A Guide to Frank Stella’s Artwork

When talking about great 20th century artists, it’s almost impossible to leave out the name Frank Stella. His minimalist work and famous sayings such as, “What you see is what you see,” rocked the art world to its foundation. Stella’s art can be found at auction houses from Dania Beach all the way to London. Here is a brief overview of why Stella and his art are such a force to be reckoned with.

The Minimalist Movement

Stella is by far best known for his minimalist artwork, which began in the 1950’s. He strayed away from paintings involving images or reflections of the real world, and instead opted for more material-inspired work such as his famous series entitled “The Black Paintings”. They involve the use of very precise straight lines, to the point where much of his work looked like it had been produced by a machine in a factory.

Straying From Simple

Although Stella’s artwork started off as paintings with a very simple nature, it began to get more and more complex later in his career. He began experimenting with the technique of painting 3D illusions onto his canvases, which also became more complex with Stella choosing oval and V-shaped canvases. These illusions were inspired by Baroque style artists such as Caravaggio, which first become popular in the 17th century.

Moving to Sculptures

It wasn’t long before Stella began experimenting with the sculpture medium, although he frequently claimed that he was still and painter and that sculptures were just paintings that had been cut out and stood up. This period of his work is where the Moby Dick-inspired work came from, which continues to astound audiences to this day.

The Important Works 

While Stella has many fantastic works, some of them objectively stand out among the rest. One of these is “The Marriage of Reason and Squalor” which belongs to his previously mentioned and critically acclaimed “The Black Paintings” series. It uses parallel lines and symmetry to create a squared-off U shape over and over again on the canvas.

Another one of his masterpieces is “Harran II” which belongs to the “The Protractor” series. In comparison with his earlier works, this massive painting uses much more vibrant colors and opts for more circular lines mixed in with his favored straight lines.

Where is He Now?

Frank Stella is still alive and working in New York City. His work, which was generally produced in a series format, is at auction houses and museums all over the country. Much of his work frequently sells for tens of thousands of dollars and is revered by both art lovers and critics alike.

A Guide to Dale Chihuly’s Artwork

If you’re the owner of any blown glass artwork, or ever even stopped to watch a glass blowing demonstration, then you have Dale Chihuly to partially thank for that. His unique glass artwork first started in the 1960s has been a big contributor to the revitalization of the use of glass in the art world. Here is a brief overview of the impact that Chihuly has had on the industry over the years.

The Artistic Academic

Unlike a lot of other prominent artists from the 19th and 20th centuries, Dale Chihuly pursued an extensive formal education, with most of his majors being artistic in nature. He developed a passion for glass work early on, and it actually earned him the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant in 1968. Chihuly has since toured the world in both a teacher and student role, always focusing on the world of glass.

Becoming a Teacher 

Chihuly’s actual career as a glass blower was significantly affected in the late ’70s due to a series of accidents which resulted in him being permanently blinded in his left eye and having his right shoulder dislocated. This forced Chihuly to step into a teaching role instead of an artistic role, which he found to be a good fit for him. As a teacher, Chihuly has led teams of artists in creating his and their artistic visions.

Great Glass Works

The creations brought to us by Chihuly and his team can be seen in many auction galleries in Dania Beach and all over the world. It is reported that as of 2004 the total sales of these artworks had brought in over $29 million.

Over the past 60 years, Chihuly’s artwork has birthed many significant pieces that challenged the art world’s view on the line between crafts and art. One of these pieces is the 1975 “Navajo Blanket Series” which included Navajo blanket patterns painted onto sheets of glass.

His later works involved the transformation of glass into unique and unusual shapes. A great example of this is his famous “Chandeliers” series that started in 1992. Some of the entries in this series featured glass blown into the shape of flowers, snakes, and other intricate items.

Chihuly’s work, especially his later stuff, is instantly recognizable due to the vivid colors used and often elaborate displays of glass forms. His work is even responsible for setting world records, with his 2000 Jerusalem exhibition holding the record for most visitors to a temporary artwork display. These accolades have made Chihuly a household name in the art world, and have helped challenge the art community’s view on the importance of glass work.

A Guide to Cartier Jewelry

They say perfection takes time, and Cartier sure has had a lot of that. This world renown jewelry company was first established way back in 1847 in Paris. Throughout the years it spread throughout Europe, and actually became the official jewelry provider for King Edward VII (quite the sponsorship to have, especially back in the day). By 1917, the company had officially expanded to the United States where it remains a powerhouse jewelry company to this day. Here is a brief overview of what makes Cartier and its jewelry such a key player in the industry and a highly sought after item selling at auctions in Dania Beach and all over the world.

Catering to Celebrities

One of the most sure fire ways to get your product in the eyes of millions of people is to get celebrities to publicly wear them. That way their vast group of adoring fans will have their eye on your product, whether they know it or not. This is something that Cartier realized early on and was able to successfully accomplish. Their jewelry has been worn by several major public figures over the last 150 years, including King Farouk of Egypt, Elizabeth Taylor, and Grace Kelly, among others.

The Clock Connoisseurs 

Cartier was quick to dominate the watch industry early on in their career. The jewels incorporated into their ornamental clocks were considered by many to be some of the best around. In fact, their jewels were so popular by the early 20th century that at the coronation of King George V, 19 of the tiaras worn in the ceremony were Cartier products. Other later clock products from Cartier, such as the “Tank watch” in 1917 and “The Egyptian Temple Gate Clock” in 1927 would make massive waves in the jewelry market, and the Egyptian clock would later go on to sell for $1 million at auction.

Significant Styles

Without a doubt, one of the most popular products from Cartier is their clocks and watches, but over the years they’ve also caught the public’s attention with their unusual and commonly recognized style of other jewelry. One of their signature styles is the panther theme jewelry that was first created in the 1920s. It was slow to gain popularity but became big once the Duke of Windsor requested a panther themed brooch for his wife.

 Another one of their majorly popular styles is the 1920’s tutti-frutti themed jewelry that was the result of Jacques Cartier taking a trip to India in search of jewels. Several decades later, the “love” collection from the ’60s and ’70s became massively popular and was promoted by many famous couples.

How to Spot Real Wooden Antique Furniture

It’s a frequent sight to see wooden furniture being sold at antique auctions at places like Dania Beach and all over the rest of the world as well. Another common place to find old wooden furniture being sold is at garage sales. Some of the furniture found at these garage sales looks just as old and ornamental as the items being sold at auction. Therefore it stands to reason that someone might wonder how to tell the difference between old furniture being sold for $50 and old furniture being sold for $10,000.

From Dusty to Desirable

A good place to start is by distinguishing the difference between something that is just old and something that is a priceless antique. While there is no industry definition of when an item crosses over and is no longer just old, some of the standards used are that the item needs to be at least 100-150 years old. Technically speaking though, an antique is any item with extra value assigned to it due to its age.

What to Look For

When trying to distinguish the authenticity of wooden furniture, a good place to start is by examining the type and condition of joint used to fasten the fixture together. This is really handy for any item with drawers in it, as these can be easily taken out and examined. What you’re looking for is a dovetail joint, which has been used in furniture since before the 19th century.

Just as important as the presence of a dovetail joint is the condition of it. Any joint from a piece of furniture that’s supposed to be from the 19 century or older will have been done by hand. This will result in slightly unequal and uneven joints in the same project. If the lines seem perfectly straight and equal, then there’s a very good chance that item was made sometime in the 20th century or even later.

The type of wood used is another great indicator of age. Much older valuable pieces will often involve the use of at least a couple different types of wood. This is due to the fact that using a valuable wood on inner or bottom pieces was financially illogical since those areas would be seldom seen. If you examine the furniture and notice different woods on the bottom, then it’s a likely sign that it’s quite old.

The last big thing to look for when determining age is general wear and tear. No item that was built 150 years ago survives this long without incurring some pretty significant wear and tear in the commonly used components of it.

What to Expect at an Auction

Auctions have been a worldwide phenomenon for many decades now, with thousands of people attending in person every year and thousands more online. There’s a variety of these events, with some of the main ones involving houses, cars, storage units, and art. If you’ve never been to one, either online or in person, then this article is the perfect place for you to begin as it describes what you can expect from a typical auction.

What You’ll See

Let’s begin with a breakdown of the typical items and people you can expect to see present. The auctioneer is the person who starts, stops, and runs all of the sales. They determine the flow of the sales and act as the MC of the entire event, with many of them utilizing the typical fast-talking speech that you’ll see in movies and tv show recreations.

In the auctioneer’s hand, you’ll often see something called the hammer, which is exactly like the gavel that a judge will use and acts in the same way. Once it strikes the podium, that declares the official end of the bid.

A paddle might also be present, although there are some places which opt not to use these. If they are present then each spectator will be given one, and they’re meant to indicate that you are placing a bid on the item currently up for sale.

What You’ll Hear

When it comes to the terms that are used during these events, some people can get confused. One of the main terms you’ll hear that might be unknown to some attendees is the term “lot”. Lot means the item that is currently up for bidding. If the auctioneer says the term “cosigner” this means the individual or group that is responsible for giving the item up for sale. The last common term you might hear is “appraisal” which is the value that the organization hosting the event has assigned to the item or lot.

What You’ll Do

There’s a fairly straightforward process that you can expect to see attending a live auction somewhere like Dania Beach. A preview event will be held before the selling begins, where spectators have the opportunity to closely examine each item behind a glass box. Afterward, the auctioneer will bring each lot onto the stage individually and a bidding session will begin on that item. The auctioneer will take bids placed by spectators until no one offers to top the current highest bid, at which point the bidding will stop and the item will be sold to the individual who placed the highest bid. This process repeats until all the items have been bid on, at which point the event is over.

A Guide to Tiffany & Co. Jewelry

An American born company, Tiffany & Co. (originally known as “Tiffany, Young and Ellis”) was founded in Brooklyn in 1837. Its focus began as a stationary and fancy goods store but had shifted primarily to jewelry by 1853. It didn’t take long after that for Tiffany & Co. to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in the fashion accessory industry. Here is a brief overview of how Tiffany & Co. developed its now iconic brand and made itself a prized possession at events such as jewelry auctions in Dania Beach.

The Art Nouveau Movement

During the second half of the 19th century, Charles Tiffany brought the company to unprecedented heights, with Tiffany & Co. being awarded several accolades in the industry and publishing its first edition of their now famous catalog known as the “Blue Book”. However, the company really began to make artistic waves when Charles’ son Louis obtained the position of Design Director in 1902.

Louis Comfort Tiffany was a jewel aficionado and he immediately began making his creations, which were directly influenced by the Art Nouveau movement that occurred between 1890-1910. This movement replicated the beauty of patterns commonly found in nature. This heavy influence can be easily spotted in Tiffany’s early work since the majority of it was in the shape of flowers. His creations were often of a chunky nature, with extremely colorful and busy patterns. This nature pattern was later echoed by famous Tiffany & Co. designer Jean Schlumberger in the 1950s.

Diversification

By the 1960s, Tiffany & Co. had begun diversifying into other U.S. areas of importance such as trophy design, since which they have been responsible for the design of the NFL Vince Lombardi trophy, NBA Larry O’Brien trophy, and several different batches of championship rings for a variety of teams. They also rose their brand to new heights when they were commissioned to create President Lyndon B. Johnson’s official china.

Throughout the years the company expanded into other areas such as perfumes but always kept the main focus on their jewelry brand. It’s through the collaboration of the Tiffany & Co. brand with other mainstream artists such as Andy Warhol and Paloma Picasso that the company has been able to keep their brand relevant and on top even to this day.

Significant Styles

Two of the biggest aspects to Tiffany & Co. products are the nature theme, which has remained recurring every since its introduction to the company in the early 1900s, and the attention to detail that is put into each and every one of their designs. Details like the soldering of links in bracelets and necklaces, the precision stamping of the metal, and the perfectly set diamonds and jewels, are what makes the brand so recognizable in the fashion accessory industry.

A Guide to BVLGARI Jewelry

The name often confuses people, but the brand astonishes them. Bulgari (often stylized and branded as BVLGARI) is an extensive luxury brand with its roots in jewelry making, which remains one of its best selling products to this day. This Italian brand was founded in Rome in 1884 by a silversmith of Bulgarian descent named Sotirios Voulgaris (later changed to Sotirio Bulgari). It began as one small jewelry shop, and over the next 130 years, it released a series of products and styles that allowed it to expand to the powerhouse brand it is today. Here’s a brief overview of what makes this brand one of the most popular selling brands at auction in Fort Lauderdale and many other parts of the world.

Roots in Rome

In the first few decades of its existence, Bulgari specialized in silver pieces of jewelry that were often floral themed. As time progressed and trends evolved, the jewelry produced by Bulgari also changed to reflect its European environment. This meant a heavy emphasis on platinum Art Deco designs during the 1920s, followed by geometric diamond shapes accompanied with colorful gemstones during the 1930s.  

One year after Sotirio Bulgari died, his sons renovated and reopened their store under the newly designed name of BVLGARI in order to honor their Roman roots. During the first half of the 1940s, Bvlgari produced jewelry products that were mainly made of gold and featured fewer gems, giving it a much simpler look. This was due to the conditions being brought on by World War II, which the company responded to by introducing the famous Serpenti bracelets shortly after the end of the war.

Bvlgari soon began a stream of products with a focus on yellow gold, symmetrical shapes, and brilliantly colored gems. This unique and intrinsically elegant style began making Bvlgari products a favorite of actresses all over the world.

The Great Expansion

During the 1970s and ’80s, Bvlgari began expanding its product line to include other products like their now famous line of watches. Later on, the company saw even more expansions to include fragrances, leather fashion accessories, and even hotels. During this process of diversification, the company made sure to remember their jewelry roots by bringing back the famous serpent theme that had made them so popular in the ’60s.

Signature Styles 

One of their earliest extremely popular pieces is a small trumpet-shaped ring known as the Trombino. Later product models that have since embedded themselves as examples of Bvlgari at its finest include their original 1975 BVLGARI-BVLGARI watches. The company’s products are easily identifiable by their magnificent use of color often involving unusual combinations of rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.

The Basics of Selling to an Auction

If you have an antique or other rare or valuable item that you’re thinking of giving to an auction for selling in Fort Lauderdale or other areas of the country, then you’ll want to know these key basics about what you can expect from the process and exactly how it works.

Picking Your Perfect Place 

When choosing to sell your item you want to make sure that the company you’re entrusting it to has a good performance record. In addition to checking their standard online reviews from both buyers and sellers, it’s a good idea to also find out their sell-through rate, which is the percentage of items that they successfully sell at each event. Any rating under 80 percent is generally considered a pretty unsuccessful event.

Before the Bidding

The process of getting your item in an auction begins long before the bidding does. The first thing you have to do is gather any ownership or authentication documents for the object so you can more easily prove that it isn’t a duplicate or knockoff. Then you will contact an auctioneer company that specializes in selling your type of item and meets the criteria previously mentioned.  

Once the item has been seen in person and is closely inspected, the appraiser will give you an estimate for how much they believe your item will garner when put up for bidding. Based on this amount you can choose to set a reserve, which is the minimum price that you are willing to part ways with your item for.

By this point, you should know what the company’s fee is that they’ll charge you for including your item in their event. These fees are usually either calculated by a percentage of the “hammer price” (the amount of the highest bid) or on a flat fee basis.

Heading on Stage

Once a contract has been signed and your item is officially in the hands of the company, it is then scheduled to become part of one of their events. If your particular item fits into a certain upcoming themed sale they’re having, then the company might want to postpone its sale so that it will garner a better price at the themed event.

Regardless, when it comes to the bidding part, the item is brought out on stage and the spectators begin the bidding war. If the highest bid meets or surpasses your reserve price then it becomes official property of the buyer. However, if the highest bid does not reach your reserve then the item becomes bought it, which means it remains your property. At this point, you can either attempt to sell it at another event or choose to hold onto it.

A Guide to Buccellati Jewelry

It’s said that the path to success isn’t an easy one, and if you’re looking for a shining example of a successful company with a history that is anything but simple, then look no further than Buccellati. This Italian jewelry company is the result of the separation and merging of family businesses eventually resulting in a fashion accessory giant.

It began in 1919 when Mario Buccellati opened his first jewelry store in Milan. Buccellati gained popularity fairly quickly and by 1923 he was already completing projects for people such as the great Italian writer Gabriele d’Annunzio. Here’s a brief overview of how Buccellati became a highly sought after item selling at auction in Fort Lauderdale and all around the world.

Branching Out

With the help of promotion from famous individuals like Pope Pius XII and the previously mentioned Gabriele d’Annunzio, Buccellati was able to successfully expand at a fairly rapid rate. By 1950, there were already multiple Buccellati stores throughout Italy. 1951 marked the opening of the very first overseas store, with Mario getting one of his five sons to help him run it in New York.

When Mario died in 1965, four of his sons took over the business but eventually decided to split the company among themselves. Lorenzo and Florence took control of the Italian stores, Luca ran the New York store and silver wholesale business, while Gianmaria ran the production lines and laboratories. It was at this moment that Gianmaria started to become the creative force behind the famous Buccellati jewelry brand. 

Gianmaria grew his side of the business and eventually took control of the entire U.S. operation, and had even expanded into Europe. It’s the brand operated by Gianmaria that has become synonymous with the Buccellati logo and is responsible for creating thousands of intricately detailed accessories that get top dollar at auctions all around the world.

Signature Styles

The Buccellati brand is known for many different distinct features, but one of the most well known and easily recognizable ones is the textural engraving done on many of the pieces. Mario Buccellati took this relatively unused technique and completely innovated it for his jewelry brand. These techniques were able to produce metal that appeared to look like Venetian lace and lengths of shimmering fabrics, as well as realistic flower petals.

Buccellati’s style is very reminiscent of Renaissance work with a focus on elegant fabric and nature themes. They’ve since become a massive influence in the market of more ornamental products such as handbags, tiaras, and other high-end hair accessories. A mixture of metals heavily featuring gold is commonly found in Buccellati products, as is the presence of unusually sized or colored gems.

A Guide to Alexander Calder Artwork

American sculptor, Alexander Calder, is responsible for many fantastic works, but perhaps the most fantastic even for people who aren’t huge fans of art is his creation of the mobile. His fantastic artistic skills are responsible for millions of soothed babies all around the world. However, he also left a big impression on the art world, with many of his works being valued over $40,000 at auction appraisals in Fort Lauderdale and other parts of the world. Here is a brief overview of what made Alexander Calder and his work so significant.

The Family Passion

Calder was born in Pennsylvania in 1898 to a family who had a long line of sculptors, including Calder’s grandfather who is responsible for creating the William Penn statue on top of Philadelphia City Hall. Calder showed very early signs of interest in following his family’s artistic legacy and could be seen crafting jewelry, game boards, and other items from spare parts that he could find.

After originally pursuing an education and career in mechanical engineering, Calder began taking art classes and found his true calling as an artist. He then moved to Paris in 1926 to further pursue his career in the art world.

It was in Paris that Calder first started designing and making his pieces for his famous Cirque Calder. This world-renowned creation was a miniature display of moving statues and figurines going through circus acts. On the success of this work, Calder toured all across the world from 1926-31 displaying it at large exhibitions.

In 1931, Calder put his first abstract wire work on display and created his revolutionary mechanical sculptures later called “mobiles”. These sculptures were the first of their kind and relied on the movement of air instead of motors.

Bigger and Better

Calder spent much of his time split between North America and Europe until 1939 when he moved to Connecticut and spent much of his remaining life working in the United States. In that same year, Calder was commissioned to create his famous “Lobster Trap and Fish Tail” mobile for the Museum of Modern Art. From the 1950s up until his death in 1976, Calder created several massive public sculptures that have since awed millions of people.

Signature Style

Calder is commonly known for his groundbreaking work in the development of kinetic art, and his insertion of humor into many of his pieces. Although his sculptures are what initially brought him into the public eye, Calder also created many other forms of art throughout his career. His line of jewelry and paintings have also been viewed as some of his most prized works, with his paintings often featuring a very bright color palette.