Living with Art

Artzine Blog posted 4 Jan. 2010

“You must have some very interesting walls in your home” said a woman at an antique store, many years ago, when I purchased an African mask with carved incisions reminiscent of a face from a Picasso painting from his “Demoiselles d’Avignon” period. What hangs on my walls may or may not be “Interesting” to some, but it is what I choose to live with.

The “Living with” aspect of a work of art is perhaps one of the most important tests, next to the aesthetic, and financial, I use when evaluating a work of art to purchase for myself.

For instance, I could not live with some of the later period works by Picasso. One example of paintings I could not live with, is his paintings from the famous series “Women from Algiers” acquired by Victor Ganz for his collection fresh off the artist’s easel and hung in a windowless room on walls painted a bright carmine red. Yowza!

I couldn’t live with, and had to part with, a large etching by Kaethe Kollwitz. Although I admire the works by this gifted German painter, print maker and sculptor, whose etchings, and woodcuts eloquently portrayed the suffering of victims of poverty, hunger and war– but I just could not bare looking at a dying child in the arms of a helpless mother day-after-day.

This is not to say, however, that I do not admire the strength of these creations, or the importance of these artists in an “art historical” sense. Some of the landmark accomplishments these works represent are invaluable to the development of art and humanity. Nevertheless, the litmus test of “living with it,” to me, is an imperative when evaluating works of art for my collection.

Visionary private collectors, whose collections were guided by audacity, and not just by taste and vision, have historically become the corner stones of many museum collections

( The Ganz collection, with landmark works by Picasso, Jasper Jons, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, was sold at auction in 1997 and not donated to any single museum, en bloc. It was considered the largest private owner sale in history) clearly, though, I am not thinking as an art historian or museum curator when enhancing my collection.

Living with the works of artists I admire means being true to myself. There is no “hidden” reason other than the love of art for my collecting impetus. I don’t collect to impress my family or friends, or to speculate in the art market. I collect because (in a rather romantic, and what may be considered “old fashioned” sense) my spirit is uplifted by the works of artists whose talent I admire. This is not to say that I only admire and collect works of artists whose names are ubiquitous in the art collecting world. I own pieces by unknowns, little known, and emerging artists whose art works enhance my daily life, and I enjoy living with.

The point of this confession-rant is that Works of Art should be more than just mere commodities or luxury goods. Works of Art should uplift our spirit, challenge our perceptions, give us a sense of completeness, make us see new worlds, and most of all, remind us of what makes us human. And yet, it should also be something we want to live with.



About Art Collecting and Investment

Providing news about art collectors, collections and investments. Including the how to's, the why's and the where's of art collecting. Wanda Pepin, Christina Madden and Elaine Frenett are all professional artists who keep up on the world of art, while creating amazing works of art themselves.
This entry was posted in Art. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s