Skip to comments.'Hidden' Rockwell sold for £7.9m[$15.4M]
Posted on 12/01/2006 7:58:54 AM PST by FLOutdoorsman
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I used to tell my son when he was younger that I was going to get a chip implanted in him so that if he started to wander too far, he'd feel this irresistible urge to come home lol. He loves to travel, as do I, and it is entirely possible his destiny lies in another, and distant, land. I have come to terms with it; it's much easier to do when they have established themselves, than it is to think about being able to do when they are young and necessarily dependent on you.
Many of Rockwell pieces are an echo of earlier pieces. He was well educated in the classics and much smarter than any of the 'art' critics who disparaged his works.
He would do illustrations that would have themes from earlier classics, right down to the poses of the models. He apparently got a kick out of doing it and the art critics not recognizing it.
By the end of the decade, he was in his seventies, and his skill began to deteriorate. His later paintings are far more impressionistic. This was partly a style decision, and partly (IMHO) as an artist, because his eyesight and hand skills were fading. By the mid-seventies, he was in serious decline, not recognizing many of his friends, but continued to paint until a few months before his death.
During his prime, Rockwell maintained a rigid schedule, usually painting about twelve hours a day. He had a mirror placed over the door to his studio so he could see people who were coming to call, and if he didn't want to see them, he simply didn't answer the door. Rockwell described himself as an illustrator, rather than an artist, and was, as many painters are, very reclusive. The art director of the Saturday Evening Post had one of Rockwell's paintings in his office, and whenever illustrators would pressure the director for more money, he would take their painting and prop it on the wall next to Rockwell's, (he had a credenza set up specifically for this purpose), then stand back and look at the painting, furrowing his eyebrows and stroking his chin. It was an effective way to keep the price down on other artist's work.
I wish you could post the two works together: Rosie the Riveter and Isaiah by Michaelangelo. The parallels are so compellying. You obviously know about them because you mentioned Isaiah in your post but - at least on my screen - the picture of Isaiah didn't come up.
Duane Hanson was very popular with the critics when I was in college, and I always thought his work was a three dimensional rip off of Rockwell, but, in Hanson's work, the people are defeated losers, overwhelmed by life. When one of my art instructors was trying to give me the reasons why Rockwell was overrated, I asked him if Hanson was also overrated. He stated that Hanson was a great artist because he showed people as they really were, not the candy-coated vision of Rockwell. It was a heated discussion, and I think it was the only art course I ever got a "C" in.
BTW, as to Rockwell's shortcomings, please understand that I consider him one of the great American artists. Here's what bothers me about him. Because he frequently worked from photos (he took the photos), his group pictures sometimes have a "collage" look to them. In other words, the characters tend to look like carboard cutouts placed in juxtaposition. He painted individual three dimensional objects brilliantly, but sometimes his perspective would get messed up. In the painting of the man looking at a Jackson Pollock painting, the floor looks like it drops straight down from the wall, and the man looks like he's hovering in the air above it.
Of course, I have never been able to paint half as well as Rockwell, which is why I've been doing photography for the last ten years, and haven't taken up a brush since then. Here's one of my "art" photos.
His early work was really neat - then he found a "niche" and stuck with it. My parents had his sculpture of a phoenix in the front yard for years. It was about 6 feet tall and we kids used to climb on it. It stayed in the yard when they sold the house (it was bedded in umpty-ump feet of concrete) and I don't know what happened to it. The lot was bulldozed for a Monster Mansion, so it went somewhere. Hope they knew it was a Hanson (serve them right if they didn't, philistines.)
Wrt your silly art perfesser, roses are as real as manure piles, and they smell a LOT better!
That is wonderful.
Wow, I think Hanson's sculptures go in the $300,000+ range now. I liked a lot of Hanson's work, and admired his craftsmanship, but the stuff was just too depressing for me.
I have always felt Rockwell's "Southern Justice" was influenced by Goya's "black" paintings.
Two fortunate sons.
The missing Caravaggio was his "The Taking of Christ" (i.e. JC being arrested after the Last Supper), which had been lost for two centuries, known only through contemporary copies and which turned up in 1992 on the wall of a house owned by the Jesuit order in Dublin.
There's an interesting book out on the subject.
I came across a book that discussed the relationship between agressiveness and creativity. The author devoted a chapter to Caravaggio and said that Caravaggio had killed two men.
Rockwell, himself, a really non-egotistical person, called himself an illustrator = but as any of you know who have ever stood in front of one of his paintings, he was a 'fine artist' - In addition, he did some private - non-illustration - paintings that I have never seen printed. They could hang on the wall with the best of the Masters.
(The boy on the running board is one of his sons)
Rockwell was a great artist. An illustrator perhaps, but a great master all the same. Nice thread.
"One 'art' object was a toilet seat within a picture frame."
This reminds me of a photo I took when in Vienna, Austria, about 20 years ago. We were in Sigmund Freud's office, where he practiced his shrinkness, and I had to go to the bathroom. I asked one of the clerks there where it was, went in to take care of business and noticed how old everything in there was (clean, but old). Also very quaint, as bathrooms go. When I went out, I asked the lady if this was the same toilet that Freud himself had used. She said yes, so I went back in, took a picture of the pot and when I got home, I was going to blow the picture up to an 8 by 10, caption it with "Freud Sat Here", frame it, and hang it. I guess I too would have had a "toilet picture", LOL! Unfortunately, I couldn't find the roll of film when I got home (don't know why), so it never got hung. I figure it would have made quite a conversation piece. C'est la vie.
The ones in the "Quinta del Sordo"?
It would be darned funny to have a photo of Freud's john in his john!
Art Renewal Center ping.
THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Lord willing, some day, I will own the original, or at least a reprint.
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