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Million-Dollar Art Not for Sale by Stella, Twombly

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Frank Stella Paintings
A view of Frank Stella's black paintings, at L&M Arts, in the show "Frank Stella: Black, Aluminum, Copper Paintings," through June 2. Source: L&M Arts via Bloomberg

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Luxembourg & Dayan gallery’s four floors are filled with theatrical canvases that amuse and intrigue in the show “Domenico Gnoli: Paintings 1964-1969.”

Gnoli’s large works, realized with acrylic and sand, show bright, hyper-real details of everyday objects such as hairdos, clothes and furniture.

“My themes are derived from current events, from familiar situations, from daily life; because I never actively intervene against the object, I can feel the magic of its presence,” wrote Gnoli (1933-70).

There is magic here in the familiar. Wandering through the show feels like being in a fairy world where everything you encounter, from gray-striped trousers to a red dress collar, is beautifully untouched.

“Due Dormienti” resists recognition up close. It’s only as you move away that a patterned burgundy canvas reveals two sleepers covered by a quilt, their presence marked by leg outlines.

Do visit the “Monster Drawings” on the fourth floor, temporary home to a winged rhino, a snail on a sofa and an owl in a cupboard.

The works aren’t for sale. The most recent painting by the artist sold at auction went for $3.7 million at Christie’s in London last October.

The show is at 64 E. 77th St. through June 30. Information: +1-212-452-4646; http://www.luxembourgdayan.com.

Cy Twombly

The Eykyn Maclean gallery offers 11 pieces by Cy Twombly from the Sonnabend collection.

Created between 1956 and 1975, many of the works haven’t been displayed publicly before and will return to storage after the show, according to the gallery.

One of the first in Europe to acquire Twombly’s works, Ileana Sonnabend “had the eye,” the artist once said. He died last year.

For the rectangular 1956 “Untitled (New York City),” the earliest piece on view, Twombly scribbled on the white-oil-paint background at different levels, before the tint dried, and then with wax crayon and pencil.

In “Untitled” (1975), he used a vivid green for part of his scrawls, along with gray and black.

“Cy Twombly: Works from the Sonnabend Collection” is up through May 19 at 23 E. 67th St. Information: +1-212-772-9425; http://eykynmaclean.com.

Frank Stella

The Twombly works are not for sale. Neither are the Frank Stella paintings in the museum-like show conceived by Robert Mnuchin of L&M Arts. Galleries presenting art that can’t be bought, but might enhance the prestige of the presenter, are getting to be rather fashionable.

With loans from major institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the show presents eight black paintings from 1958-1959, three aluminums from 1960 and five coppers from 1960-1962.

Not fully black, aluminum or copper, the paintings are covered with differently shaped lines, making each one singular. One of the included pieces, the black “Bethlehem’s Hospital,” fetched $4.4 million at Christie’s in New York in May 2003.

A precursor to minimalism, Stella created the works when he was in his 20s, shortly after graduating from Princeton University. The three series were “involved with the problem of establishing a painterly identity -- what it is to be a painter and make paintings -- and with the subjective, emotional responses to that situation,” Stella said, quoted in a catalog essay.

“Frank Stella: Black, Aluminum, Copper Paintings” is at 45 E. 78th St. through June 2. Information: +1-212-861-0020; http://www.lmgallery.com.

Today’s Muse highlights include: Martin Gayford on London art, Ryan Sutton on food.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lili Rosboch in New York erosboch2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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