Quite often, one picks up a magazine or a newspaper or sees an article on the Net wherein some piece of art has sold for ‘millions and billions’. Although the ordinary individual has a bit of difficulty in comprehending all that money, period, all that money for one item is simply beyond the ken of most of us. And all that money for one item that is similar to a child's scribbles is beyond belief.
As one who has had the privilege, via fine museums, to see many works of art, I can certainly understand the wonderful experience of seeing a painting or a sculpture or a photograph or a drawing that immediately draws one to it, that passes my personal test: would I want to see it every single day if it were in my home? For instance, about fifteen or twenty years ago one of our fine local museums had an exhibit of Monet. Impressionism is a school of art that I am drawn to, and Monet is a particularly fine artist of that school. And there were many Monets in the exhibit, room after room after room. I managed to go to that exhibit about four times, one more time than the rest of my family. And I applied my ‘every-day test’ and there were, I think, about four, perhaps five of the paintings that passed it. Some of them (and this is getting into ‘she’s got a nerve’ territory) I did not care for. It seems that Monet does not, in my opinion, capture sunlight on the sea very well at all. Oh, well, nobody’s perfect.
And there are so many other artists I’ve encountered who pass my test: Van Gogh (some – definitely Starry Night), Manet, Cezanne, John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassan, oh, and speaking of an artist who can capture light on the sea, Winslow Homer. I’ve even appreciated an Andy Warhol or two. How about Grandma Moses? (But absolutely not Thomas Kinkead.)
So it is very curious to me when I see artists such as Hirst or Twombley or David Hockney so highly regarded. So highly paid for. Oh, and those artists who take a canvas and paint it white and call it ‘White on White.’
But the single thing that will forever mark me as an art-illiterate, lacking ‘true’ sophistication, is that, most of all, I prefer a painting’s subject’s eyes and/or mouth and/or body in the traditional places, and I just cannot like Picasso.