Entries in Painting (4)


Man Buys Warhol Sketch for $5

Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987). Nancy R. Schiff/Hulton Archive/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A British businessman made the best deal of his life when he unknowingly purchased an early Andy Warhol drawing for $5 at a Las Vegas garage sale.

Andy Fields bought five paintings in 2010 from a man who had abused drugs and whose aunt had cared for Warhol in his youth, Fields told  the U.K.’s Sun. It was only when Fields decided to have one of the paintings reframed that he learned that the forgotten Warhol could fetch $2 million at auction.

“I was reframing one of the pictures and took the backing off and saw a picture looking back at me and recognized the bright red lips of an Andy Warhol,” Fields told the BBC.

The signed drawing on tattered paper is believed to be of Rudy Vallee, a well-known singer in the 1930s. Warhol would have been about 10 years old at the time he completed the sketch, which reflects the beginning of Warhol’s pop art style.

Fields said he had no plans to sell the drawing just yet and would like to put in on display.

Warhol’s paintings have gone for millions on the auction block.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Da Vinci's Lost Painting May Be Found in Florence

Leonardo da Vinci in a self-portrait., Italy) -- It sounds like the stuff of riveting mystery novels: A team of researchers has spent nearly 40 years searching for a long-lost painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, and may have located it beneath another work that was painted over it.

The research team, lead by University of California at San Diego professor Maurizio Seracini, announced Monday that it could be one step closer in its search to find Da Vinci's lost masterpiece "The Battle of Anghiari," which he began painting in 1505 but left unfinished when he left Florence in 1506.

Seracini's team, which is sponsored by the UCSD and The National Geographic Society, used probes to drill a few small holes in a fresco painted by Giorgio Vasari located in the Piazzo Vecchio's Hall of the 1500s.

Seracini told reporters during a press conference Monday that the fragments of red, black and beige paint found beneath Vasari's work is consistent with the organic paint Da Vinci used on his frescoes.

"We have found these very special black pigments...and there are some traces of a red lacquer," he told Eurovision. "The red lacquer is not a pigment usually used on murals, because it would not last, and it is expansive. The red lacquer is used for oil painting. And this element matches with Leonardo's plan to paint his 'Battle of Anghiari' with oil technique."

"Although we are still in the preliminary stages of the research and there is still a lot of work to be done to solve this mystery, the evidence does suggest that we are searching in the right place," Seracini said.

Vasari's painting, "Battle Marciano in Val di Chiana," was painted in 1563 in Florence's Piazzo Vecchio when the Hall of the 1500s was being remodeled. Vasari painted several frescoes there and the Da Vinci masterpiece was thought to be destroyed, reported Eurovision.

But Seracini, when surveying the hall using laser and radar methods, discovered air gaps behind the fresco and suspected that Vasari built a wall in front of Da Vinci's unfinished masterpiece and painted it over with a fresco in order to preserve it.

Seracini also discovered a telling clue: Vasari included a soldier in the fresco who holds a flag that reads, "He who seeks, finds."

Seracini, who was featured in Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code, obtained permission from the city of Florence to drill holes into Vasari's painting, and also has the backing of renowned art restoration institute Opificio delle Pietre Dure. But a number of art historians and experts think his research is bogus.

Tomaso Montanari, a professor at the University of Naples Federico II, has spearheaded a petition signed by more than 100 art historians who oppose the process, including experts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The National Gallery in London. Montanari told ABC News that Seracini's process is not transparent and is based on sensationalism rather than science. "It is just propaganda," he said.

Moreover, Montanari said that the paint beneath Vasari's fresco could be ornamental decoration, or paint used by other artists in Florence during the same time period. And because of Da Vinci's experimental painting technique, it's unlikely that "The Battle of Anghiari" would be preserved for so long.

Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi told reporters they may decide to remove parts of the Vasari work which were restored in the 19th and 20th centuries in order to look behind them.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stolen Degas Painting Returned to France After 37 Years

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Thirty-seven years after a laundress in a white veil disappeared from her home in northwest France, U.S. authorities discovered her at a New York City auction house, and Friday officially returned her to her rightful owners.

The woman in question is not a real person, but the subject of a 6.5-by-8.5 inch painting by French impressionist Edgar Degas that had been heisted from a Normandy art museum in 1973.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators discovered the masterpiece in a Sotheby's catalogue in October. Later, markings on the bank confirmed a link to the Louvre in Paris.

At the French Embassy residence in Washington Friday, U.S. and French officials formally signed documents transferring ownership of the painting.

Although only valued at an estimated $350,000 to $450,000, the work is particularly prized by the French, given the relative paucity of Degas paintings remaining within their national borders, officials said.

The recovery was also hailed as an example of international collaboration to combat the illicit trafficking of high-value cultural property.

Morton said no suspects are in custody in conjunction with the theft and declined to comment on specifics of the ongoing investigation. In the U.S., art thieves and illicit traffickers of cultural property can face up to 20 years in prison if caught and convicted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mona Lisa Mystery: Experts Say Painting Contains Tiny Numbers, Letters

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- Lovers of the famous Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece Mona Lisa have been wondering about the secret behind those sly eyes for hundreds of years, but few, if any, ever thought they could contain an actual code. But that's the latest theory put forth by experts who claimed they have uncovered tiny letters and numbers hidden in the nameless model's pupils.

"To the naked eye, the symbols are not visible but with a magnifying glass, they can clearly be seen," Silvano Vinceti of Italy's National Committee for Cultural Heritage, told Britain's Guardian newspaper.

In the left eye is a tiny L and V which Vinceti said could simply be a secret initial signature by Leonardo da Vinci. It's the right eye, however, that leave experts and conspiracy theorists scratching their heads.

"It is very difficult to make them out clearly, but they appear to be the letters CE, or it could be the letter B," Vinceti said. Vinceti also said the number 72, or possibly and L and the number 2, are also visible in arch of the bridge that is seen in the background of the painting.

Among the theories as to what the message could be in the symbols, Vinceti said it's possible they could reveal the painting's model, one of the art world's greatest mysteries.

Vinceti is among a team of historians determined to discover the truth about the Mona Lisa, even if it means exhuming da Vinci's body. One popular theory holds that the model for the painting is actually da Vinci himself. Skull measurements could help experts determine exactly how similar the model and da Vinci may have looked.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio