Up-&-Coming Artist

Welcoming Artist: Holly Wojahn

by Tamara Hovhannisyan, PhD

A French Afternoon

Collectors & Le Vernissage have had a long lasting relationship with Artist Holly Wojahn.  At the time when we discovered her, almost a decade and a half ago, the relationship needed to be matured and nurtured. After short exposure of her art here in the US, Holly discovered a flourishing market for her paintings in her home in France that generated immediate excitement from the art loving community.

But, as you know, life goes on, things change, people change their taste and acceptance level to see something else.

In Carmel, repeated local sceneries probably exhausted themselves and all of the sudden figurative and thought provoking art started to shine in regional art scene.

Amour Sur Roes

Being new, we had to take Holly’s work from our reserved package to reintroduce her joyous girl like uncontrollable happiness that celebrates life, here and there and everywhere with our Collectors.  Holly is a woman that is a creative citizen of the world.  Her brush commands and travels from Mediterranean Sea shores to shores of the Pacific.


Her works are poetic reminders of the innocent unity between man and woman that are treasuring the fruits of their love, forming happy families.

Such unity attests to the Biblical wonder that the unit of the two can create the third. The life of the two, merged with love, will continue in the exhausted eternity of the third one.  The over exhausting drive for immortality will somewhat come true but in a blended form.

A Day at The Park

Holly is a beautiful, bubbly, and extra emotional woman, mother, and grandmother, who lives in the border of dream and reality.  Her joyous characters inhabit within that border embodying her vision of reality.

Characters with dreamy eyes, clothing figures in the surface of shores, hiding in charming cafés, staring at each other, kissing each other’s reflection on ceramic coffee mugs, or trying to reach the end of the horizon by trying to hold each other tight in a bicycle ride.

Every single character in her canvas is an entrusted presence in the symphony of existence where colors are bright, life is easy, dreams are endless and happiness is bursting no matter what is going on in real life.

Spring Love

One has an impression that it is not her brush, it is love itself participating in the creative process. 

One can never get old in her world.  There will be forever spring, where the roses are blossoming, coffee is hot, and lovers are young.

Dear Friends and Collectors let us rejoice in Holly’s universe.


Artist of Editor’s Choice

Prof. Gagik Vardanyan

by Tamara Hovhannisyan, PhD.

Prof. Gagik Vardanyan

Professor Gagik Vardanyan is a man whose extraordinary destiny stretches from ancient Armenia to passionate modern Argentina, as if the combination of the two cultural environments where necessary to completely recognize and appreciate his somewhat complex, deeply philosophical, and poetic creative journey.

One can always wonder how he ended up storing all this brilliant knowledge and understanding of human psyche, its ancient cultural achievements, its victories, and unbearable loses by just simply being an observant eye that immortalizes it all.

A Tale – Oil on Linen

He spent his early years, taking from a brutal environment, the best from a great nation’s historical past of which he is a son of

Prior to closing the door and leaving the country, he rescued the good, the kind, and the forgiving for which his nation was known.

At the time Armenia was bleeding intellectually, economically, and demagogically.  Armenia’s many sons and daughters found refuge in different pockets of the world where some became forgotten names, fruitless trees planted in somebody else’s soil.  But, that is not the case with Mr. Vardanyan.  He welcomed uncontrollable passion screaming emotional instabilities which became foundations in the Latino World that had adopted him, where he is now considered to have an instrumental part of a renaissance.

Sun Flower – Oil on Linen

Apparently quiet, gentle, always a great listener with encyclopedic knowledge about alpha and omega of art history.

Mr. Vardanyan is a precious professional that never strikes to find admiration and respect in the intense audience he deserves.  He is a surrealist that connects the past and the present with a future nobody has ever seen as if his brush is a traveler into waters of infinity.

Fortune has been kind and cruel to Mr. Vardanyan. He learned to be the bird that can fly with just one wing.

Destiny crucified him, brought him down from the cross, turned all the lights off and turned them back on, forcing him, many times, to be reborn from his own ashes.  He took all the misfortunes and loses that he experienced and synthesized them through his philosophical mind, creating a unique story of existence as a traveler of two sides of the world.  He is a wise witness and, the carrier of the strength and fragility of an artistic existence of the person who creates.

It is not easy to be a co-traveler of Mr. Vardanyan’s creative universe. He offers works for mature and sophisticated Collectors who are not afraid of life, who recognize the color of the other side of the so called post existence traveling, journey between existence and none…

As time goes by, fragmentary windows of his unusual creativity are ever changing discoveries, as if artist empties his memory packets from nostalgic burdens of the past to be able to enter in a new existential journey with the innocence of a child, wondering about everything where the spirit of the person has to be free and barefoot.

Gagik Vardanyan

The symbolism that he is using in his art works have a blend of new and old.  The viewer finds faces under the faces, words that have dual meanings, thoughts that are capable to bring unreal to reality, Angels with the eyes of ghosts, and wings with blood veins. There is an obvious new interpretation of a universal disconnect between the Biblical unity of man and woman (one pushes legend away, while the other recreates it by bringing it back in another form).

The classical, powerful training of Mr. Vardanyan does not stop him to travel into the woods of abstraction.   His powerful brush is sending broken characters into an endless transformational journey of the ocean of human imagination.  Mr. Vardanyan, just like powerful names of Surrealism (Salvador Dali, Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, and many others), is not afraid to use his brush to travel into the darkest corners of imagination, portraying the saint and evil in us. All in all, a journey well taken.

Gentleman – Oil on Linen

Professor Vardanyan is an artist that has no fear to swim in the water of all temperatures. Having an excellent command for all technical nuances of drawing and painting, his curious mind took him to challenge with fantastic realism, expressionism, surrealism, cubism, etc.  Saying that, he has excellent group of works that can be categorized under those movements letting the observant professional conclude that Mr. Vardanyan is a man of universal talent. He brings together all the best from anything his predecessors challenged and achieved. He creatively stands in a platform that is nothing but a blend of it all.

Dear Friends and Collectors be adventurous and somewhat a risk taker in collecting, after all human beings are wonders of the universe…  Stop searching all the time for something sweet in the fields of boring reality to find your fragment of the unusual.  Let us hand on hand travel into the creative universe of Gagik Vardanyan.  Surprising wonders are waiting there for all of us.

Collecting art is a journey in which we have to trust and learn from each other.  Let’s see what is out there.

Editor’s Note – Issue 2

Dear Friends and Collectors:

The Challenges in the Journey of art have continued and have made it very difficult to stay more frequently in touch with you.  For that, we sincerely apologize.

However, we remain committed to sharing our hard-earned knowledge of twenty plus years in the world of art collecting.

Welcome to the second issue of The Art of Collecting.

Tamara Hovhannisyan, PhD

Interview of Prof. Cristian Korn

Artist Interview – Professor Cristian Korn

The following interview was done between artist Cristian Korn and Collectors & Le Vernissage Gallery Owner, Doctor Tamara Hovhannisyan.  This interview was a follow up to the artist’s successful reception and recent visit to the US.


Tamara:  Why do you paint?

Professor KornWell, painting is a means of expression and looking for that expression fulfills oneself through painting.  Possibly, I can paint better than I can express via other mediums and the feedback of people confirm it.  I don’t paint for routine.  I don’t like routine.  I am not a “routinary” being and my painting is not a habit.  It needs pauses.  I need to enrich my life by surrounding myself with people and nature.

Tamara:   In time of personal crisis, if you have had them, of course, you are a human being, you have had them, what plays the biggest roll in your life? Faith? Creativity? The people you love?  What is the roll of creativity during difficult times?

Professor Korn:   The processes of crisis within me are different.  Sometimes it has brought me to a stop. I was born in Argentina, my mother is Argentinian and my father is German.  A crisis I remember, of course, was transplanting from country to country, from Argentina where I was born, to Italy and finally settling in Germany, my Father’s home land.  It is not easy adapting to people and culture.  A second crisis I remember was the birth of my first child.  It was like a male pregnancy until one day, as if the baby had been delivered, I painted an open road.

Another crisis was my father’s death.  During that time I drew, from memory, a lot of portraits of my father, but, I soon realized that I was not drawing my father, I was drawing my pain.

Cristian Korn – Free Birds – Oil on Linen 79”x39”

Tamara:   What is in your emotional baggage as a person of two lives, Argentina and Germany?  What are the creative offerings that you brought from one side to the other? Was it the color and passion of the Latin world brought to warm up the coldness of the west? What was helpful to adapt?

Professor Korn:   As a person of two cultures I find imagination that has two pages. In my personal baggage I carried two things.  One, I had a formation and an interest to study color.  Color is elementary, especially in my paintings.  I also had an excellent formation in classical drawing.  I always considered myself a good drawer.  The classical school of drawing in Argentina gave me a traditional vision and it also made me open to borders. This is the second thing I brought with me, the vision that, if I like it, things could be done in different ways.  It is not a country that does not only see within itself.  It has had many immigrants and those immigrants have brought their own cultural baggage.  The culture lives in different ways and this helped me to open horizons.  When I arrived to Europe I was convinced that painting was full of emotions and that good music touches me but, a good painting reaches my inner being much easier.

Tamara:  Is your creativity accompanied with melody or vision?

Professor Korn:  Before I believed I could not live without music. I have painted a lot listening to music, especially Johann Sebastien Bach and next to some modern interpretations, but, right now I have to get away from music.  It makes me go into a specific route in which it wants me to go, but, I want to go my own way.  I do have ideas but in most paintings I do not know how they will turn out.

Tamara:  Professor Korn, in your paintings you break views and separate them with colors, yet there is inner harmony in the vision.  Is this separation of vision and ideas or is it decorating or accessorizing your vision? When do you consider a painting to be a success? Is your work a photographic transformation of the thought, or do you adorn your expression with your educated technique?

Professor Korn:       Hardly do my paintings have a vision of what they would look like once I start them.  The point is to start.  There are forms that exist and begin to be organized, and I am coming closer to an idea as I do it.  This means that the painting takes shape as I do it.  But I am interested of a reality different of what reality offers.  I don’t like a superficial reality of what is commonly being offered.  With those breaks, accents of colors, I am giving a different dynamic to my works, and I am very interested on the dynamic of the work.  I am interested that the painting comes up to a specific level.  Sometimes I feel I become an observer of the painting I am creating.  I need lots of pauses and I ignore the time as I feel I have no understanding of time.  But I do have an understanding that my work is the result of multiple experiences.

Professor Cristian Korn with Mr. and Mrs. Welsh on Artist’s reception night. Painting “Study from San Remo”, now on Mr. and Mrs. Welsh private collection.

A Collector, whom I consider a close friend, Mr. Welsh, asked me, how long did the painting take? I do not know, I answered, but, I identify with a phrase expressed by Van Gogh:  “I finished a painting in 3.5 hours, but it took me 37 years of my life to complete it”.

Tamara:            How deeply are you connected, and some of the Artists have unhealthy connections with their art work, as they are not parting from them too easily.  Some worry as to whom will have it, and then there is a third group of Artists which does not care and see the art work as another finished piece.  Which category do you have yourself?

Professor Korn:     From the first category I am not sure.  The painting which I am not interested on offering I keep it as it becomes a source of ideas for something else.  I call them mother paintings as they give birth to other paintings.  Sometimes they are too small and there is no commercial interest for them.

Maybe I am more of the second category.  I like to make sure the painting goes to a good hand.  Therefore in this particular exhibition I am very happy that the persons who have acquired them show happiness and see a piece of art where they can reflect themselves.  It keeps me in tune with them as a person.  I do care much and frequently wonder what happened to some of my works, who has them?  Have they changed hands? I like to know that on the other side of the art there is someone else and then I think there is an emotional communicationwith that person.

Tamara:            What is art for you? A friend, a lover, an enemy or all of them together?

Professor Korn:     Art is a way of communication, and a very spiritual way, where I condense sensations to create or find a vocabulary I have not had.  I am a passive admirer, love music and literature.  I admire them but I am not a musician nor a poet.  There is something I learned from Matisse that painting is an instrument for the improvement of the environment. A work of art is among other things and above all, a sum of ideas, it is from the surge of those ideas that you have political regimes prohibiting the pursuit of art.

Returning to Matisse, he said that whoever sees a painting should be able to drop the tiredness or negativity that occupies him.  The viewer should allow to be taken away in a path of wellness and relaxation proposed by the artist perhaps to comfort her mood.

It is a somewhat Aristotelian concept of uniting artistic truth to good, and I find it wonderful that we have that possibility.

Homage to Giacometti – Oil on Canvas 39”x39”

I have an interest that my paintings have an easy read, more transparency, twisted lines, scrapings, and lines removed such that each reading causes the person to discover something new.  I also have an interest that those who sell my paintings have an interest on working with a genuine and human touch, this way the person who buys the piece takes it happily.
I am interested in the thought that makes the artwork a sum of ideas and generate an aesthetic fact similar to the contemplation of nature and humble but steadily reinforce the viewer in moments of     spiritual weakness or tiredness leaving an imprint of a positive feeling.

Tamara:            What are you searching for?

Professor Korn:   I am searching for ways to express an idea, to find the right vocabulary that translates emotions and feelings into a personal language.  In a way I feel myself as an interpreter, only that a common interpreter translates with his knowledge and experience one language to another. The journey of the art I take, translates from one language to another but also creates the vocabulary.  I try to fight and it is indeed a fight to find the vocabulary accordingly.  Since my art is not constant or linear…meaning a figurative work into a figurative painting, but more, the description or a process in which each painting has a language in itself, and the fight is to create the language for each painting.  This is why I consider my art as individual pieces and not as a series of works.  This is why I am interested on a “plural road”, a road with multiple ways.  For example, a tree, which I like much, there is trunk, and multiple branches.  Each branch is my work.

Tamara:   Many artist consider creativity or inspiration a type of mysticism.  Is there a mysticism in art for you?

Professor Korn:   I do not like the word inspiration because it has been misused and confused.  I think there is a kind of concentration with oneself and from there one takes what one can.  At the same time a link or energetic moment of grace, there is a moment where one defeats time and stops the clock and loses the notion of minutes or seconds.  It is a sum of sensations or a creative power, maybe the force of a book or its written content. I do not wait for inspirational moments.  I work.  I provoke the state by working, researching. “Only love achieves wonders” … the creative process is a severe hard process, heavy with sweat.

In regards to mysticism and inspiration, I leave my sandals outside my studio and go in to work.

Tamara:   What is your relationship with the people who collect your work?

Cristian Korn Art Reception – Collectors Gallery

Professor Korn:   In regards to my relationship with the people who enjoy my work, there is always a sincere “flirtation” and admiration, a very sincere approach with so many people in such a short time.  Many people buy for a financial investment. I feel oblivious to the financial part. What interests me is that people who purchase my art feels a closeness to my work and myself.  I am always interested on learning about the person buying.

Editor’s Note:  In our future editions, we will continue our soulful conversations with various Artists with whom we work.  In our humble opinion, this is the best part of our journey in publishing: discovering unedited magic of art and creativity that will always be shared with you.

Tamara Hovhannisyan, PhD

Women with Rooster

Woman with Rooster  

Oil on Canvas, Pablo Picasso

Article by Professor Cristian Korn

Note about the article: The following article, written in Spanish by Professor Cristian Korn, was translated into English.  We have intentionally preserved all its linguistic authenticity.  Professor Korn, a multilingual artist, refers to his proficiency in the English language as “primitive” feeling more comfortable writing in Spanish.  Professor Korn will continue to share his art knowledge with our Collectors via this section of our newsletter


“That’s horrible” said the boy in front of Picasso’s “Woman with Rooster” 






He was referring to Woman with Rooster, painting in the permanent collection of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart museum in Germany, a few days ago. Outside there was sun and people were walking unhurriedly and without sorrows.

The painting shows a human being (active element), a defenseless animal lying and a gun (passive elements) in pyramidal composition centered on a space barely suggested. The scene shows tension. This is therefore an imminent sacrifice.

“Woman with Rooster” was painted in February 1938 a few months from the “Guernica” (pictorial allegation of paramount importance in Picasso’s universe and first international guest in the international exhibition of Paris and later for decades in the MOMA in New York until its finally arrival to Spain in 1981).  Picasso would have regretted having died without seeing the painting in his homeland.

Reading a work of art has various aspects of analysis.

In “Woman with Rooster,” biographic, social and plastic elements converge equally. Here are some ways of analyzing the work:

Picasso, during the second half of his thirties, suffers severe emotional conflicts based on his difficult separation from Olga Chochlova.  At the same time was the development of its parallel relationship with Marie-Therese Walter mother of Maia, Picassos’ first daughter, and the emergence of Dora Maar in the artist’s love life.

Three women with unequal characteristics inspire Picasso also unequally:

Olga, of Russian background and a ballet dancer, had suggested for Picasso a neoclassical search.

Marie-Thérèse whose Nordic appearance, extremely young and lover of sports, would inspire elegant rounded shapes and rhythms.

Dora, finally, of Yugoslavian origin, an artist herself, known in the group of the Surrealists for her collages and photographs, was introduced to Picasso in 1936, the first year of the gruesome Spanish civil war.

From a historical perspective, today we see that the Spanish war as a preamble to World War II.  Picasso at the time feels the fratricidal tear of his people as a fierce destruction, effectively fatal.  The cruelty of those years in his country and his personal battles in search of emotional stability generates unprecedented distortions in the treatment of form in his art work

Portrait d’Olga dans un fauteuil (Olga in an Armchair), 1918, Musée Picasso, Paris, France.  Image from

It is under these pressures that beautiful Dora’s face will be subjected to extreme deformations, viscerally uncomfortable contrasts and distortions of egregious size.  These transformations reflect on Picasso’s internal and external passionate experiences lived of personal, emotional nature and, the individual, collective social tear, which reveal characters in roles and situations as open wounds.

In the painting “Women with Rooster,” we hesitate to say if the main character is truly a woman, especially recognizing the proximity of the face to a Picasso self-portrait of 1937. But it is clear that it should be a woman to liken the situation to a typical Michelangelo’s “Pieta”, in the Vatican collection, with his painful passion.

The rooster, which in the past has been a symbol of courage and beauty, and, a subject of numerous studies in the graphic work of Picasso of those years, comes with claws effectively strung and wings brutally handcuffed, a prisoner unable to escape.

Dirty and reddish soil announces blood and the character seems to raise her right hand, barely sketched, showing an empty glass.

Picasso accompanies the scene with different treatment in the oils, showing changes in strategy. There are ideas, frustration and struggle.

The Figure used to show more blue and more dress where now the stunned, writhing rooster foresees his fate. The background was completely repainted with masses of white where the blows of the spatula create a wall of tactile relief isolating all.  We can also see scratches created with the paint brush. The black, severe, pathetical line encloses the figures. The formal resolution of the work, with the specific exception of color treatment is quite similar to that of the Guernica, the inhuman bombing in the Bascan City still remains fresh in memory.

Surely the boy’s comment of the painting was correct.

Professor Cristian Korn

Rules of The Golden Triangle

Rules of The Golden Triangle

In past monthly newsletters, we have made reference of our concept of The Golden Triangle.  We will develop it in more detail throughout the course of future editions of our magazine. Briefly, we believe there are 3 components to art business: Artist, Collector, and Gallery.

          Artists are kind of isolated souls in their dealings with everyday life and its complicated rules that will exhaust them if there is no creative outlet. Creative individuals are the vital members of any society.  They care about everything and everyone. Fortunately, in the case of fine art, there are no language barriers and creative expressive horizons of the Artists are border-less and free.   With their observant eyes, they express their opinions and portray the demands and shortcomings of our time on canvas, bronze or other mediums of expression.

Artists are capable yet silent ambassadors of cultural exchanges heralding what is going on in every corner of the world.  With that said, one has to always remember that true Artists are like children; always in need of protection and nurturing to be able to create.

Artists want to be at a place where they can’t be betrayed nor taken advantage of, so they can freely express themselves. By doing so, Artists can secure elemental means of human existence.  This is where the powerful role of the art dealer comes to the board.

The art dealer adapts the role of a so called managing-protector, with no sharp interference to the creative process. The art dealer gently watches over the Artists’ work ethics, their emotional and financial stability and, consequently, becoming somewhat surrogate parents.

Marie Claude Valat at her Atelier, France.

The gallery and its team, with all its past and present reputation, builds a trusting relationship with Artists and Collectors by examining and negotiating their needs and demands.

Tamara with Art Collectors at Le Vernissage Gallery

From the stand point of modest appetite in profiting and never abandoning their Collectors in times of financial pressures or changes of heart, the galleries have a dominant role of a balancing force to keep the vital energy flowing between the links of The Golden Triangle.

Lastly, Collectors don’t just come and knock on your door to join the trio. But, it is not a secret that presence of Collectors is instrumental for successfully completing the triangle.

Most of the time the Collector is gentle, emotional, financially capable, cultured and an extremely polished professional who is in search of beauty and inspiration for the enrichment of their Universe.

 Sometimes they are well informed followers of the art market nuances and its profit generating offerings. At times, Collectors are young dreamers and beginners that are ready to just start a journey in the noblest pleasure of collecting.

Tamara Hovhannisyan, PhD

Editor’s Note – Issue 1

Dearest Friends and Collectors,

Welcome to the first issue of our new magazine, “The Art of Collecting.”  After being in the art business for 21 years we discovered that we are not here just for the sake of business alone.  It is time for us to share the joy and discoveries of the art business to enlighten our Friends and Collectors.  We humbly admit that we might be debutant swimmers in the ocean of art and its multi-surfaced emotional and aesthetic offerings.  We took the courage to share the fruits of our observations and experience serving art needs of national and international elite, beginners and mature art Collectors.

It was an honor for the team of Collectors and      Le Vernissage Galleries to be at your service all these precious years, and we thank you for that.

The truth is, we might not be perfect in everything, and we are not here to claim discoveries. This is an attempt to share the wealth of experience and the joy that we gather with your irreplaceable loyalty and trust.

The demands of life are very tense.  People have enormous responsibilities that are hunting them day and night and they are looking to find a refuge from them.  Believe us, we do have the remedy.  Years of experience have taught us that art is the only place where our restless minds can find peace and harmony.  So, our dear Friends and Collectors, welcome to The Art of Collecting.  

Publisher’s confession

Have you ever been afraid to start the things you know how to do best? Well, I must be honest with you. I am in that situation.  It seems to me that I was familiar with the Alpha through Omega of the field since I grew up in media craziness. Being the daughter of an editor made me part of the profession, first as a curious kid, and then as a teenage contributor.

Now, in my early sixties, the fear of imperfection is trying to hold me back from trying to bring that experience from one side of the world to the other.

Sometimes our past experiences are becoming the wealth of our presence, and we need to have the courage to use it.

So, I’m not going to give in since I know the reason: it’s the language, my biggest fear of all.  I know I will never be in peace with it, and will always be somewhat the victorious loser. It happens when trying to conquer any new language later in life. On the other hand, I know that my dear Friends and Collectors recognize my penmanship with the character of my imperfections. So, as usual, I am going to be myself: imperfect, and the decision has been made.

Let us share our inspirational first baby with all of you. We open our hearts with no fear of comments, corrections, and opinions that will lead us to the right path while we grow.

This dream will never have been conceived without you.

So, it is our time to give something back to you, our Friends and Collectors for your two decades of loyalty and encouragement.


Always Humbly Yours,

Tamara Hovhannisyan, PhD