Artzine online.com 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.
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.