Shining A Spotlight On Paul Burgess

by Christie Cluett 7. September 2015 13:59

Paul Burgess was born and bought up in the Wye Valley, near the market town of Chepstow. Having spent the eighties and nineties working mainly in pastels, after a chance meeting with two Buddhist nuns in 2003, he decided to spend several years in meditative retreat at a Buddhist monastery. And this experience has been influencing his art ever since. Here’s what Paul had to say to about his work:  


Describe a typical day in your life as an artist

Paul Burgess: I don’t really have a typical day, each day is different. I usually have several paintings on the go at any one time, so my day is determined by which one I`m working on and the stage it`s at.

I have to be in the right frame of mind to paint, it`s not something I can do mechanically, and if I don`t feel the connection with the piece, I won`t touch it. I`ll go and do something else until it feels right to start painting. It does lead to my working day being unpredictable, but I like that, it stops me from taking things for granted and keeps me interested.


Where do you gather inspiration for your artwork? 

PB: I draw my inspiration from the landscape I find myself in and the connection I feel with it. I love exploring woodland in particular because it’s where I feel the connection the most. I can often be found out and about at dawn, searching for those spectacular early morning scenes with beautiful strong natural light.


Above: ‘Muted Blues & Dappled Light’ by Paul Burgess


What was the first piece of artwork you created and the first piece you sold?

PB: Is there every really a first piece of artwork? Most of us are making marks at a very early age, so personally I see it as more of a natural progression rather than a definitive beginning.

The first piece of artwork I sold was a 3D painting of a local church, which was painted on glass in enamels with a separate watercolour background. Everything was outlined and there wasn’t a straight line anywhere. I seem to remember selling it for £25 back in the 70s.

What is the most important piece of equipment in your artist`s toolbox?

PB: There isn’t one thing in my artist’s toolbox that is more important than anything else. Everything is equally important as I need it all to do what I do.


Above: ‘Wentwood Limited Edition’ Print by Paul Burgess

If you could own any piece of artwork what would it be?

PB: It would be virtually impossible to choose just one piece from all the amazing artworks in the world. One that has always stood out for me though is ‘Fumee d`Ambre Gris’ by John Singer Sargent. I love Sargent`s work, and this is one of my favourites because of its beautifully subtle elegance. I could imagine staring at it for hours on end if it was hanging on my wall.

How has helped you progress your artistic career?

PB: have been instrumental in the development of my work, by giving me the support I`ve needed to allow my work to evolve naturally. They have tirelessly promoted my work since I joined them in 2011, which has brought my style of painting to the attention of many more private buyers and collectors.

Are you interested in hanging an artwork by this amazing artist on your own wall? Then take a look at Paul Burgess’ profile now.


Art and Morality: Exposing the Most Evil Artists Ever

by Christie Cluett 26. August 2015 14:32

For many, the ultimate purpose of art is to create joy by producing beauty. However, masked behind the striking façade of many artworks there lies a darkness. With this thought in mind, here is the tale of five artists whose propensity for evil is as great as their undoubted creative talent.



 ‘David with the Head of Goliath’ by Caravaggio

Above: ‘David with the Head of Goliath’. Note that the painting depicts a young Caravaggio holding the head of an older Caravaggio. Image by Katexic Publications

Caravaggio’s work had a profound influence on many generations of painters because of its innovative use of Chiaroscuro tones, which provide a strong contrast between light and dark. However, the light and dark shades that characterised Caravaggio's paintings also perfectly mirrored his personality.

On one hand, you had the man that became the protégé of a cardinal, who could comfortably mix with the highest echelons of Italian society. On the other, you had a man that would often keep company with vagrants and roam the streets armed with a sword and dagger. 

As his fame and ego grew in tandem, the darker side of Caravaggio’s personality started to become prominent. And as a result of his trigger-hair temper, he was repeatedly arrested for various misdemeanours – from slashing the cloak of a rival to throwing a plate of artichokes at a waiter.

Inevitably, during one such altercation, Caravaggio ended up killing another man during a fight in a Piazza. While on the run, he painted a series of works that seemed to reflect his guilt, including his famed self-portrait as the severed head of Goliath.


Richard Dadd

‘The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke’ by Richard Dadd

Above: ‘The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke’ by Richard Dadd, which is currently on loan to Watts Gallery, Compton. Image by The Public Domain Review

Born in 1817, Richard Dadd was an English painter of the Victorian era, who won acclaim for his depictions of fairies and other supernatural objects. During his time studying at the Royal Academy of Arts, Dadd founded The Clique – a group of British artists that included William Powell Frith, Augustus Egg and others.

In July of 1842, Dadd accompanied a crew led by Sir Thomas Phillips as a draftsman on an expedition through Europe to Greece, Turkey, Southern Syria and finally Egypt. Towards the end of the trip, Dadd underwent a dramatic personality change. After his condition was originally diagnosed as sunstroke, Dadd started to become violent and declared himself under the direct influence of the Egyptian God Osiris.    

Upon his return to England in the spring of 1843, Dadd was, unsurprisingly, diagnosed to be of unsound mind and body. In a bid to help Dadd get better, his family took him to the village of Cobham to recuperate. However, after becoming convinced that his father was the devil in disguise, Dadd killed him and fled for France.

While trying to reach Paris, Dadd attempted to kill a tourist with a razor, but was fortunately overpowered by the police. After confessing to killing his father, the authorities returned Dadd to England, where he was committed to the criminal department of Bethlem psychiatric hospital and later Broadmoor hospital.


Walter Sickert

‘Jack the Ripper's Bedroom’ by Walter Richard Sickert

Above: ‘Jack the Ripper's Bedroom’ by Walter Richard Sickert. Image from Wikipedia

Born in Munich, Germany, Walter Richard Sickert was a painter and printmaker, who spent a long spell working in Victorian London as a member of the Camden Town Group. During this time, he became an important influencer of British styles of avant-garde and a prominent figure in the transition from Impressionism to Modernism.

Seen as an eccentric, Sickert’s work included portraits of renowned personalities. However, during his time in London, his favourite subjects became ordinary people, and he often braved the censure of the Victorian period to paint nudes and seedy nightlife scenes. 

Another of Sickert’s keen interests were the crimes of Jack the Ripper, who was terrorising London during the period of his stay. He is even believed to have lodged in a room reputedly frequented by the serial killer, where he painted a picture entitled ‘Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom’.

Years after Sickert’s death however, three books have been written and published that claim Sickert was Jack the Ripper or his accomplice. It is important to note there was no mention of Sickert being a suspect in the Ripper crimes while he was alive, and many historians have been quick to rubbish these claims. Nonetheless, the books and the theory behind Sickert’s potential double identity remain fascinating.


Benvenuto Cellini

 Metalwork by Benvenuto Cellini

Above: Metalwork by Benvenuto Cellini. Image by Fabio Venni

For many, Benvenuto Cellini is one of the best artists in precious and base metals of all time. In fact, his contemporary and fellow Florence-based artist, Michelangelo, once wrote to Cellini to tell him that he was the greatest goldsmith ever.

However, Cellini’s talent did not stop him from being a man that killed repeatedly and without remorse. First of all, he killed his brother’s murderer by driving a long and twisted dagger through the man’s shoulder. Then, after forming a taste for bloodshed, he also killed a rival goldsmith and shot dead an innkeeper in the city of Florence.

Despite this long list of offences, Cellini escaped being executed for his crimes because of the simple fact that his work was so admired throughout the city. Furthermore, Cellini has a statue erected in his honour, on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge that crosses the River Arno in the heart of Florence.


Charles Bronson   

Charles Bronson, prisoner and artist

Above: The movie ‘Bronson’ is about the famous prisoner and artist Charles Bronson (real name Michael Gordon Peterson). Image by Mikey

Thanks to a mammoth rap sheet that includes brutal attacks on prison officers and fellow inmates, Charles Bronson has earned his reputation as ‘the most violent prisoner in Britain’. His fearsome status has even spawned a film based on his life, entitled ‘Bronson’ and starring Tom Hardy.

Yet despite his dark character, Bronson, who is currently serving a life sentence at Wakefield Prison, likes to show off his artistic side. To this end, he has produced a huge number of paintings, drawings and poetry while serving time at her Majesty’s pleasure. Moreover, his work has won countless awards, been exhibited around the world and, on occasion, has fetched thousands when sold under the hammer at auction.

Would you like to own a piece of art by an up-and-coming artist? Then simply visit the homepage and use the search tool on the right to find a piece that matches your taste and budget.


Malvern Theatres New Exhibition - August - September

by Humph Hack 9. August 2015 15:29

Sunday mornings are a quiet time in the theatre complex, but there is always a group of "fans" who come in especially to see the new offerings. The selection of artists made includes newcomers and old favourites, intended to support new talent and celebrate established artists.

Alexandra Grashion-Cowley has been artistically gifted all her life; an inheritance from both her parents.

Her varied career began with commissioned artworks before progressing to produce original clothing and working in professional musical theatre as a set and costume designer. She has taught every form of art and enjoys the use of different media, attaining international recognition and 
receiving numerous awards. Her paintings have been published and featured on many occasions and in a variety of media. She is recognised as an artist with supreme technical skill. Her work is owned by collectors across the World. 

Jenny Schrag is a self-taught artist, who for the last 20 years lived abroad. 

She has exhibited in Oman, Cyprus, Geneva and in the South of France where she had her own gallery. Living and working in these countries and experiencing their different cultures was a constant inspiration. Her artwork often depicts scenes of everyday life using a vibrant palette of oils, inks or watercolour. The clarity of her vision, and technical skill, lifts what may initially seem to be mundane events to another level.

She now lives in Worcestershire and continues to seek out new and exciting subjects. Her work is owned by collectors across Europe.

My selection of some of my own recent work reflects my interest in architecture and in dramatic landscapes.
Artists interested in showing their work in the theatre should contact me at


The exhibition is open every day - Sunday 9 August until Saturday 12th September.


A Woman’s World: 5 Of the Best Female Street Artists Working Now

by Christie Cluett 7. August 2015 11:39

Sneaking into private land under the cover of darkness or being chased by the police are both occupational hazards for the most dedicated street artists. Stereotypically macho activities such as these have led many to view the world of street art as male dominated. At the very least, they don’t fit the conventional perception of what many deem as ‘lady like’.

However, there is a group of exceptionally talented women that are determined to prove urban artistry is not the exclusive domain of men. To illustrate this fact, here are five of the best female artists, who have each swapped canvas for concrete to produce some of the world’s most exceptional examples of street art.



Image by Lord Jim

Kashink is a Paris-based artist, who is rarely seen in public without a pencilled on moustache. This persona is reflected in her work, which seeks to examine the absurdity of traditional gender roles in a bright, bold and often comical fashion. On request, she has revitalised the walls of many cities across the world, including London, Vienna, Ibiza, Bristol and Paris. As you can see from her work above, Kashink likes to paint a huge range of characters, which are often recognisable by their numerous eyes and huge skulls. 

Miss Van


Image by KylaBorg

Born in 1973, this French-born, Barcelona-based artist is one of the first women ever to work within the street art scene. Miss Van started painting graffiti murals in the streets of Toulouse when she was just 18 years-old, and by the time she was 20, she had totally revolutionised the city’s street art scene. Over two decades later, Miss Van has achieved universal acclaim for her work and exhibited in many galleries across the world. Her most iconic pieces feature renderings of Baroque-era ladies donning pearls and furs.



 Maya Hayuk


Image by Lord Jim

Maya Hayuk is a Brooklyn-based artist that is best known for effortlessly blending Ukrainian crafts into her large-scale psychedelic and geometric visions. Hayuk has spent most of her career crafting pieces for exhibitions. However, the ever-increasing scale of Hayuk’s work has led to her painting some murals on the outside of large buildings across the US. Thus, a lot more people have now become familiar with the spoils of her intoxicating designs.





Image by HelenSTB

Faith47’s street art career already spans the best part of two decades. In that time, she has created art in most of the world’s major cities. To bring her pictures to life, Faith47 uses a wider range of media than most other street artists, including graphite, oil paint, photography as well as spray paint. For many, Faith47’s art resembles storybook illustrations that seek to bring nature to the centre stage of urban environments.





Image by See-ming Lee

Born in Poland, Olek is an artist whose work is based on covering people and objects in ultra-vibrant crocheted cozies. One can often spot her work in New York, where she has covered everything from cars to bicycles, monuments and buildings in her iconic knitting. In her own words, Olek describes her work as “my madness becomes my crochet”. And it’s this outlook that allows her to blend passion with politics to produce street art which engages both the eye and the mind.

Fancy owning a piece of street art-inspired artwork to hang in your home or office? Visit our Urban Gallery to browse our extensive collection.


Shining A Spotlight On Andrew McNeile Jones

by Christie Cluett 17. July 2015 14:39


In the 1980s, Andrew McNeile Jones graduated with a first in Fine Art from Oxford University’s Ruskin School of Art. Despite this, he then trained as a filmmaker before going on to produce and direct many dramas, documentaries and commercials.

However, in 2002, he decided to leave the filmmaking industry to concentrate on his art. Here’s what he had to say to about his work:


 Describe a typical day in your life as an artist

Andrew McNeile Jones: I like to start the day early, because, with three children, I know there are going be interruptions later. I often get up around 6, and sit at my easel with a first cup of tea. I can usually get an hour or two in before the breakfast and school run chaos. Then I settle down again just after 9.

I usually have several paintings on the go at any one time, and I try and do a block of three or four hours on each painting, before moving on. This will depend on how much wet paint there is, and how much I just need to let it dry. 

If a painting is in its early stages, I block in the main shapes and masses, and it will be fairly quickly covered in paint; soon I’m in danger of smudging part of it, so I move on. Also, over-working wet paint can lead to muddy colours, so it’s best to put a painting at this stage on one side to dry. However, if I’m working on a smaller, detailed area, I can keep going if the surrounding paint is dry. 

Hours just mysteriously disappear; I often have Radio 4 for company, and the news bulletins are a good way to keep track of the time. But I alternate the radio with audio books, and then there’s no clue; if it’s a good book, I can easily miss lunch and be in danger of forgetting to pick the kids up.

The later afternoon is often when I will deal with emails and some of the necessary admin – updating websites, photographing new work, and so on. I really should be better at the social media thing, but it just takes up too much time, so I try to ignore it.

When all is quiet again in the evening, I can ponder new ideas and maybe pop back into my studio to plan what I’m going to tackle first thing tomorrow.

Where do you gather inspiration for your artwork? 

AMJ: Inspiration sometimes comes just from moments around the house – a shaft of light coming through the window, a jacket tossed over the back of a chair makes me think “I could do something with that.”

It could be an exhibition or a picture in a magazine or a website that just gives me the germ of an idea that I can chew over. And sometimes it is not even pictorial: it could be an idea in a novel, or a piece of music – on occasion, these can all set me scribbling.  I have notebooks and lists of thoughts and possibilities, and just never enough time.


Above: ‘The Hour Of Meeting, The Hour Of Parting (II) by Andrew McNeile Jones

What was the first piece of art you created and the first piece of art you sold?

AMJ: I returned to painting after a first career in the film and television business. Around the time that I was working out my new direction, I went to an exhibition of William Nicholson’s paintings at the Royal Academy, and I was absolutely inspired by it.

I then decided to see if I could make a fair copy of one of his pieces – a silver bowl with pea pods on a tablecloth. This was the first piece in my burgeoning new career; I was satisfied with it, but never showed it, and it still hangs in one of our bedrooms.

I then started on my own small still lives and interior paintings, and my first sale was a painting of a wooden box full of home-grown tomatoes. There were all sorts of varieties and shades from green to deep red. What amazes me now is not the painting but the fact that I had the time to do the gardening, in order to grow all those tomatoes!

What is the most important piece of equipment in your artist’s tool box?

AMJ: Over and above the obvious essentials – the paint, the brushes and the canvas – the next most useful item I have is a mahl stick. It is nothing more than a bamboo cane with a pad of chamois leather tied over one end.  The pad rests on the top of the canvas or on the easel, and my painting hand can rest on the stick. This gives steadiness for fine work, and also the ability to hold my hand away from areas of wet paint. It cost pence to make, but I can’t imagine working without it.


Above: ‘Rice Bowl & Spring Blossom’ by Andrew Mcneile Jones

If you could own any piece of art, which would it be?

AMJ: It is tantalising to be told you can have any – but only one – work of art.  It would probably be an old master, and there are Titians and Velasquez’s that I would kill for, but right here and now I would choose Rembrandt’s ‘Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels’. She was his mistress, or more correctly, common law wife, after his first wife died. She stares out at us – at him – with such tenderness and yearning, and the brushwork is absolutely magical.

How has helped you progress your artistic career?

AMJ:  I first met Mike and Aileen of several years ago, when I was first exploring the idea of trying to sell my work online. I had my own website of course, but that does little more than provide an online ‘presence’ and point of contact. I knew that selling online was a lot more than that, and have taken that on magnificently.

The site is simple to use, and they have built up an enormous database, which means new paintings can be targeted at potential customers very rapidly. I think the personal contact Aileen develops with clients means that relationships can be forged, which is invaluable, not only for sales, but for helping build the artist’s reputation – which can only be a good thing!

Are you interested in hanging an artwork by this wonderful artist on your own wall? Then take a look at Andrew McNeile Jones’ profile now.








Machine Picks The Most Creative Paintings Ever – Do You Agree With Its Choices?

by Christie Cluett 9. July 2015 15:17


Image by Jan Vašek

To an outsider looking in, the disciplines of art and science might seem like polar opposites. Art is driven by emotion and the desire to create something of beauty from instinct. On the other hand, science is fuelled by intellect and is relentlessly systematic in its approach.

However, on closer inspection, there is a clear symmetry that exists between science and art. For example, be it philosophically or empirically, both are dedicated to trying to find answers to some of life’s biggest questions. Plus, both the laboratory and the artist’s studio are environments where failure is openly accepted as part of the learning process.

Thanks to two computer scientists, however, the line between art and science is now closer than ever. That’s because Ahmed Elgammal and Babak Saleh from Rutgers University in New Jersey have created a visual algorithm that ranks historical art works according to the creativity they display. What’s more, they believe their machine can do this better than any art critic or historian alive.

Here Comes the Science Bit

Two technological advances have converged at once to make this feat possible. The first of these is the advance in the capabilities of machine vision – where a computer can classify images by the visual concepts they contain.

Ahmed Elgammal and Saleh’s machine can now easily distinguish between high level features such as how a painting looks and low-level features, such as colour. In fact, when analysing every painting, the machine can reference up to 2,559 different visual concepts.

The second major advancement is big data. Huge databases of art now exist online, which computers such as the one in question can use to hone their virtual eye. The largest of these is housed on the WikiArt website, which contains images of over 62,000 of the most important art works from throughout history.

The Virtual Network

So that their machine could choose the most creative artworks ever from the WikiArt database, Elgammal and Saleh created an algorithm that viewed the history of art as a network. This allowed their machine to compare every artwork in the database based on age and the visual concepts that they displayed.

The machine was then able to decide which artworks were the most creative by discovering when visual concepts were used for the first time. By this method, ground-breaking paintings were classified as artworks that had spawned a huge number of derivatives. While paintings that had no peers in terms of style and form were considered as truly original.

The Computer Says

As it turns out, art history is jam-packed with examples of paintings that were unlike anything that appeared before them. For example, Leonardo Da Vinci’s 1469 ‘Madonna and Child with a Pomegranate’, Goya’s 1780 ‘Christ Crucified’ and Edvard Munch’s 1893 ‘The Scream’ are three influential works that had a massive influence on paintings that were to follow.



 Above:  Although Edvard Munch exhibited creativity when he painted ‘The Scream’, his painting is one of the most imitated art works of all time. Image by Mike Licht

By looking at art in chronological order, the machine was also able to determine several spikes in creativity throughout art history. The two biggest corresponded with the High Renaissance period around the turn of the 16th century and also the late 19th and early 20th century. Therefore, the machine rated works by Michelangelo, as well Picasso and Salvador Dali highly for their creativity.



 Above: Many of Picasso’s paintings scored highly for creativity and originality. Image by Rian Castillo

Other instantly recognisable paintings the machine decided were exceptional in terms of creativity included Claude Monet’s ‘Haystacks at Chailly at Sunrise’, Roy Lichtenstein’s Pop Art masterpiece ‘Yellow Still Life’,  and Vermeer’s ‘View of Delft’.


Above: ‘Haystacks at Chailly at Sunrise’ by Claude Monet – one of the most creative and influential paintings ever created. Image from WikiArt

 While most of the paintings listed thus far are already darlings of the art fraternity, interestingly, the machine also downgraded a number of artworks that are widely considered great. 

For example, some artworks by old masters, Ingres and Rodin, are considered by the machine to lack originality. Similarly, despite being considered as one of the 20th century’s most seminal artworks, Paul Cezanne’s ‘Garden at les Lauves’ was also ranked poorly by the machine in terms of creativity.

And the Winner Is…

Despite being a relative unknown, certainly in comparison to the more illustrious names listed, the machine deems history’s most creative artist ever to be Fernando Calhau.

Due to rights around publishing images, we are unable to show you pictures of any of his work here – however, you can check out his portfolio at the WikiArt Database. There’s no doubt that this abstract artist has created some truly unique pieces, but is he the most creative artist in history?

A Machine has proved it’s got a fantastic eye for art, but have you? The collection includes a huge range of affordable art from some of the most creative artists working today. So why not check it out to see what you think?



Malvern Theatre Summer Show - The Joy of Colour

by Humph Hack 28. June 2015 14:14

Colour is the stuff of art. Colour is a joy and this Summer’s exhibition at the Malvern Theatres is all about “The Joy of Colour”. It showcases 3 artists whose response to, and use of, colour demonstrate how very different end results can be achieved by talented artists.
Although Liane Stevenson draws inspiration from both the urban and rural landscape, the works in this exhibition are largely cityscapes. She specialises in collage, finding the range of pattern available helps her express and celebrate the visual rhythms of her subject matter.
Liane has been involved in many solo and mixed exhibitions over the last twenty years, but this is her first show in Malvern. Her use of colour is subtle. The delicate tones of her compositions nevertheless produce images which are visually opulent and highly evocative. 
She is one of those artists happy to undertake commissions. To discuss such an assignment and to see more of her work, especially her most recent - working mainly from the figure, take a look at her page.



Stuart Dalby’s work could not be more different even though his subject matter is also drawn from the world about us. In his case all the works chosen are from the natural world. It is the “riot” of colour which first attracts the attention. Subtle they are not! Powerful and vibrant they surely are.
Working for many years as a museum professional, he rose to the post of Project Manager for Birmingham Museum and Art gallery. Many of the paintings on show develop from photographs that he has taken over the years, providing either a starting point or a complete composition to be re-interpreted into paint, but he also spends a lot of time with a sketch book.
Stuart has exhibited in several exhibitions locally and has shown his work successfully in both the Malvern Theatres and The Art gallery Tetbury – the home of He is also happy to consider commissions.


Jim Fry is an ex-student of the well-known Bournville College of Art. He too has a passion for vibrant colour, to depict energy and movement in his paintings, but Jim’s works are powerful examples of abstraction. He pushes the boundaries of the use of paint, discovering new ways of expressing creativity. His work is influenced by lifetime experiences and travel, particularly to Italy and by his experience of volcanoes. Other inspiration comes from celestial objects, such as stars, galaxies, planets, moons and nebulae including the phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of the earth. Jim also regularly works on a commission basis. This is Jim’s first exhibition in Malvern.


The exhibition can be viewed every day from 28 June until 9 August.


Malvern Theatres - May / June Exhibition

by Humph Hack 17. May 2015 15:34

The new exhibition at Malvern Theatres features the work of another three artists with considerable reputations, consummate talent and proven sales record. The work is on show from Monday 18th May for six weeks.

Mike Skidmore’s still-life works rival the very best of this age-old genre. What they have which makes them even more collectable is a delightful whimsy derived from Mike’s chosen titles. There is in effect more there than meets the eye. The style may at first appear conventional, his choice of oils to portray his subject matter traditional, but the message is bang up to date.


Judith Selcuk works, by contrast, in more unusual media. She produces evocative and rich images using coloured pencils, artstix, crayons etc. and often adds gold and silver leaf to her compositions. The recognition of the superb quality of her technique with these materials is the reason she was asked to edit a magazine dedicated to their use, and she can be seen demonstrating her technique at venues across the country and on the “Create and Craft” TV channel.

The third artist on show is Graeme Robb. His acrylic works refer back to the excitement caused by Impressionism in the art world of the 19th century. The style remains a firm favourite with the British public, but Graeme’s works have a freshness which attracts 21st century buyers. Although he produces portraits in a similar style, the works in this show are all landscape inspired.

So, three artists, three different subject matters and three very different media.

The exhibition runs until Saturday 27 June.


The World's 10 Most Expensive Paintings

by Christie Cluett 1. May 2015 09:48

In February this year, Paul Gauguin’s ‘When Will You Marry?’ became the most expensive painting ever sold, when it was purchased by the Royal Family of Qatar for $300m. To mark the occasion, we wrote a piece describing the story behind this record-breaking artwork, which you can read here.

But, how does the sum paid for Gaugin’s masterpiece compare to the world’s other priciest paintings? After adjusting their value for inflation, here are the remaining paintings in the top 10, from the most expensive to the least.

‘The Card Players’ by Paul Cézanne – $263.1m


Above: ‘The Card Players’ by Paul Cézanne. Image by Joaquín Martínez

One in a series of five oil paintings, the ‘Card Players’ was created by Cézanne in the early 1890s, during the French Post-Impressionist’s final period.

Like Gauguin’s record-breaking painting, ‘The Card Players’ was purchased by the State of Qatar, this time in 2011. Having opened a series of world-class museums over the last decade, the oil-rich nation has been busy building a collection of famous artworks ever since.

‘No. 5, 1948’ by Jackson Pollock – $164.4m

Above: ‘No. 5, 1948’ by Jackson Pollock. Image by Markldiaz

For many critics, Jackson Pollock’s ‘No. 5, 1948’ represents the pinnacle of the Abstract Expressionism movement, which started just after World War II.

In 2006, the New York Times claimed the painting was sold by David Geffen, founder of Geffen Records, to David Martinez, managing director of Fintech Advisory. However, Martinez later issued a press release denying this, so there remains some confusion about who actually acquired this painting.

‘Woman III’ by Willem de Kooning – $162.2m

Above: ‘Woman III’ by Willem de Kooning. Image by Uri Jimenez Carrasco

Painted by the Dutch American abstract painter, Willem de Kooning, ‘Woman III’ is the third in a series of six paintings, created between 1951 and 1953.

As proof that the most expensive art usually changes hands between a select number of people, ‘Woman III’ is another painting on this list that was sold by David Geffen in 2006. This time the painting was bought by billionaire hedge fund manager, Steven A. Cohen – which is one of several names that appears on this list more than once.

‘Le Rêve’ by Pablo Picasso – $158.5m


Above: ‘Le Rêve’ by Pablo Picasso. Image by NichoDesign

As one of the most famous and revered artists to have ever lived, Pablo Picasso’s name was bound to feature on this list sooner rather than later.

His most expensive painting is ‘La Rêve’ (translated as The Dream), which depicts the Spanish artist’s French mistress Marie-Therese Walter. It is widely reported that Steven A. Cohen bought the painting from the casino owner, Stephen A. Wynn, in 2013.

‘Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer’ I by Gustav Klimt – $158.4m

Above: ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer’ I by Gustav Klimt. Image by Markldiaz

The story behind this remarkable portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer is so fascinating that it was recently turned into a Hollywood film called Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren.

After Bloch-Bauer died tragically young, her will instructed that the painting should be left to the Austrian state upon the death of her husband. But when Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938, Mr. Bloch-Bauer fled to Switzerland and the painting was confiscated by the Nazis.

After nearly 60 years hanging in the Austrian Gallery, Maria Altmann (Adele Bloch-Bauer’s niece) won a lengthy battle to claim ownership of the painting in 2006. Later that year, the painting was sold to Ronald Lauder for the Neue Galerie in New York.

Portrait of Dr. Gachet’ by Vincent van Gogh – $152m 

Above: ‘Portrait of Dr. Gachet’ by Vincent van Gogh. Image by Markldiaz

Painted by Vincent van Gogh just before his death in 1890, the painting depicts Dr. Paul Gachet, who took care of the famous artist in his final months. Although there are two versions of this painting, both are easily distinguishable because of their unique use of style and colour. The first version of this painting was sold at a New York auction in 1990 to the Japanese businessman, Ryoei Saito.

  ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’ by Francis Bacon – $145m

Above: ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’ by Francis Bacon. Image by Hrag Vartanian

Painted in 1969, the ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’ is a triptych of Francis Bacon’s friend and fellow artist, Lucian Freud. According to the New York Times, the ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’ was purchased by the art dealer, William Acquavella, after he won a bidding battle against seven other prospective buyers.

The sum paid for this triptych beat the previous record price of $86.3m for one of Bacon’s works, paid in 2008 by Roman Abramovich, for a 1976 triptych

‘Bal du moulin de la Galette’ by Pierre-Auguste Renoir – $143.9m

Above: ‘Bal du moulin de la Galette’ by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Image by Sharon Mollerus

In 1876, Renoir painted a large and small version of the ‘Bal du moulin de la Galette’. The large version of the painting has been on display at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris since 1986. However, the smaller version was sold via auction in 1990 to Ryoei Saito.   

Saito, who also bought the ‘Portrait of Dr. Gachet’, caused outrage in 1991, when he announced his intention to cremate both paintings alongside himself when he died.

Luckily his company, the Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Co, ran into financial problems and both paintings were sold to help clear the debt. Many critics believe that the ‘Bal du moulin de la Galette’ is now owned by a private Swiss collector.

‘Garçon à la pipe’ by Pablo Picasso – $131.1m

Above: ‘Garçon à la pipe’ by Pablo Picasso. Image by Markldiaz

The only artist to feature in this list twice, Pablo Picasso’s ‘Garçon à la pipe’ was painted in 1905, when the artist was just 24 years old. When ‘Garçon à la pipe’ was sold at auction in 2004, it became the first painting to break the $100m mark (before adjusting prices for inflation).


There is clear evidence that the world’s most expensive paintings are increasing in value significantly. In fact, six of the world’s 10 most expensive paintings were purchased in the last decade. This mirrors the wider trend of an increase in spending on art, which suggests more collectors than ever are viewing artworks as a viable investment. 

Are you thinking of investing in an art collection of your own? Simply click here to visit our gallery, and then use the search tool on the right to find an artwork to suit your taste and budget. 


How to Buy Contemporary Art

by Christie Cluett 27. April 2015 10:52

Original Oil on Canvas, Buttercup by Patricia L. Wright

So, what is contemporary art? In the art world, there are a number of different definitions. For instance, some define it as art that is created during our lifetime. Others classify it as art from when the period of Modern art ended in the 1970s to the present day.

Perhaps the easiest way to define contemporary art though, is as work produced by artists living and working today. But with so many working artists selling pieces across every style imaginable, how do you know where to start looking for that perfect artwork?

Grab a cuppa, sit back, and pick up some valuable tips with this bite-sized guide on how to buy contemporary art that is right for you.

Open your mind

Above: Bunnies at Bedtime, an original painting available to buy from by Andrew Alan Johnson

The only way to find out what contemporary art is right for you is to open yourself up to the possibilities of what you might like. Look at websites such as Art Rabbit , which allows you to search for contemporary art exhibitions and chat with working artists to find out if the motivations that drive their work resonate with you. In addition, you could join a contemporary art society, which will help you to discover the art you love and like-minded people to talk to about your experiences.

Haven’t got the time to visit exhibitions or join an art society? Then flick through magazines and books, or browse online galleries – digital mediums have made it easier than ever to discover the art you love from the comfort of your own home. 

Buying contemporary art online

In many ways, buying contemporary art online is a more democratic process. Websites can exhibit the work of hundreds of artists, and you can compare a huge number of artworks and prices more easily. Then, after you have had time to think about what you like, you can come back and make a better informed purchasing decision. Plus, if you join, you can use the ‘Wishlist’ feature to save artworks you like, making this process even easier.   

What’s more, because artists don’t have to pay as much for exhibiting their work online, many can afford to sell their work for cheaper prices. This ensures you can grab a bargain, without having to adhere to the set opening and closing times of a physical exhibition.

Finding the money to buy contemporary art

Above: Blood Money, a limited edition (75) contemporary art print available to buy from Print by Garvin Vaughan

Let’s get straight to the point, some contemporary art can be very expensive. However, that doesn’t mean you have to become ‘priced out’ of purchasing an art work you’ve fallen in love with. If you can’t afford the artwork you want in one go,’s ‘Own Art’ scheme allows you to spread the cost of buying artworks over 10 months with an interest free loan. For more information about our Own Art scheme, please click here.

If you don’t like the idea of taking out a loan to start a contemporary art collection, you can still grab a bargain with a keen eye. If you are constrained by a tight budget, look for early-career artists you like. Don’t wait – when the popularity of these artists increases, so will their prices.

Above: 'Under Red Umbrella', an oil on canvas available to buy from Painting by Eva Czarniecka

Buying limited edition contemporary art prints

If you aren’t able to afford an original artwork, or you want to enjoy the work of a well known artist, you may want to consider buying a limited edition piece. Do ensure you keep the receipt and obtain a certificate of authenticity. These documents will help prove your print is limited edition and will be used in the future to value your artwork.

Buying contemporary art for the home or the office 

If you are looking to buy contemporary art as an investment, you may wish to re-think your strategy. Of course, there is the possibility of securing a big financial win in the future if you buy the right piece. However, with so many contemporary artists working today, the odds are slim, and the investment game is best left to the experts, not the relative art novices.  

For this reason, if you are buying contemporary art for your home or office, buy what you love, not what you think might be worth a fortune in a few years’ time.  Ask yourself: will I still like this artwork in a few years from now? Or will this painting match my home or office’s colour scheme?

If you need a little help visualising the answers to these questions, includes a ‘test drive’ feature on the left-hand side of every product page. This feature allows you to place the painting in a traditional or contemporary virtual office or living room and change the colour of the walls to match your own. 

Above: Mr O Hare, an animal portrait print available to buy from Limited Edition (50) Print by Bri Buckley

The huge number of contemporary artists working today ensures there is an abundance of choice for the novice art collector. To find something you like, all you have to do is get out there and look. Furthermore, the fact you can spread the payment of some paintings over 10 months means that even the most expensive pieces can become that little bit more affordable.

Do you now feel ready to buy a contemporary art print? It doesn't matter what your budget is, will have the perfect artwork for you. Simply visit our homepage, and use the search tool on the right to find a contemporary art piece that matches your taste. 


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