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With [Liberty] and Justice for All. Post Office Puts Wrong Statue of Liberty on Stamp Must Pay Artist $3.5M

The Forever Stamp

Artist Robert S. Davidson, charged that the government mistakenly used a photograph of his Las Vegas sculpture of Lady Liberty for a stamp without permission.

The Post Office licensed a photo of Davidson’s statue from the image service Getty for $1,500, initially believing it was a photograph of the original statue. (The license only covered the rights to Getty’s photograph of the statue—not the statue itself.)

The stamp was printed roughly 3.5 billion times before a collector noticed the mistake in 2011. The USPS, after being alerted to the mistake, noted the stamp was hugely popular and even printed an additional 1.13 billion.

Was there a Copyright?

The issue of copyright has become increasingly more important in the art world. The consequences are huge, either money damages (royalties), or a court order to stop the use and the sale of the object. So, what does Copyright Law mean? A short summary below.

The elements to determine if a work violated Copyright Law are:

An Original Work?

At issue was whether Davidson’s version of the Statue of Liberty is an original work, and therefore subject to copyright infringement protections, or a straightforward replica.

In The Public Domain?

The original Statue of Liberty, created over 130 years ago, is in the public domain, meaning it can be photographed and replicated freely by anyone. Identical replicas of public domain works do not receive copyright infringement protections, either.

Fair Use?

“The government argued that even if the Las Vegas statue is copyrightable, its use on the stamp is permitted through a fair use defense. Determining whether something qualifies as fair use is a fact-based inquiry.

The originality of the copyrighted work, in this case the Las Vegas statue, is an important factor in determining fair use. The less original the copyright piece, the thinner the protections it enjoys.” (artsy.net)

What’s the Difference?

The artist claimed that elements of the statue’s face stemmed not from the original but from “certain facial features of his close female relatives.” Changes include a “fuller chin; a rounded jawline and neck; a softer and wider mouth in relation to the nose; lifted corners of the mouth to create a friendlier expression.”

What’s the Harm? Royalties

Because the USPS mistakenly used an image of Davidson’s work and not the actual Statue of Liberty, it owes the artist royalties in the amount of $3,554,946.95 in royalties, plus interest.

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The Russian Soul in Art

The Russian Soul

“It is sad, yet joyful, on a silent summer’s night, in a voiceless wood, to hear a Russian song. Here we find unlimited sadness without hope. Here, also is unconquerable strength and the unalterable stamp of Fate; here, also is iron predestination. —Alexei K. Tolstoy

Russian Art

The role of the artist is to show you the world as he/she sees it. It is hoped that this will give you a different way of seeing things – give you a different perspective from which yo view the world.

The role of art is allow you to see the world in a different way, to allow you to overcome preconceptions about the world. A great example is Picasso’s art. Drawings. You cannot say that, before Picasso, you viewed the world as he did.

As to Russian Art, many have the preconception that all it consists of is icons, scenes of revolution, poverty, heroic workers, impoverished peasants, imperial Nobles, and despair. Of course, Russian Art has all of these, just take a look at Ilya Repin. “Ivan the Terrible, after murdering his son.” These preconceptions, however, may make you want to see the subject as you think it should be, rejecting all other views.

“The Depth of a Russian Soul – Russian Painters”

The examples of Russian Art presented here show many perspectives of Russia, and what’s termed the “Russian Soul” in Art. The author is indebted to the Group, “The Depth of a Russian Soul – Russian Painters,” for its huge collection of Russian Art (posted y its members), depicting “the Russian Soul” in Art. Here are but a few examples. Visit the link above to see the depth of the Art.

Vasily Ivanovich,Surikov, “Winter in Moscow.”
Yuriy Annenkov (1889, Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan – 1974, Paris) “Portrait of the painter’s wife, the ballerina Elena Annenkova (Gal’perina)” (1917.)
Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900) “Between the Waves,” 1898 .
Petrov Vladimir Semenovich “”Collective Farmer’s Spring.”

El Lissitzky (1890-1941)”Proun”
LEV SERAFIMOVICH KOTLYAROV (Russian, b. 1925). “The Artist’s Sons, 1969.

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Edward Hopper and the Human Condition

Edward Hopper New York Movie

Edward Hopper – The Human Condition

“Edward Hopper was prone to melancholy. “His work is often called evocative and psychologically disturbing. Whether painting a theater lobby, a restaurant, or a private room, Hopper depicted impersonal, harshly lit spaces. Human figures are motionless, as though suspended in time. (Thought.com)

Edward Hopper Room in New York

Edward Hopper – Existential Loneliness

Hopper “captures a sense of loneliness by painting frozen moments. People alone in cafe’s, how people are around one another but not interacting, people alone on public transport reading papers and being alone in a room or living by yourself in the city. These qualities are especially apparent in interior scenes like Night Windows (1928), Hotel Room (1931). New York Movie (1939), and Office in a Small City (1953).” ( GemmaSchiebeFineArt)

Edward Hopper Automat

Whether painting a theater lobby, a restaurant, or a private room, Hopper depicted impersonal, harshly lit spaces. Human figures are motionless, as though suspended in time. (thought.com)

Edward Hopper Summer Evening
Edward Hopper Nighthawks

Completed in 1942, Hopper’s iconic Nighthawks (shown above) reinterprets a diner near his Greenwich Village studio. As in van Gogh’s The Night Café (1888), Nighthawks presents an uneasy contrast between glaring light, saturated colors, and dark shadows. Edward Hopper accentuated the discomfort by stretching the distance between the stools and by rendering the coffee urns with glistening detail.

In Nighthawks, as in most of Hopper’s work, inanimate objects dominate. Buildings and trappings of the industrial age tell the story of 20th century urban alienation.


“The continuity of his inspiration, the way he explored his favourite subjects: houses infused with a near “psychological” identity (House by the Railroad, 1924, MoMA), solitary figures sunk in thought Morning Sun, 1952, Columbus Museum of Art), the world of the theatre (Two on the Aisle, 1927, Toledo Museum of Art), images of the modern city (Nighthawks, 1942, (above) Art Institute Chicago). The apparent realism of Hopper’s paintings, the abstract mental process that prevails in their construction, destined these works to the most contradictory claims. ” (grandpalias.fr)

Edward Hopper Quote

“Great art is the outward expression of an inner life of the artist, and this innerlife will result in his personal vision of the world.” – Edward Hopper

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Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein Devotes the First Comprehensive Museum Exhibition to Nora Turato

Nora Turato

“Nora Turato (* 1991 in Zagreb, Croatia) scripts powerful narratives from text fragments gleaned from advertising, social media and everyday life. Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein is devoting the first comprehensive museum exhibition to the Amsterdam-based artist. ” (ArtDaily)

            “Her spoken-word performances garnered notice at the Venice Biennale in 2015, eliciting invitations from prominent museums.”
“Turato defines language as the foundation of her work, from which she creates artworks in a variety of media. Turato’s performances confront the audience with a transformed reality, as the language she uses is the language of our everyday lives. ” (ArtDaily)

“The phonetic, semantic and pictorial qualities of the works fuse together in the exhibition. The focal relationship between image and text is flanked by gestures and embodiments in the performances. The spaces consist of modular elements that change with each performance. The result is an ephemeral tale that extends over the whole duration of the exhibition, incorporating art historical accomplishments of the 20th century and raising new questions concerning our handling of language. (myswitzerland.com)

“Nora Turato studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and at the Werkplaats Typografie in Arnheim. From 2017 to 2018 she was a resident at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. Her performances have been presented at institutions internationally, including Bielefelder Kunstverein; Museum Serralves, Porto; Manifesta, Palermo; Kunsthalle Wien; Kölnischer Kunstverein; KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin; Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève and LambdaLambdaLambda, Pristina. ”

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The Intimate and Iconic Photos Nickolas Muray Took of Frida Kahlo

“This portrait is one of almost 90 known images Muray took of Kahlo between 1937 and 1948, a period when the painter made her most celebrated canvases, solidified her personal image, and navigated a life of growing renown, chronic illness, and temperamental love.

As friends and longtime lovers, Muray and Kahlo worked collaboratively to frame and compose the photographs, several of which appear in the Brooklyn Museum’s current exhibition Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving.

“Muray and Kahlo first crossed paths in 1931, on the photographer’s inaugural trip to Mexico. At the time, he was a renowned celebrity portraitist who was pioneering color photography in the United States. Following a contentious divorce, he traveled south with his best friend and fellow artist, Miguel Covarrubias. Covarrubias introduced Muray to Kahlo, then an upstart painter married to the behemoth muralist Diego Rivera. ”

“This trip marked the dawn of a passionate 10-year romance between the two artists, during which Muray intimately captured Kahlo in her studio and home; intertwined with friends and starcrossed lovers; wrapped in her signature ensembles; and in the throes of painting the searing, frank self-portraits that defined her life and legacy. Nickolas MurayFrida With Cigarette, Coyoacan, 1941Matthew Liu Fine ArtsNickolas MurayFrida, Pink/Green Blouse, Coyoacan , 1938Matthew Liu Fine Arts.

“Kahlo traveled to New York for her November show at Julien Levy. The opening, which drew the likes of Georgia O’Keeffe and Isamu Noguchi, cemented Kahlo’s reputation as an artist reshaping both Surrealism and the tradition of self-portraiture. “I do not know whether my paintings are Surrealist or not,” she stated in 1952, “but I do know that they are the frankest expression of myself.” (All quotes are from an article written by Alexxa Gotthardt in Artsy.net. which is recommended for further reading.)

Open Slideshow
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Sam Francis by The Getty – The Fine Art Print Book Lives

Sam Francis

“At the age of twenty, Sam Francis was hospitalized for spinal tuberculosis and spent three years virtually immobilized in a body cast. For physical therapy he was given a set of watercolors, and, as he described it, he painted his way back to life. The exuberant color and expression in his paintings celebrated his survival; his five-decade career was an energetic visual exploration that took him around the world.”

The Art of Sam Francis

“American artist Sam Francis (1923–1994) brought vivid color and emotional intensity to Abstract Expressionism. He was described as the “most sensuous and sensitive painter of his generation” by former Guggenheim Museum director James Johnson Sweeney. Francis’s works, whether intimate or monumental in scale, make indelible impressions; the intention of the artist was to make them felt as much as seen. “

Sam Francis The Artist’s Materials

“Francis’s idiosyncratic painting practices have long been the subject of speculation and debate among conservators and art historians. Presented here for the first time in this volume are the results of an in-depth scientific study of more than forty paintings, which reveal new information about his creative process. The data provides a key to the complicated evolution of the artist’s work and informs original art historical interpretations. ” (All quotes: The Getty.

Below are some excerpts from the book.

Sam Francis: The Artist’s Materials
Sam Francis: The Artist’s Materials
Sam Francis: The Artist’s Materials
Sam Francis: The Artist’s Materials

Whither the Book?

The Getty’s book on Sam Francis is another example of a Fine Art publisher choosing to issue the book in print. With the prediction that the ebook would replace all print media, the Getty shows its continued confidence in the worth and value of the Fine Art print book.

H/T Joshua Cohen, with appreciation

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Michelangelo – A Different View

Every year, four million people visit the Sistine Chapel in Rome to admire the beautiful ceiling frescoes by Michelangelo. The exhibition ‘A Different View’ offers the unique opportunity to look at his timeless work in a different way – they are displayed on the floor!

The exhibition “A Different View” at the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam on January 24, 2019. The exhibition runs from January 26 to May 12, 2019.

Fine Art in the New Media

The exhibition uses a photomechanical process to reproduce many of the frescoes from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which are displayed on the floor. This allows the visitor to get as close to the images as he/she wants.

While the exhibition website does not display many of the images. However, the Getty has made available a slideshow of the images in the exhibition.

Below are two screen shots of the Getty slideshow Click on “Embed from Getty Image” for the full display.

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