Holiday traditions, and holiday art, evolve and reflect changing times.
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.
In 1963, the Whitney Museum acquired Frank Stella’s Gran Cairo painting and used the image for a Christmas card.
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.
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.
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.
Indiana continued to create work, using the same style and sensibility that made his LOVE design so well-received.
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.
His serene style and brilliant use of color, made Wolf Kahn one of the world’s most esteemed landscape artists.
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 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.