Friday, January 29, 2010
Modern madonna of the Mid West
Not everyone will agree with me, but I consider this painting to be among my top three acquisitions since I've been in this business. I wrote in the auction details that "I love how her neutral expression complicates her relationship to the artist; is she mother, lover, wife?" It's interesting how you can decode a painting using nearly the same techniques as decoding a piece of writing. I think my observations are pretty much lost on the Ebay audience, although I'm sure there are some legitimate collectors who care about such details.
Stylistically, my first instinct was "Andrew Wyeth-meets-Alex Katz". Wyeth with his somber and bleak, yet warmly pro-female portraits of Helga, and Alex Katz with his trademark large central figure with mere hints of the outer environment. Oh-did you not know that I spent two semesters as an Art History major? (Just enough knowledge to make me annoying) I'll never regret it.
This painting is really good. It pulls you in and compels you to look. And the closer you are, the better the technique. It does not fall apart upon examination. This chick's for real, yo. From a famous gallery in Kansas City, it traveled with the gallerist here to San Diego. I think it's interesting that she kept it. I think maybe it's her and her lover painted it, and instead of trying to sell it for him she hid it in the back of the gallery or placed an outrageously high price on it, sort of like I'm doing now, to prevent it's sale.
Side note: Andrew Wyeth died earlier this month, along with J.D. Salinger, the great novelist. What an amazing body of work they've left behind.