Arcana Is Moving!

Books on the Arts Says Adios to Santa Monica!

As of April 1, 2012, ARCANA will be moving to a new Johnston Marklee-Designed space located in the historic Helms Bakery.

New Address:
8675 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, California 90232

Purveyors of fine new, out of print and rare books on photography, art, fashion, design, architecture, and cinema since 1984.  

Lee Kaplan, owner of ARCANA, has impeccable taste for selecting art, architecture, and design books. With so many boutique book stores closing, we are happy that ARCANA is expanding. Go out and support your local book stores (especially this one)!


Just in: Four Richard Pettibone Paintings

Richard Pettibone is an inventive artist who helped establish the conceptual art movement known as “Appropriation”.

While creating Pop-style sculptures with his skills as a miniature enthusiast, Pettibone took on the idea of creating small paintings and sculptures based on the images he saw in art publications such as Art in America.

Artists like Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Johns were already using celebrity photos, comic book illustrations, and the American flag respectively to co-opt or appropriate popular iconography, thus making a statement about what could be used as fine art. Pettibone’s simple appropriation of the other artists’ images was re-enforcing this concept by acknowledging that the paintings themselves had entered pop culture status. (If a soup can was Pop art, a painting of a soup can was Pop art, then a painting of a painting of a soup can was Pop art etc.)

The fact that Pettibone made each small painting exactly the size it was reproduced in the art magazines (sometimes as small as an inch) was a somewhat Duchampian statement of not copying a painting, but copying an image of a painting.

Lot Information:

Richard Pettibone
Roy Lichtenstein. Tex. 1962.
Oil on canvas
Pencil marked verso “#29”
4.5″ x 4.5″
Estimate $40,000 – $60,000
To be offered in May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction 

Richard Pettibone
Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1971
Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas with artist frame
Signed and dated on the frame verso “R. Pettibone ’71”
1.75″ x 1.75″ 
Estimate $7,000 – $9,000
To be offered in May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction  

Richard Pettibone
Roy Lichtenstein. Golf Ball. 1962.
Oil on canvas
11 3/8″ x 10 3/8″ 
Estimate $35,000 – $45,000
To be offered in May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction  

Richard Pettibone
Oil on canvas
Signed verso “Richard Pettibone 1966”
6 1/8″ x  7 1/8″ 
Estimate $10,000 – $12,000
To be offered in May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction  

Just in: Karel Appel Untitled (Cat)


LAMA has just acquired a one-of-a-kind drawing by the Dutch painter, sculptor, and writer Karel Appel (1921-2006).
Along with Danish artist Asger Jorn and Belgian artist Corneille, Appel founded the experimental artist collective known as Cobra, an acronym for Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. Through their exhibitions and periodical of the same name, Dutch modernism was reborn and Appel’s distinctive style began to materialize. His rough, often haunting paintings and lithographs exhibit a color-heavy abstract expressionist perspective on children and animals, reflected by life in postwar Europe. As he broke from the Cobra movement in the early 1950s to join Art Autre – which included Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Sam Francis – he won the Unesco prize at the 1954 Venice Biennale and in the same year, he had his first American exhibition at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. In 1957, he traveled to New York to paint portraits of some of his favorite jazz musicians, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, and Miles Davis. Created in 1960 only three years after his landmark American visit, Untitled (Cat) harnesses the intrinsic impact of primary colors, evoking a primal and chaotic representation of one of his most familiar subjects.

Just this week, over 400 works by Appel were found in the warehouse of a British logistics company. They were lost in transit to the Karel Appel Foundation in 2002. Check out the story here.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

“Karel Appel Biography.” Karel Appel Foundation. Karel Appel Foundation, 2012. Web. Feb. 2012.

Karel Appel
Untitled (Cat)
Colored crayon and graphite on paper
Signed, dated and inscribed lower right
Image: 17.25″ x 23″; Frame:  25″ x 30″

Estimate $12,000 – 15,000
To be included in the May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction

Just in: R.M. Schindler Custom Desk

After constructing the Kings Road House in West Hollywood using redwood and concrete in 1922, Viennese architect Rudolph M. Schindler (1887-1953) continued experimenting with forms and materials throughout Los Angeles, punctuating the hillside neighborhoods with modern design throughout the first half of the century. Designed by Schindler for the Armon House in Los Angeles’ Mount Washington neighborhood, the desk, like the house, is constructed of sanded pine plywood. The single-family dwelling was built towards the tail end of Schindler’s robust career when his architectural style had achieved continuity through exposed wood frames and intricate geometrical designs. Utilitarian and spacious, this desk foreshadows commercial models that have become commonplace in the American home.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

Rudolph M. Schindler
designed for the Armon House 1946
Estimate $30,000 – 50,000
To be offered in the May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction 

Sheine, Judith. “The Architecture of R.M. Schindler King of the Hills.” Art Forum, May 2011. Web. 10 Feb. 2012.

May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction

Save the date for the upcoming May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction!

This auction will include
Modern Fine Art by top-tier 20th
century artists such as:

Andy Warhol
David Hockney
Tom Wesselmann
Robert Rauschenberg
Diane Arbus
Ed Ruscha
Saul Steinberg
Karel Appel
William Wegman
Louise Nevelson
Claes Oldenburg
John Baldessari 

As Los Angeles’ premier auction house for both Modern Art and Design, this auction will also feature a selection of iconic works by California artists, designers, and craftspeople. Due to the attention generated by Pacific Standard Time, important works by California artists have recently surfaced on the market. California highlights include a R.M. Schindler custom desk designed for the Armon House from 1946, a pair of Greta Grossman “Cobra” lamps, and a Richard Neutra prototype table lamp from the family’s collection for sale for the first time.

Peter Loughrey, Director of LAMA:
“People are looking for alternative investments.  At LAMA we offer the satisfaction of owning a beautiful piece of art or design with the investment potential as added value. A buyer of any means will find fresh, original material by important modern and contemporary artists at our auctions.”

The May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction will be held at the LAMA showroom: 16145 Hart St. Van Nuys, CA 91406 and will start at 12 p.m. (PST).
Auction Preview: April 28th – May 5th; open daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Consignments currently accepted through February 17, 2012

David Hockney
John St. Clair Swimming
 c-type print from edition of 80
Estimate $2,500 – 3,500
 To be offered in May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction

Just In: Diane Arbus Topless Dancer

Diane Arbus (1923-1971) pioneered a now widespread black and white photographic technique employing classic 19th century portraiture and human subjects surrounded by their elements. Her photos, startling, blunt, and controversial, often depict the pariahs of society such as transvestites, dwarfs, and nudists. Topless Dancer in Her Dressing Room, San Francisco (1968), taken three years prior to Arbus’ death, exemplifies her ability to capture human subjects at their most pedestrian, whether they’re seated on a park bench or relaxing in a strip club back room after a performance. Equipped with a shoddy mirror, a gnarly coat hanger, and makeshift cooling system, the confining dressing corner is no longer a mystery to the voyeur, yet the topless dancer in her stage finery remains alluringly out of reach.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

Diane Arbus
Topless Dancer in Her Dressing Room, San Francisco
Silver Gelatin print
Image: 14.75″ x 14.75″; Frame: 21.25″ x 17″
Estimate $12,000 – $15,000
To be offered in May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction 

Just In: Andy Warhol Liz

One of Andy Warhol’s first screen prints, Liz is especially important because it marks the beginning of the artist’s fascination with celebrity imagery in his print works. From an edition of approximately 300, this print was created in 1964-65 and was published by Leo Castelli Gallery. This work will be offered in the upcoming May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction.

Andy Warhol
Liz (F/S II 7)
Offset lithograph printed on white paper
Edition of approximately 300
Signed and dated lower right
Publisher: Leo Castelli
Image: 21.75″ x 21.75″
Estimate $25,000 – 35,000