First of its kind in Houston

The ultimate sneak preview of the Houston Fine Art Fair: See the not-to-be-missed art first

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News_Fran Kaufman
Photo by Priscilla Dickson
News_Houston Fine Art Fair 2011_Elizabeth Patterson_Sunset_Boulevard_III_Beverly_Hills
News_Houston Fine Art Fair_Willem de Kooning_The Birds
News_Houston Fine Art Fair 2011_Louis Gonzalez-Palma, Portrait 1
News_Houston Fine Art Fair 2011_Eric Heist_Grove
News_Houston Fine Art Fair_Cuban_Wifredo Lam, Standing Woman
News_Houston Fine Art Fair_Cuban_Moral Modulor-Architecture-of-Necessity
Courtesy of Photo courtesy of the artist
News_Fine Art Fair_Carlos Cruz Diez, Physichromie No. 1656
News_Fine Art Fair_Donald Lipski, Dangerous Husband
News_Fine Art Fair_Donald Sultan_Aqua Lantern Flowers
Photo by Tom Dubrock
News_Fine Art Fair_Edward Ruscha, Bliss Bucket
News_Fine Art Fair_Isca Greenfield-Sanders, Old Faithful, 2010
News_Fine Art Fair_Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled
News_Fine Art Fair_William Eggleston, Tallahatche County, Mississippi

Opening this Friday (with a preview Thursday night from 6-9), the Houston Fine Art Fair offers three days of museum-quality art, along with public talks and tours. The first international art fair in Houston -- a city whose collectors make up the nation's third largest art market -- HFAF will present modern and contemporary masterworks from more than 80 major galleries, representing a global cross-section of work in all media.

The Houston Fine Art Fair runs through Sunday at the George R. Brown Convention Center with public talks and special events scheduled throughout the weekend geared toward novice and experienced collectors alike.

At right: Manuel Reyna, El Padre Grenon Frente a La Capilla De Barrio Goal Belgrano, 1976, mixed media on board.

Born in 1912, Manuel Reyna trained as a brick mason in his native Argentina before turning to painting. The powerful silent geometry of his work has earned him a reputation as one of Argentina's leading painters of the last century.

An internationally-recognized modern and contemporary art specialist, Fran Kaufman was hired to direct the Houston Fine Art Fair in January of this year after three successful seasons as director of the palmbeach3 contemporary art fair. Co-founder of the renowned SoHo gallery Rosenberg + Kaufman Fine Art, Kaufman focuses emerging and mid-career artists, curating shows throughout Europe, South America and the United States.

“The galleries participating in the Houston Fine Art Fair have been extremely enthusiastic for the city, its collectors, and its institutions,” Kaufman says. “This is an amazing opportunity to work directly with The Menil and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston -- two world-class museums that both have extraordinary points of view as collectors in their own right.”

Elizabeth Patterson, Sunset Boulevard III, Beverly Hills, 2011, colored pencil and solvent on four-ply bristol vellum. Courtesy of Louis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles.

From her recent rainscapes series, Elizabeth Patterson's colored pencil in vellum work explores the transformational possibilities of light and distance.

"My most recent series," she explains in her artist statement, "was born of my attempts to watch the patterns created by water and nightlight on my windshield during a rainstorm.  A few drops turned into rivulets, blurring my vision.  Then the wipers would completely change the image.

"It was a mesmerizing display of all the elements that stimulate my imagination:  an emotional quality suggested by water, a solitary vantage point for the artist and constantly shifting colors and distances in the landscapes."

Willem de Kooning, The Birds, 1972, oil on newspaper. Courtesy of Vincent Vallarino Fine Art, New York.

When Willem de Kooning relocated from New York City to the Hamptons in 1963, his work -- long-associated with the Abstract Expressionists of the 1950s -- turned to more figurative themes from his more natural surroundings.  Landscapes and figures are fully expressed by 1972 in mature work like The Birds, one of many museum-quality moderist paintings available at the HFAF.

Louis Gonzalez-Palma, Portrait, c.1990s, gold-tone print. Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery, Los Angeles.

Guatemalan photographer Louis Gonzalez-Palma studied architecture and cinematography before turning to photography. Using sepia-tone tints for all his work, Gonzalez-Palma employs symbolism and collage techniques to examine the psychological plight of the Guatemalan Mayan minority.

Eric Heist, Grove, 2010, gouache on paper. Courtesy of Schroeder Romero & Schredder, New York.

While artist Eric Heist is known for his large-scale installations throughout New York City, his goach on paper work will be on view  at the HFAF.  In addition to his artwork, Heist also operates Momenta Art, a charitable artist-run institution in Brooklyn, NY that works to promote emerging and underrepresented artists.

Wifredo Lam, Standing Woman, 1944, gouache on paper laid down on canvas.

Born in Cuba in 1902, Wifredo Lam spent his formative years as a painter in Spain and Paris. Heavily influenced by Surrealism and, later, Cubism, Lam returned to Cuba during the Second World War and began to focus on the Afro-Cuban themes for which his work is most-widely recognized.

On Friday, 3p.m., join the HFAF for “Rising International Importance of Latin American Art,” a public panel discussion on the influential role of historic Latin American movements like Geometric Abstraction on a new generation of artists.

Ernesto Oroza, Moral Modulor #81 (from Architecture of Necessity: 1997-2008), 2008, C-print.

Cuban artist and designer Ernesto Oroza has a background in industrial art that continually surfaces throughout his highly architectural installation work. Oroza received a Guggenhiem Fellowship in 2007 to produce a film and artist's book.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Physichromie No.1656, 2010, pigment chromography, PVC, and aluminum. Courtesy of Sicardi Gallery, Houston.

Franco-Venezuelan Op artist Carlos Cruz-Diez has experimented with pigment, optics and motion for more than five decades. This past summer, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Carlos Cruz-Diez Foundation launched the artist’s first large-scale retrospective, featuring over 150 works from the early 1940s to today.

Donald Lipski, Dangerous Husband, 2006, books and plastic washers. Courtesy of Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston.

Known for his pioneering installation work, American sculptor Donald Lipinski has work in permanent collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

On Friday, HFAF will host a public discussion with Lipinski and NYU visual arts professor, Stephen Rosenberg.

Donald Sultan, Aqua Lantern Flowers, 2010, enamel, tar, and spackle on tile over masonite. Courtesy of Meredith Long & Company, Houston.

Since his debut solo exhibition in 1977, Sultan has risen to prominence throughout the international art world, with work featured in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenhein Museum. Known for massive still-life paintings, Donald Sultan also works with printmaking, sculpting, and with mixed media -- as shown to the right in 2010’s Aqua Lantern Flowers.

On Saturday at 11:30am, HFAF will present an onstage discussion with Sultan and his sister, former Blaffer Gallery director Terry Sultan.

Ed Ruscha, Bliss Bucket, 2010, lithograph. Courtesy of William Shearburn Gallery, St. Louis.

Southern California Cool School icon Ed Ruscha has created his bold word paintings like the 2010 Bliss Bucket lithograph since the mid 1960s, linking his unique work to the Pop Art movement. With pieces present in major museum collections around the world, Ruscha has also produced large-scale commissioned work for San Fransisco’s de Young Museum and London’s Whitechapel Gallery.

Isca Greenfield-Sanders, Old Faithful, 2010, mixed media and oil on canvas diptych. Courtesy of Haunch of Venison, New York.

The work of American artist Isca Greenfield-Sanders draws on a number of figurative painters from the past -- from Goya to Manet to Warhol -- exploring themes of memory and personal history. The daughter of Abstact Expressionist founder Joop Sanders and partner of artist/musician Sebastian Blanck (Black Dice), Greenfield-Sanders has received numerous high-profile reviews in the New Yorker, Vanity Fair and The New York Times.

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled, 1979, solvent transfer and fabric collaged on paper. Courtesy of Echert Gallery, Millerton.

Port Arthur native Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) remains one of the key figures of 20th-century American Art, providing a visual language that bridges 1950s Abstract Expressionism of the New York School and the rise of Pop Art a decade later.  Rauschenberg studied at the famed Black Mountain College before moving to New York to train at the equally-renowned Art Students League, where he met emerging artists Cy Twombly and Knox Martin.

William Eggleston, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, c.1972, dye transfer print. Courtesy of Alejandra von Hartz Gallery, Miami.

Widely regarded as one of the earliest innovators of color photography, William Eggleston has captured the rural South through much of his career, monumentalizing the everyday life of his surroundings. With the support of noted photography scholar John Szarkowski,Eggleston mounted his first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1975, leading to an illustrious career that continues to this day.