japonisme: what we remember

02 February 2007

what we remember

michael often speaks about the fact that there are many wonderful artists from the past out there that just aren't known by many people at all today.

i think of his comments frequently as i go through various books, various collections. so many artists that i've never heard of, after studying this area for decades, and of whom only a tiny bit of work remains.

for many, the only work of theirs that is remembered, reprinted, is from Les Maîtres de l'Affiche. because they received a life outside of their lives as posters, they remain.

but i'm grateful that any remain at all. look at her blue eyes. see the whole collection at the nypl.

(the only remaining image i could find by alice r. glenny; the only image i could find by fred hyland; only two from otto fischer.)

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Blogger Florence said...

you're so right. What is generally well known of art often obscures the greater gift of creativity. It's one reason I love to come by here for a visit :)


03 February, 2007 04:08  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i love what you said, but not sure i understand! but yeah, isn't it interesting that the more one studies art (or anything) the less one knows ;^)

04 February, 2007 13:54  
Blogger Michael said...

Hi Lotus, Thanks for the namecheck!

The more I meditate on the subject of artists' long lasting reputations or their sometomes age long obscurity, the less I am able to put forward a theory that satisfactorily explains both.

Sometimes I even think that Dick Cheney's famous remarks about the "Known unknowns and the unknown unknowns" begins to make sense.

The great thing is that increasing exposure on the web brings so many hitherto little known people back into currency, and if we share our discoveries, they can be re-appreciated by new generations.
Some might even be showered with a little new found fame.

My advice? Follow the money and look at the auction sites! They soon let you know who is being appreciated for their intrinsic long term value, irrespective of fashions.

Ars longa, vita brevis.

05 February, 2007 10:21  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

such interesting comments, michael.

i don't know if you know, but i published a literature and arts magazine long ago, and i got to know many writers and artists. and the thing i learned (and i just think of it now) is that those who promote themselves get far better known, better established, than those who do not. it is not the case that quality alone makes some stars shine brighter than others. it's the application of gold dust every morning that does it.

and, oddly, i think, appearance. there just are not as many unattractive poets and painters as there are pretty ones.

but those two things go together. the greater the confidence, the more assertive the drive.

and it must be said that so many of those we know were "characters." they had the personalities that made them known. (like whistler holding a "convention" at ten one night to make a speech to rebut ruskin--and it was well attended!)

08 February, 2007 16:07  

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