The Red Sphinx

Odilon Redon: Born in Bordeaux, France in 1840 and died in Paris in 1916.

Pictured is “The Red Sphinx” circa 1910, oil on canvas, 100cm x 80cm, which is now in a private collection in Switzerland.

The Red Sphinx is typical of Redon’s poetic style which was popular with, and certainly influenced, many of the Surrealists. At the start of the 20th century he was little known, but works like The Red Sphinx and other decorative, colour rich, flower pictures boosted his popularity and he is now a highly sought after artist.

He originally trained as an architect but didn’t really shine in this profession and gradually developed artistically after working in the studio of Brestin, a Bordeaux-based printer.

For about 30 years after 1870, he almost entirely worked in black and white, using materials like charcoal and pencil, as well as producing etchings. He found inspiration in landscape which echoed his mournful ‘black and white’ vision.

He developed a highly stylised symbolic art influenced by philosophy and literature, as well as by Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species‘. In the late 1880s he became one of the leading Symbolists and a few years later began using colourful media including oils and pastels.

Other well known works by Redon include ‘Sita‘ (circa 1893) and ‘Flower clouds‘ (circa 1903 ) – both of these are in the Art Institute of Chicago, USA.

Guest author Tim Hill, is a UK-based art enthusiast.

Gerhard Richter – $34 million art

Despite being one of the richest rock stars in the entire world, the celebrity guitar play Eric Clapton is actually one of the savviest collectors of modern art. Eric, who has already previously had a net worth of an astonishing $200 million, is now more than $30 million richer after a rather competitive auction of various paintings from his personal art collection last year on October 15th 2012. One particular interesting piece of artwork, made by paint Gerhard Richter from Germany, sold more higher than twice the original ideal listing price after a hot bid war between several anonymous wealthy art fans.

Gerhard Richter painting
$34 million artwork by Gerhard Richter

Successfully this piece of artwork actually set a record for the most amount of money ever paid for a piece of artwork by a living artist.

Considered to be one of the greatest guitar players ever if not the best by many rock fans, Eric Clapton actually studied at The Kingston College Of Art in 1961 before leaving to take on music full time. Although pursuing music full time, Eric never lost his appreciation and interest for artwork and began investing in his interest whenever extra money rolled in. Throughout the years he has owned and sold dozens of very high profile paintings that have been valued at millions.

Before the weekend of the auction in October 2012, Sotheby’s which is situated in London reviewed the painting and estimated that Eric Clapton’s pieces, which was a 1994 oil canvas painting by the German artist Gerhard Richter would sell for a massive $14 million. Clapton only purchased the painting for $3.2 million in 2001 therefor selling it for this much would have been pretty something special.

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton, art collector!

As the auction began, a hard five minutes of a bidding war broke out between three art collectors (obviously very wealthy!) Finally when the bidding war ended the winning bid was for $34,190,756. That is actually more than double the original expected price for the sale and is representing a 965% return in money For Eric himself in just ten years. A world record was also set because $34 million is the highest amount of money ever paid for a living artist, which beats the $28 million someone paid for Jasper John’s work called ‘Flag’. Gerald Richter who  is 82 years of age has long been considered to be one of the greatest artists in the world!

Author : Sean Alder Editor Of

Big Art artist update

Helen Halliday has been a Big Art artist for many years. She works with a number of materials and techniques including watercolours, mixed media, large canvases, print making and ceramics. She also runs and manages painting holidays in Cornwall and Dorset. Maggie Banks is a contemporary British artist and enjoys painting Cornish and other British landscapes as well as still life and etchings.

Julian Kirk, founder of Big Art is a well known studio artist and illustrator and has a unique style full of enthusiasm and conviction – to Julian, “art is no longer a option!”

These artists can do bespoke big art works for offices or homes – please call BigArt for details on 0794 1133745 (Monday – Friday, standard UK office hours). The BigArt website is supported by