleaned from the plate before inking. Engravings feature deep or fine lines that can be identified as engraving marks by their round or tapered ends.
Drypoint is a print created by using a needle or other sharp tool to scratch a design into a metal plate. Unlike an engraving, the burr is not cleaned from the plate before inking and instead is left on the surface to catch extra ink. As a result, drypoint lines tend to be soft and velvety. Since the burr wears down with repeated printing, the drypoint technique may result in variations between early and later impressions and, depending on the artist, produce fewer satisfactory prints and therefore drypoint prints tend to exist in smaller editions than other types.
Etching is a print created by using a waxy substance known as “ground” to coat the surface of a metal plate. A design is then drawn into the ground using a special tool called a “stylus” to expose the metal. The metal plate is then submerged in an acid bath; during this stage the acid chemicals eat away at the exposed metal, creating deeper groves where the design has been made. Before inking, the waxy ground is removed. Etching lines usually feature blunt or rounded ends. Many artists, such as Picasso, favor this technique because it allows for a similar freedom to that of drawing and greater control.
Aquatint is a print that involves an etching process that produces areas of tone. Unlike an etching, which uses a waxy, solid substance to cover the matrix, an aquatint is created with a granular ground. When submerged in the acid bath, the chemicals eat away at the exposed metal as well as between the granules. Gradations in tone are achieved by varying the duration of the acid bath and/or by using different grained grounds. This technique is commonly used in combination with etched lines.
Type 3: Planographic Print
Planographic printing involves a process where the design rests on the flat plane of the matrix rather than in a relief or incision. There are two main techniques to this process; some require a printing press while others do not.
Lithograph involves a process based on the fact that oil and water do not mix. Using a greasy medium called “tusche” in either solid or liquid form, a design is drawn on a flat stone surface. The stone is then flooded with water, which soaks the stone, but is repelled by the greasy design. Ink is then rolled onto the matrix and adheres only to the greasy design as the other areas are wet and repel the ink. A sheet of paper is placed onto the inked stone and run through a press. Since its invention in 1798, limestone blocks have been used as the matrix; today, zinc plates are used (“zincography”).
Screenprint (or silkscreen) involves a process based on the stencil principle. A print screen is created with a fine mesh fabric, which is then stretched across a frame. A stencil is then applied to the screen to mark out areas of the design. Using a squeegee, ink is forced through the stenciled screen and passes through the exposed mesh onto the print’s surface. Stencils can be made with various materials, such as plastic, cut paper or glue. Sixties artists, most notably Andy Warhol, transferred photographic images to silk screens by using light-sensitive emulsions, which then hardened to form the stencil.
Less Common Techniques
Monotype is a singular type of print that is created by drawing a design in ink on any smooth surface. The matrix is then covered with a sheet of paper and run through a press. This technique only yields one strong impression, but sometimes, additional impressions of lesser quality are pulled. Edgar Degas is an exemplary figure who frequently utilized this technique.
Monoprint is another singular type of print, which is created by applying ink to a matrix that is already etched and inked. The result is an impression unique in appearance to all others pulled from the same plate.
What is an Edition?
An edition is the total number of impressions pulled from a single matrix. The artist and printmaker usually work together to determine the edition size. In the modern era, it became the practice of the artist to sign and number each impression in a given edition. Artworks, on paper or any other medium, created in a limited number is called an edition. ‘Multiples’ describes any edition of three-dimensional works and are often included in print sales.
Second Edition indicates that the print is a later impression of an original matrix, after an official edition has been printed. Second editions are typically authorized by the artist and should be annotated as such.
Posthumous Edition is a print made from an original matrix after the death of the artist. Posthumous editions are typically authorized by the artist’s heirs or by a publisher who purchased the original matrix from the artist. Posthumous editions should be annotated as such and are usually limited in some way, or else become limitless restrikes.
Restrike is a later impression from an original matrix that is not authorized by that artist or his/her heirs. While some restrikes may maintain a good quality appearance, excessive printing eventually leads to faded or ghostly images of what the print is supposed to look like.
What is a Proof?
Proof is the general term for any impression pulled prior to printing the official edition. In the market, they are often more valuable because there are incidentally fewer of them, making them more rare and, in certain cases, they can feature unique qualities in comparison to the rest of the edition.
Trial Proof is an impression pulled prior to the official edition to test what the print looks like. At this stage, the artist may return to the matrix and change it or proceed to print if satisfied with the result. A trial proof can be identified by the absence of any annotations.
Bon à Tirer Proof takes the French term meaning “okay to print” and designates a print as the final trial proof. There is only one of these for an edition and tells the printer what each print should look like. It is usually annotated “B.A.T.”
Artist’s Proof comes from a historical practice of a publisher giving the artist one or more prints of an edition to sell as payment for their work. Though today artists get paid for their editions, the tradition has continued and a set amount of impressions are put aside for the artist; usually annotated “A.P.” or “E.A.” (Epreuve d’artiste).
Printer’s Proof is a complimentary proof that is given to the printer. Depending on how many printers were involved and the artist’s charity, there can be multiple printer proofs.
Hors Commerce Proof is an impression that is typically not for sale and is sometimes used by publishers for exhibition copies to preserve the original numbered prints from exposure and too much handling. These are typically annotated “H.C.”
More Inscriptions to Know
Numbering is a standard practice of numbering individual impressions that emerged in the 20th century. Today, limited edition prints are numbered in fractional form (i.e. 2/75), with the first number indicating the impression number and the second being the edition size. Though the market often values edition number 1/75 over number 75/75, this fraction does not necessarily indicate the order in which they were printed as prints are not annotated as soon as they come off the press, but at a later time, once the ink has dried.
Signatures are normally made in pencil or ink by the artist on original prints. An artist’s signature is a custom that was uncommon before the 20th century, so do not be alarmed if you are buying an older print and one is not visible. However, if the artist did sign his/her edition, any unsigned impressions of the same print are generally less commercially valuable.
Chop is a symbol or logo that appears on each print of a completed edition, including all proofs, and identifies the printer or publisher.
Additional inscriptions that may appear on the printed surface include: the date of publication, the name of the volume or series for which the print was created, and/or a dedication to a particular individual or larger public.
What Increases a Print’s Value?
At a basic level, a print’s retail price or auction estimate is determined by the richness of its provenance, literature and exhibition history, as well as the size of the edition—prints from a limited or very small edition are valued higher. Other factors, such as whether a print has been handcolored with inks, pencils, acrylics, watercolors or gouache can also increase its value. Particularly with posthumous prints, a certificate of authenticity (COA) can influence value. A COA is an additional document created by an artist or artist’s estate to be sold with their works. It usually includes the artist’s information and/or signature and typically states the print type, edition size, and even the particular paper used.
Since prints—for the most part—are created in multiples, it is likely that at least one or more works from the same edition have a past auction record. This often makes it easier to grasp the market value and potential of a particular print compared to that of a one of a kind painting. Auction records for prints can be found on various online platforms and are important resources for new and experienced collectors.
When Art Basel Miami Beach opened on Wednesday morning to the very VIPS invited to the fair for an early look-see, there was no mad crush at the door, no unseemly Black Friday-like rush to the booths as in former years.
It was instead a measured procession of the affluent, well-connected and nattily attired that sauntered into the 17th edition of the largest contemporary art fair in the country, thanks to a gleamingly rebuilt and enlarged Miami Beach Convention Center. The facility now affords fair-goers expansive lobby spaces and, for the first time, four entry points to the vast exhibition floor, in place of the single funnel on each side of the old convention center that could at times back up like the lines for a new iPhone.
The reigning serenity, though, did not mean that gallery owners weren’t ready to sell and collectors eager to buy. Early evidence was that neither a slowing global economy nor two days of stomach-churning plunges on Wall Street spoiled collectors’ and museum curators’ appetites to acquire some of the finest, and costliest, works of visual arts the world has to offer.While collectors might have been more inclined to ponder — and in some cases, haggle —before opening their checkbooks this year, some were definitely buying.
Within a few hours of opening, Brett Gorvy of Levy Gorvy Gallery said his booth, the walls of which were covered in wallpaper with Keith Haring’s signature figures to complement works by Haring and Warhol on offer, had sold several pieces for under $1 million each. He also had holds on several other works.
Market drops, Gorvy said, can turn into a good buying time. “People are moving from the stock market into something they can see and hang on the wall,” he said.
At Pace Prints’ booth, 30 people were in line to sign up for the chance to pay five figures for prints of three works by hot graffiti artist Kaws (Brian Donnelly). The gallery was selling 100 prints, and the line quickly formed to get on a lottery list. Gallery owners wouldn’t say how much the pieces were going for, but gave a window of $60,000 to $75,000.
Art Basel’s global director, Marc Spiegler, said Miami Beach gallerist David Castillo — who joined the top-tier “Galleries” sector of the fair for the first time — had nearly sold out his stand by the afternoon. Selma Feriani, whose gallery in Tunisia focuses on North African and Middle Eastern art, sold her stand out entirely, Spiegler said. New York gallery Metro Pictures also reported doing well.
“It really is too early to say, but we have been speaking to a number of very happy galleries today,” Spiegler said by text message.
The strong start to the five-day fair, which opens to the general public on Thursday, could help allay concerns raised over the financial health of the Art Basel fairs by recently revealed losses at their Swiss parent company, MCH Group. Amid deepening financial woes, MCH cancelled plans announced earlier this year for a luxury-automobile fair at the Beach convention center. But Spiegler said the fairs on the Beach, at Basel in Switzerland and Hong Kong remain “financially strong.”
“MCH Group is, indeed, facing major challenges,” Spiegler said. “Art Basel, however, has a particularly strong market position and is also financially strong. It is one of the most important pillars in the portfolio of MCH Group, which plans to strengthen it further.”
The completion of the convention center makeover spurred a surprise announcement by collector and auto dealer Norman Braman on Wednesday. After chairing the Miami Basel committee since its inception, he said he is stepping down.
“The circle is complete now that the building is finished,” Braman said. “It’s time for someone new.”
The morning also brought out some well-known faces in the Basel crowd. Collector and Art Basel Miami Beach regular Leo DiCaprio was spotted.
So was Princess Eugenie, the granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. The princess, perched on a bench facing one of the galleries, was surrounded by an entourage of young women assistants busy on their computers and cellphones. Her new husband, Jack Brooksbank, popped in and out of the booths, greeting art-world acquaintances.
Within the first 30 minutes of Wednesday’s fair, Amy Sherald’s latest portrait, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be,” sold for $175,000 to a private collector who promised to gift the piece to a prominent American art museum, said vice president of the Hauser & Wirth gallery, Marc Payot.
Sherald raised her profile earlier this year when Michelle Obama selected her to paint the former first lady’s official portrait. She was the first African American female artist to paint an official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery in Washington.
Sherald was only one of several African American and African artists and artists of color featured prominently at the fair with works that raise questions of identity, otherness and discrimination.
African American artist Derek Fordjour made his Miami Basel debut with the entire Josh Lilley booth featuring his work in the Nova sector. Gallery director William Pyn said it was Fordjour’s idea to have a gravel floor and reused metal walls at the stand. It worked: By noon, all of his pieces had sold for between $20,000 and $50,000.
Castillo, who made his Basel debut in the Nova section for new work, said he was delighted to rise to the top this year. The only other Miami gallerist at the fair is veteran Fred Snitzer.
Castillo said he plans to use the greater freedom and attention to rotate works in his booth. His focus as the son of Cuban exiles is on identity of the “other,” he said. The stand features a slew of Miami artists, including Glexis Novoa, Quisqueya Henriquez and Adler Guerrier.
“So, that’s amazing to be in this format with the most important galleries in the world,” he said. “It’s also a validation of the gallery’s efforts for many years. I remain true to the vision that each artist deals with identity, which is something that is very important to me. Perhaps 14 years ago there wasn’t this interest by institutions or other galleries to fill those historical gaps, to find great artists who were considered ‘the other..’”
Art is all around the booth, from the inner and outer walls to the floor. The 28-foot-square linoleum floor features a lemon yellow, gray and white geometric pattern. It’s by Sanford Biggers and sells for $120,000.
“So that’s what it feels like to have $120,000 on my feet,” Castillo said, smiling. “Cozy. It feels kind of good. It’s meant for people to walk on it, to dance on it.”
The 268 galleries at this year’s fair, hailing from 35 countries, were not shy about hauling a convention center’s worth of blue-chip and new art to Miami Beach: A 1955 Rothko at Helly Nahmad ($50 million); a monumental, 258-inch-long James Rosenquist at Landau ($2 million), and an eye-popping, $9.5 million be-ribboned Jeff Koons egg at Edward Tyler Nahem.
At times the asking prices seemed steep even to some collectors and Basel veterans.
Miami collector and art dealer Marvin Ross Friedman said private conversations with several gallerists indicated that sales “are very strong.”
“Some of the prices are beyond extravagant, but there’s a lot to look at and enjoy,” he said.
And for those not looking to buy, the improved and expanded floor layout introduced last year could be fully appreciated on Wednesday with the bright new lobby spaces open for the first time. The space allows galleries plenty of space to exhibit their wares with no hint of a bazaar.
“It’s a big improvement,” agreed Miami collector Laurens Mendelson, who praised the quality of the fair. “You would have to spend three weeks running around New York, Paris and London to see all the art that’s here under one roof.”
Some galleries chose to mount museum-like exhibitions, like the life-size sculpture installations by George Segal at Galerie Templon.
Miami collector Barry Fellman called the Segal works the best sculptures by a single artist at the fair. One of the most effective presentations, he said: A red-lit room at Barbara Gladstone Gallery dedicated to unusual works by Haring, including a paper lamp, a vase and folding screens decorated with his characteristic graffiti squiggles.
The presentation “addresses how playful Haring was and how he loved to explore and use other objects as a canvas for his iconography,” Fellman said in an email.
And among Fellman’s top picks for collectors: “Seminal and quintessential” drawings by influential 20th Century artists from the private collection of esteemed gallerist Richard Gray, who died earlier this year. A wall at the back of the booth at the Richard Gray gallery is covered with works by Picasso, deKooning, Franz Kline, Claes Oldenburg, Jackson Pollock and others.
Not everything was selling for prices only a millionaire could afford. The Alan Cristea Gallery booth offered some of the most reasonably priced high-end art by a highly recognized contemporary artist, Georg Baselitz, who was born Hans-Georg Kern but was so enamored of Basel that he adapted that for his artistic surname.
The gallery devoted a separate room or Kabinett to a series of nine prints the artist made of his wife, Elke. The prints come in an edition of 12 and sell unframed for a low of $6,000 to a high of $9,000, depending on which edition is available. Baselitz is an octogenarian who sought out Alan Cristea to produce the prints, said gallery director Helen Water.
“He was looking for a new print publisher and asked if we’d take that on,” Waters said. “It’s really neat to start working with an artist at age 80.” Baselitz is hands-on with his prints, working on the images rather than handing the details off to an assistant, she observed. “He’s a proper print-maker,” she added.
If at times it all seems too much, the Beyeler Foundation has relief for the visual overload. Its gilded booth is home to a single crimson-clad occupant dressed as a monk. Guests are invited to sit on a facing bench; the “monk” asks a question: “When did you stop believing you could get wiser, or do you believe?”
Answer, and he places a communion wafer in your mouth — after first spraying it with a Negroni cocktail mist.