Welcome to Mini Masters

  • Museums Begin to Change “No Photography” Policies

    A common question among museum-goers is “why can’t people take flash photographs in museums?” The answer is usually something along the lines of how it can cause significant damage to works of art, especially when it happens often.

    There are two sides to the coin. On one side, it would be ignorant to completely disregard the fact that light does nothing to paintings. On the other side, although that statement has been repeated multiple times, in many ways, it doesn’t make it entirely true.

    To be technical, flash produces both light and heat which can trigger a variety of chemical reactions. For example, exposure to light and heat causes the cellulose in paper to break down and damage many pigments. If you’ve ever left a photograph in a sunny window for a few weeks or months you probably noticed a difference in its appearance.

    Exposure to light can degrade many works of art, but the idea that light from photoflash is more harmful was debunked in a year-long study at the National Gallery, which was published in their Technical Bulletin in 1995. Sensitive works of art were displayed in galleries where light levels are reduced. In those galleries, it was shown that one minute of gallery lighting is equal to 50 typical photographic flashes.

    Informed curators no longer believe flash is a threat to works of art. Although it’s agreed that flash is irritating to other gallery visitors. There are always going to be curators that seek to control photography, regardless of flash or not, by claiming copyright rules; yet, they vary greatly from one country to another and are very difficult to interpret in law.

    Some museums ban all photography because of copyright concerns, or by request of an artist or the owner of a loaner collection. Snapping photos under those conditions could result in being asked to leave the premises.

    Many institutions are now revising their policies. Museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Getty Museum all allow photography in some or all of their permanent collection spaces.

    Many directors of museums agree that they’re fighting an uphill battle if they restrict photography. The director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Nina Simon, said “even in the most locked-down spaces, people will take pictures and you’ll still find a million of these images online. So why not support it in an open way that’s constructive and embrace the public?"

    Enforcing no-photography policies can turn out to be counter-intuitive. Today’s technology forces guards to end up spending too much time focusing on someone holding a smart phone or device, leaving a window open for someone to get away with touching art. Museums want to make the most of having guards present, so revising the policy seems most practical.

    Regardless of where you might stand on the issue, at Mini Masters we don’t mind seeing our pieces of art photographed. Our high-quality canvas paintings have every reason to hang along the walls of a museum; although art lovers might need to step a little closer to see a print in its full glory.

    Browse our extensive gallery of artwork to turn your home or office into a personal art gallery. There are a wide range of popular American artists to choose from, with the grand masters of fine art such as Van Gogh and Cézanne joining the gallery soon.

  • Remember Your Trip to the Museum

    In an age where digital photography has become omnipresent thanks to the common smartphone, museums are loosening their strict ‘no photography’ policies. People taking pictures everywhere has become the norm since the availability and access to having digital photography creates a compulsive urge.

    We’ve all watched the scene unravel where a teenage daughter stands by a famous painting as her mother lines up to take a photo, then suddenly a guard interrupts with, “no photos”. The mother promptly apologizes and the two move on to the next exhibit.

    The phenomenon has proven to be a challenge for art museums that have historically always had strict regulations on photography; it has led many institutions to revise their policies more recently. Museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Getty Museum all allow photography in some or all of their permanent collection spaces.

    Many directors of museums agree that they’re fighting an uphill battle if they restrict photography. The director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Nina Simon, said “even in the most locked-down spaces, people will take pictures and you’ll still find a million of these images online. So why not support it in an open way that’s constructive and embrace the public?"

    The practical issue at hand is enforcing no-photo policies since they can be difficult to enforce. Guards can end up spending so much time focusing on someone holding a device that they might not see the person next to them touching the art. As devices get smaller, it gets tougher to manage; thus, museums ask themselves if they’re using their guards appropriately.

    Some of the most famous paintings in the world can be in your very own living room. You won’t need to work about obnoxious tourists flashing photos of precious art when it’s in your own quaint home. Find the best match by browsing our online gallery here.

  • Detroit’s Billion Dollars of Art In Peril

    In early November, a three-and-a-half hour discussion was held to strike a deal to raise millions that would bolster at-risk city pensions and prevent the Detroit Institute of Arts from having to sell its treasures. The leaders of national and local foundations gathered in the Detroit chambers of U.S. Chief District Judge Gerald Rosen. What seemed like a long shot may have paid off.

    The coalition of support for a troubled American city proved to be unprecedented. Rosen announced that nine foundations pledged $330 million that would be used to shore up pension funds so the art in Detroit would not have to be sold. In the bigger picture, it’s a step forward in Detroit’s struggle to restructure $18 billion in municipal debt in bankruptcy court.

    Museum officials proposed expanding statewide exhibitions and educational programs in exchange for state money that would protect the art. Creditors believe the city-owned artwork of the Detroit Institute of Arts is worth “billions of dollars”; they went on to say the appraisal from Christie’s auction house commissioned by the city undervalued the collection.

    According to creditors, Christie’s offering figure of less than $900 million is simply a political cover that will give way to proposing a transfer of the museum to an independent non-profit organization.

    Christie’s offer was an evaluation of only 2,800 works of art at the museum bought with city funds, the majority in the 1920’s, giving them a fair-market value between $454 million and $867 million. The DIA’s whole collection sits at around 66,000 pieces of art making it probably worth at least one billion dollars.

    Mini Masters makes it possible for you to own priceless art in your own home without having to ask the government for a bailout. Check out the online gallery here.

  • Al Parker

    Al Parker created idealized portrayals of women in pictures that have influenced our cultural conception of what it means to be beautiful. His illustrations focused on attractive love interests and housewives who appear delighted by the novelty of suburban family life. This included anything from mothers and daughters enjoying recreational activities, from skiing and swimming together to baking in matching outfits. Sometimes his images featured seductresses and betrayed heroines.

    Known as “The Dean of Illustrators”, Parker was considered a celebrity in his time and counted Norman Rockwell as one of his many admirers. His influence on American post-war culture had a ripple effect on society since his illustrations defined the dreams and desires of a United States on the rebound.

    “Al Parker emerged in the 1930s to establish a vibrant visual vocabulary for a new suburban life so desired in the aftermath of the Depression and World War II,” said Exhibition Curator Stephanie Haboush Plunkett. “More graphic and less detailed than the paintings of the luminary Norman Rockwell, who was a contemporary and an inspiration to him, Parker’s stylish compositions were sought after by editors and art directors for their contemporary look and feel.”

    One of Parker’s greatest skills was his ability to constantly change his style, thematic approach, and media; they were ever-evolving, keeping him one step ahead of his many imitators. He made magazine history by creating illustrations for five fiction articles in the September 1954 issue of Cosmopolitan, each under a pen name in a different artistic style. Parker once said, “Change is a style in itself. Developing an approach and then dropping it in favor of something fresh is a completely calculated move on my part.”

    “The Dean of Illustrators” lived from 1906 to 1985.

  • Adding Mini Masters to New Home Decor

    Are you a new homeowner or recall the first time you walked into a new home? One of the first things you probably noticed walking into a brand new home is that the space is awfully boring; you might’ve said to yourself, “I could use some artwork!” Where does a homeowner start? What should you look for?

    People vary in preferences when it comes to art. Paintings can be anything from landscapes to abstract. The first step is deciding what kind of art is preferred by the homeowner. You might already have an idea of what really catches your eye. If not, browsing the categories in the online gallery at Mini Masters can help catch a glimpse of the many different types of paintings that exist.

    When you’ve got a general idea of what type of painting you enjoy looking at, it will be easier to narrow down the choices of which piece belongs in your new home. Some people say you should buy a piece if it really catches your eye and is meaningful to you, whether or not you know where it would fit within your home. Others may say that when selecting a piece of art, the selection should be made depending on what your home currently consists of.

    Once you get your hands on a Mini Masters painting, you might think you’ll have issues finding the perfect spot for it. There are a few things to consider. For one, Mini Masters’ paintings are not intended to hang on a wall. Each painting comes complete with an easel stand and canopy light that is easily adjustable and removable. Consider spot lighting in a room as the best approach to drawing attention to a Mini Masters painting. Take notice of how it would fit next to a lamp or if a ceiling fan sheds enough light to see the intricate details of a painting.

  • Curate Your Office

    The problem many people find at their workplace is when you might ask yourself where working ends and creativity begins. You might be one of those workers who would like to bring more life to the office. While it can be a challenge to bring in ingenuity without sacrificing productivity at the office, the most effective way to do this is through including office art.

    When it comes to artwork, it’s wise to stick with the objective of producing positive results at work. Chosen art pieces should then point you towards that objective, they shouldn’t be a cause of distraction. Any chosen art shouldn’t be offensive either, consideration for clients visiting is important.

    One feature piece makes all the difference in an office. Themes conducive to relaxing can help visitors distress during the course of the day. If motivation is important to infuse in your employees, a great piece of art can add to an inspirational ambiance. Finding a strong balance between creativity and motivation can be difficult. However, it takes an open mind to exploring the opportunities of choosing artwork that makes it work for you.

    A painting can be a strong addition to your office. Keep in mind that when you decorate, less is more. Mini Masters’ ensembles are not intrusive yet noticeable. Avoid decorating with things that are too personal – photos of a crazy night out will have you daydreaming about happy hour. In contrast, sticking to a nice painting may be the perfect way to add color to your office while giving it a little bit of personality at the same time.

    Interesting in adding a Mini Masters painting to your office? Browse the extensive gallery of paintings to begin the process of creating your very own personal ensemble.

  • Rockwell’s ‘Saying Grace’ Sets Auction Record

    Saying Grace is a classic painting by Norman Rockwell that depicts an old woman and a young boy saying grace in a crowded restaurant as they are observed by other people at the table. Late last year, the original painting sold for $46 million at Sotheby’s auction in New York City. The auction set a new record price for Rockwell’s art, previously set in 2006 by the $15 million sale of Breaking Home Ties. Saying Grace had been expected to sell for between $15 million and $20 million.

    Two other Rockwell paintings were sold alongside Saying Grace: The Gossips and Walking to Church. All three paintings were sold by the descendants of Kenneth J. Stuart, the art director of The Saturday Evening Post. Saying Grace had hung in Stuart’s office at the The Saturday Evening Post; Stuart’s sons could no longer afford the insurance and upkeep of the paintings by the time of 2013 sale.

    Rockwell was originally paid $3,500 ($31,500 in 2014 terms, accounting for inflation) for Saying Grace. In 1955, readers voted the painting as their favorite cover for that year. The piece of art has been on a long term loan at the Norman Rockwell Museum and had been exhibited at twelve other museums in the United States prior to 2013.

    In the background information about the sale, Sotheby’s included this quote from a letter Rockwell wrote to Stuart:

    “The encouragement and freedom you give me in my work shows what a great impresario you are. It is great that your art editor is one hundred per cent for you, and is a real friend. This may sound a bit flowery, but it is completely sincere, and I do want to express my thanks to you.”

    Inspiration for the painting, according to Rockwell, came from a Saturday Evening Post reader who saw a Mennonite family praying in a restaurant. Rockwell decided to use his son as one of the models for the painting. It was said that in his preparations for Saying Grace, Rockwell visited automats and diners in New York and Philadelphia to get the scene right and that his imagery was so vivid, people would say they recognized the diner even though it did not exist. Rockwell used chairs and a table from a diner in Times Square for the photo shoot for the painting; when setting up the scene, he would use his friends and neighbors taking hundreds of photos until he was satisfied. Charcoal and oil sketches were produced before he would paint the final image.

    For decades art critics dismissed Rockwell, despite the impeccable composition of his paintings. Some called his work too saccharine; in 1968 the critic Arthur Danto described it as “a shovelful of stardust”. Ultimately, Rockwell had commercial success and Sotheby’s continually tried to get the business.

    Saying Grace and many other Rockwell paintings are available for sale online at Mini Masters’ gallery. Any choice of painting can be fit to different choices in frame or mat then packaged alongside a complete ensemble including an easel and canopy light. Other iconic Rockwell paintings available through Mini Masters include: Breaking Home Ties, Walking to Church, Freedom of Worship, Chain of Gossip, and Doctor and the Doll. Rockwell’s work has become timeless, capturing ideal day-to-day American life. Mini Masters helps invite the art of Rockwell into any home or office, regardless of space constraints. Browse the extensive online gallery here.

  • Bring Portable Classic Art to the Home or Office

    Imagine your very own living room turned into an exhibition showcasing many of America’s most iconic paintings from the 20th century. With Mini Masters, that all can become a reality. Measuring only 4.75 by 5.50 inches, these artistic ensembles are designed to fit comfortably just about anywhere in a home or even office. The miniature works of art are an economic and delightful solution for decorating any space. Normally these sets were exclusively sold in museum gift shops, but who says owning art is only for the rich and famous art collectors?

    Mini Masters boasts a gallery of paintings featuring celebrated American artists such as Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kinkade. The selection doesn’t stop there, it’s ever-growing. Works by grand masters such as Van Gogh and Cézanne will be available by the end of 2014.

    While it’s easy to go the conventional route by purchasing a gift card or miscellaneous basket, why not step up the creativity by gifting a miniature painting ensemble from Mini Masters? The process of piecing together a Mini Master as a gift is painless and leaves lots of space for variety in choice.

    It all begins by selecting a piece of artwork from the selection of prints. The collections can be browsed based on themes such as hobbies, holidays, landscapes, or modern art — or simply by artist or collection. Once a piece is selected, next is choosing a display. Each display comes with a light, an easel, and a choice of framing and matting. Once that is said and done, there’s the choice of gift wrapping it. The packaging can also act as storage for the paintings so it may be switched out with other Mini Masters paintings or transported easily.

    Each Mini Master set is made up of five parts. The painting itself is reproduced on museum quality watercolor paper or oil canvas. One may choose to order a Mini Master assembly without a painting if they wish to frame it separately.

    The frames come in two designs (Classical and Modern) and two colors each (gold or silver). Each frame has a front and back section that snap together for easily interchangeable art pieces. The frame can be accented by one of two different mats in either dark beige or ivory.

    The artwork sits on an easel that has three legs and stands seven inches high. This is made of hard wood and designed with brass accents and a stabilizing chain. Choices of color include a mahogany stain with brass accents, mahogany with polished nickel accents, or a maple stain with polished nickel accents.

    The LED miniature canopy illuminates the canvas as a nice finishing touch. Powered by three AG replaceable button cell batteries, the canopy easily attaches to the top of the easel and can be angled for optimal illumination. The LED canopy comes in either brass or polished nickel.

    Adding Mini Masters artwork can bring inspiration to an office, a splash of added color in a dining room, or a personal touch in a bedroom or living room. Since they are interchangeable, they can match holiday themes or change with the seasons. These miniature paintings have the capability of making any dull space eye-catching.

    Artwork is a gift that can last a lifetime. Mini Masters make elegant gifts for anyone on the list or even for you. These are works of art that people will want to display for years to come.

  • ‘Saying Grace’ Sells for $46 Million

    Norman Rockwell’s timeless classic, Saying Grace, sold for more than $46 million on December, 4th; the price-tag turned out to be more than double its high pre-sale estimate. The bid-war lasted around nine minutes between two telephone bidders that have not yet been identified. The previous auction record for an American painting was held by Polo Crowd, by George Bellows, which sold for $27.7 million in 1999.

    The auction set a new record for an American painting; it is the latest in a series of record-breaking sales this year which art experts say is fueled by the rich with surplus capital, low interest rates, and confidence in the art market. Francis Bacon’s 1969 triptych, Three Studies of Lucian Freud, was sold for $142.4 million last month to become the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.

    The Norman Rockwell painting that shows an older woman and a young boy praying in a busy restaurant was voted as the favorite cover by readers of The Saturday Evening Post, originally published in 1951.

    It was one of seven works by the American painter in the sale from the family of Kenneth J. Stuart Sr., the art director of The Saturday Evening Post and longtime friend of Rockwell.

    Many find it fitting that the record is now held by Rockwell, who died in 1978 at age 84 and painted countless scenes of everyday American life over the span of over 65 years.

    Saying Grace is available straight from our online store for your own customization and won’t cost $46 million! See the piece or browse the entire gallery of Norman Rockwell’s art here.

  • Thomas Kinkade

    With the holidays rolling through, many art enthusiasts are reminded of the work of Thomas Kinkade. From his iconic painting of the Christmas Cottage to the Spirit of Christmas and Lights of Liberty, the self-titled “Painter of Light” has paintings in an estimated one in every twenty American homes.

    The late Kinkade grew up in the town of Placerville, California, and attended the University of California, Berkeley, and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. His two most notable mentors prior to college were Charles Bell and Glenn Wessels; it was Wessels who encouraged Kinkade to go to Berkeley. The relationship between the two of them became the subject of a film released in 2008 called The Christmas Cottage.

    After graduation, Kinkade spent a summer traveling across the United States with a college friend, James Gurney. The two of them finished their journey in New York and landed a contract with Guptill Publications to create a sketching handbook, The Artist’s Guide to Sketching. The handbook ended up becoming a best-seller two years later which lead to a job creating background art for the animated film Fire and Ice. Not much later, he began selling original paintings in galleries throughout California.

    Kinkade is known for his use of saturated pastel colors. Most of his work is rendered in idealistic American scene painting values, which often portray idyllic and bucolic settings (gardens, streams, stone cottages, Main streets, etc.). Many of the street and snow scenes were inspired by his hometown of Placerville; his works are all omnipresent in the town.

    Artist and Guggenheim Fellow Jeffery Vallance said of Kinkade’s work: “He expresses what he believes and puts that in his art. That is not the trend in the high-art world at the moment, the idea that you can express things spiritually and be taken seriously […] It is always difficult to present serious religious ideas in an art context. That is why I like Kinkade. It is a difficult thing to do.”

Items 1 to 10 of 15 total

per page
  1. 1
  2. 2