Celebrating with Colors

Holiday traditions, and holiday art, evolve and reflect changing times.

The first commercially printed Christmas card, 1843

The first commercially printed Christmas card was sold at Christie’s Valuable Books and Manuscripts sale in London on December 9 for £13,750, or about $18,370.

The card was designed by illustrator John Calcott Horsley in 1843 at the request of Sir Henry Cole, a British civil servant who founded the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Only 21 of the 1,000 copies that were printed have survived.

The card created quite a stir among supporters of the Temperance movement of the time, who objected to the depiction of children drinking wine at the family celebration. It wasn’t until 1846, three years later, that another commercial Christmas card was published.

Although many of us still enjoy sending and receiving cards during the holiday season, technology has made it easy to  send e-cards, emails, texts and tweets.

One of the upsides of technology is that art museums and galleries have gotten a broader and younger audience than ever before, but there’s nothing like getting mail, opening a card and seeing the texture and nuances of a work of art in person.

In the art world, the joy of creative works, no matter what the season, is more meaningful..and memorable…than ever.

Frank Stella

In 1963, the Whitney Museum acquired Frank Stella’s Gran Cairo painting and used the image for a Christmas card.

Frank Stella
Gran Cairo, 1962
Whitney Museum Collection

The inside of the card read, “Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years.”

Stella’s sensibility, especially his use of festive colors, made Gran Cairo a perfect choice for a holiday card.

Frank Stella
Sinjerli Variation 111, 1977
Offset lithograph and screenprint in colors
32 1/2 x 42 1/2 inches
Signed: F. Stella ’77(l.r.)
Edition: 77/100
For sale at Surovek Gallery

Since Stella’s exploration of solid black paintings, that won him critical acclaim as a young artist, he has explored the use of color and form for the last six decades.

Frank Stella’s Star Sculptures are currently on display at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey can be viewed virtually through May 9, 2021.

Robert Indiana

In 1965, the Museum of Modern Art in New York commissioned Robert Indiana to create a design for the museum’s annual Christmas card. Indiana’s LOVE design became one of the most recognizable images in the world, appearing in prints, paintings, sculptures, banners, tapestries, and stamps.

Robert Indiana
LOVE, commissioned by MoMA for the 1965 Christmas card.

Indiana continued to create work, using the same style and sensibility that made his LOVE design so well-received.

Robert Indiana
Picasso, 1974
Oil on canvas
60 x 50 inches
Signed and dated
For sale at Surovek Gallery

Robert Indiana died on May 19, 2018, in his Victorian home on the island on Vinalhaven, Maine, where he had lived a relatively reclusive life since 1969.

Wolf Kahn

His serene style and brilliant use of color, made Wolf Kahn one of the world’s most esteemed landscape artists.

Artist: Wolf Kahn (1927-2020) Title: A Slight Curve in the Meadow's Edge", 1989 Medium: Oil on canvas Size: 52 x 72 inches

Wolf Kahn
A Slight Curve in the Meadow’s Edge, 1989
Oil on canvas
52×72 inches
For sale at Surovek Gallery

Kahn divided his time between his studio in Manhattan and his studio in Brattleboro, Vermont. He said that he was inspired by the Vermont landscape and felt serene while painting in his city studio.

Wolf Kahn
Barn in the Corner, 2009
Oil on canvas
64 x 84 inches
Signed: “W. Kahn” lower center
Dated, numbered and inscribed with title
For sale at Surovek Gallery

Wolf Kahn died in his Manhattan home on March 15, 2020, leaving a legacy of some of the most original landscapes ever painted.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the art for sale at Surovek Gallery.




2021-06-01T13:25:50-04:00 December 16th, 2020|

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