Irving Penn has died , aged 92

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Photographer Irving Penn , one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century , has dies aged 92 . His pictures showed a stark simplicity whether he was shooting celebrity portraits, fashion, still life or remote places of the world. The death was announced by his photo assistant, Roger Krueger. Penn, who constantly explored the photographic medium and its boundaries, typically preferred to isolate his subjects — from fashion models to Aborigine tribesmen — from their natural settings to photograph them in a studio against a stark background. He believed the studio could most closely capture their true natures.

Between 1964 and 1971, he completed seven such projects, his subjects ranging from New Guinea mud men to San Francisco hippies. Penn also had a fascination with still life and produced a dramatic range of images that challenged the traditional idea of beauty, giving dignity to such subjects as cigarette butts, decaying fruit and discarded clothing. A 1977 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art presented prints of trash rescued from Manhattan streets and photographed, lovingly, against plain backgrounds.

“Photographing a cake can be art,” he said at the 1953 opening of his studio, where he continued to produce commercial and gallery work into the 21st century.
Penn’s career began in the 1940s as a fashion photographer for Vogue, and he continued to contribute to the magazine for decades thereafter. He stumbled into the job almost by accident, when he abandoned his early ambition to become a painter and took a position as a designer in the magazine’s art department in 1943. Staff photographers balked at his unorthodox layout ideas, and a supervisor asked him to photograph a cover design.
The resulting image, on the Oct. 1, 1943, cover of Vogue, was a striking still-life showing a brown leather bag, a beige scarf, gloves, oranges and lemons arranged in the shape of a pyramid. In subsequent photographs for the magazine, Penn further developed his austere style that placed models and fashion accessories against clean backdrops. It was a radical departure at a time when most fashion photographers posed their subjects with props and in busy settings that tended to draw attention from the clothes themselves.

About Photogold David

Photographer David Rankin set up the UK's first online prints gallery , Photogold , in 1998 http://www.photogold.co.uk

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Jack Vettriano reveals new paintings

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Masthead by Jack Vettriano
Masthead by Jack Vettriano

Jack Vettriano seems to have been inspired by  the Riviera in France . He has announced a new set of 10 paintings  based on the Clyde-built Tuiga – the flagship of the Yacht Club of Monaco .”Most people are stuck at the end of Berwick Pier doing landscapes and so to get invited to be involved with the Tuiga centenary was just lovely. Sometimes I just have to pinch myself and ask, ‘Is this really going on? Am I really here?’ . The paintings include The Masthead , Sunshine and Champagne, Mystery Man, Ship of Dreams and Below Deck.

“I think the light in the Riviera is just gorgeous and for someone like me, the sheer visual pleasure that you get from being in that kind of environment – looking at beautiful motorcars, looking at beautiful women, the style and architecture – it stimulates all your senses.” Vettriano seems to have got bored with the subject of his rejectioon by the art establishment . He believes the public’s appetite for reproductions of his work is a greater reward than any acceptance by the Scottish art establishment, an issue that as far as he is concerned has been “hung, drawn and quartered”.  He said: “I’m pleased when somebody spends £20 on a poster and in some ways, that is my measure of success: that a man on the street will go and do that.

“It’s not about committees sitting in smoke-filled rooms making decisions. My support is the working man.” Jack Vettriano gallery

About Photogold David

Photographer David Rankin set up the UK's first online prints gallery , Photogold , in 1998 http://www.photogold.co.uk

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New Jack Vettriano auction

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August is the month when the attention of the UK art market starts to turn towards Scotland, to Scottish art auctions and the Edinburgh Art Festival. For the first time in over 4o years, Sotheby’s will not be holding its regular sale of Scottish at the five-star Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire.
However , Sotheby’s is previewing its next Scottish art sale in Edinburgh in mid-September, before a London auction later in the month. For this it has managed to gather an impressive array of Scottish Colourists, including 10 works by the painter Jack Vettriano

About Photogold David

Photographer David Rankin set up the UK's first online prints gallery , Photogold , in 1998 http://www.photogold.co.uk

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New portrait of Francis Bacon by Michael Clark

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Jack Vettriano’s new publishing company Heartbreak Publishing have announced a new limited edition print of Francis Bacon .When asked to talk about his favourite artist in a newspaper interview , Vettriano chose Francis Bacon

“Late last year, I visited the Bacon exhibition at the Tate Britain. I had previously seen isolated examples of his work in london and New york; I felt very priveleged to be in those rooms but the overwhelming emotion was one of pure, unadulterated shock. My senses were being ravished. I felt I was reeling from room to room, I had never experienced anything quite like this before. I fled, breathless into the Winter’s day trying to comprehend what I had just seen.

My Baconisation started in 1995 when I read Dan Farson’s wonderful ‘The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon’; I became instantly fascinated and captivated by both his work and his lifestyle. Here is a man who over forty years earlier had assaulted the sensibilities of the London art viewing public by exhibiting ‘Three Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion’. It was a horrorifying introduction to a body of work that was to evolve into surely one of the most important ever created.

Here is a man, self taught, almost entirely self-educated, painting the pleasure and the pain of his own existence. Such integrity produces great art – for great art is from the heart.”

more details about new portrait of Francis Bacon by Michael Clark

About Photogold David

Photographer David Rankin set up the UK's first online prints gallery , Photogold , in 1998 http://www.photogold.co.uk

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Rolf Harris painting of ten favourite Wimbledon champions

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Rolf Harris unveiled his new painting in front of the players themselves, including Martina Navratilova and Bjorn Borg in London yesterday.

The artist selected five male and five female players who have won a Wimbledon singles title, with the champions ranging from current mens champion Roger Federer, to Suzanne Lenglen, who won her first title back in 1919.

Harris said: “They are all so good at the moment, and the new ones are coming along all the time. Murray with a bit of luck could get in there, he has improved so much in the last year”, he said.

Out of the ten former champions included, Venus Williams gave him the most enjoyment to paint: “It was the first one I painted, and I just love the muscles and the strength of it all. The smash shot that she just played (in the painting), she’s just hit the ball, closed her eyes, and she knows it is going away for a winner”, he said.

The complete list is as follows; Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer, Steffi Graf, Billie-Jean King, Rod Laver, Suzanne Lenglen, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras and Venus Williams. Rolf Harris paints and presents numerous TV programmes

About Photogold David

Photographer David Rankin set up the UK's first online prints gallery , Photogold , in 1998 http://www.photogold.co.uk

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Dance me to the End of Love painting for sale

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Two Jack Vettriano paintings are up for auction at Sothebys . Rough Trade, estimated at £100,000-150,000 (lot 150), and Dance Me to the End of Love, estimated at £100,000-150,000 (lot 149), are of particular note in this group. Dance Me to the End of Love is one of Vettriano’s most celebrated images.

Now, the first of the bi-annual sales in the field this year will be staged on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 and it will bring to the market superb examples by many of the best-known Scottish artists of the 20th century, including Samuel John Peploe, George Leslie Hunter, Joan Eardley, Anne Redpath and Alison Watt. The sale of some 150 lots – many of which have exemplary provenance having never previously appeared on the auction market – will be staged for the first time at the company’s New Bond Street galleries in London. Sotheby’s will, however, be travelling all of the works to the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh on April 19, 20 and 21 for public exhibition.
Speaking about the sale, Andre Zlattinger, Senior Director and Head of Scottish Pictures at Sotheby’s, said: “Following the success of our recent sales – and the interest we’ve regularly received from collectors in Asia, the US, the Middle East and Europe – we think the time is right for Scottish Pictures to have a more international pedestal. The Scottish market has become truly global and we are therefore delighted to announce that our sales of Scottish Pictures going forward will be staged at our New Bond Street salerooms in London. Our forthcoming sale is one of our most interesting sales for many years; it contains a rich diversity of Scottish painting by acclaimed artists such as Sir Edwin Landseer, Samuel John Peploe, George Leslie Hunter, Anne Redpath, Joan Eardley, Sir Robin Philipson and Alison Watt. The sale has something to offer all collectors in the field of Scottish painting.”

About Photogold David

Photographer David Rankin set up the UK's first online prints gallery , Photogold , in 1998 http://www.photogold.co.uk

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Scottish National Portrait Gallery closes for major revamp

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The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is to undergo a major revamp, a scheme entitled Portrait of a Nation, which will “renovate and rejuvenate” the gallery in a plan that has already gained £5.1m from the Scottish Government. The Grade A-listed building in the New Town on Queen Street was erected as the world’s first purpose-built portrait gallery, opening in 1889 after being designed by architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, but much of its space remains unused and unseen to the public.The Portrait of the Nation scheme will open up and restore large areas of the building in order to create 50% more gallery space.

A range of new services for visitors, including an education suite, learning centre and improved restaurant and shop, will be joined by new displays and exhibitions and all three floors of the building will be refurbished to better show the body of 30,000 works that is in its collection.

The gallery closes next week, marked by a Farewell Festival on April 4 and 5, and will reopen in 2011 – in the meantime £6m needs to be found to complete the redevelopment, while some of its more famous works will be shown in the National Gallery and the Dean Gallery.
A Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £4.4 million will go towards the £17.6m cost of the project, which aims to double gallery space and visitor numbers.
The renovated building will have a dedicated education suite, auditorium, IT gallery and research centre.
The revamp is expected to take up to two-and-a-half years. The gallery will close on Sunday so the work can begin.
The building which houses Scotland’s national portrait collection opened in 1889, and has been described as an architectural masterpiece.
The renovation project, called Portrait of the Nation, will increase the number of items displayed by 350%, allowing the gallery to display many more of its 30,000 portraits and photographs.

About Photogold David

Photographer David Rankin set up the UK's first online prints gallery , Photogold , in 1998 http://www.photogold.co.uk

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