The Current Palette: The Art of Giving Art


Art is a timeless gift, often remaining in families for generations and bringing joy and beauty to all who see it.  The holidays are right around the corner and our December gallery auction on Saturday, December 16, offers multiple opportunities for gifting art.

While an amazing present, the buyer should keep a few key points in mind when gifting art.

1) Consider the recipient.

Carefully think about what the recipient likes.  Art is a very personal decision and you will want to put yourself in the recipient’s shoes.  Is their home filled with 19th century pastoral scenes?  If so, they may not love the new Warhol you selected.  Keep in mind it is lovely to expose a loved one to something new, but be cautious not to go too far.

(If they will love a Warhol, they will love Lot 900: Andy Warhol. “Louis Brandeis,” serigraph)

2) Be mindful of the space.

It is always a safer bet to purchase something of a more manageable size for someone else.  Most people can find that perfect spot for a moderately sized piece.  It’s a bit harder to rearrange a room around a work that is 48 x 48.


Here are a few lovely ideas from the December sale:

Lot 903: Jasper Johns. Untitled (tryptych), aquatint








Lot 904: Helen Frankenthaler. Untitled, lithograph








Lot 920: Alexander Calder. “Squash Blossoms,” lithograph








Lot 921: Joan Miro. “Dolphin and Parrot,” lithograph








Lot 928: Salvador Dali. “The Source,” woodblock

3) Create new collectors.

At Alex Cooper, we strive to create new collectors and lovers of art.  The perfect, and often overlooked, demographic for this is the college student or recent graduate.  Not only will the gift of art assist them in decorating their first apartments, but it begins their lifelong journey of living with and loving art.

The following lots are wonderful for the entry-level art collector:


Lot 984: Romare Bearden. “The Lantern,” lithograph








Lot 1003: Peter Max. Psychedelic Flowers, serigraph








1003a: Peter Max. Flowers in a Pot, lithograph

4) Sending art to a loved one.

Art does not have to be given locally, but it is a good idea to keep shipping costs down.  Sending works on paper is a fantastic way to give and send art easily.  It is also a good idea to keep framing in mind and aim for pieces that will fit in ready-made frames to manage costs.  Most frames begin at $100 and can quickly escalate in price.

Lot 972: Jacob Glushakow. Group of loose drawings, can be mailed anywhere and since it is a group lot, can be broken up into gifts for many people.

5) Blow them away.

And then, there is the gift that they will never forget.  The wow that thrills every time they walk into the room.  If you find yourself in this group for gift giving you will not want to miss these show stopping gifts of a lifetime.  Santa would be proud.

Lot 906: Frank Stella, “Shards II,” from Shards, lithograph








Lot 908: Sam Gilliam. “In the Making”, mixed media collage








Lot 910: Robert Rauschenberg. Untitled, offset lithograph








Lot 914: Salvador Dali. ” Planetary…” etching








The December auction is live now, browse the entire collection here.

Kathleen Hamill: Contemporary Art Specialist