Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Daily Prompt: Art Appreciation

Do you need to agree with an artist's lifestyle or politics to appreciate their art? To spend money on it?

Me in front of Centre Pompidou

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so is art, whether a painting, sculpture or even a building. Many years ago we were in Paris and on the photo I was appreciating the statues by Niki de St. Phalle in the fountain outside the Centre Pompidou (me, the tall one on the right next to the fountain).

Of course it would be very easy to say the way the artist lives his life has nothing to do with his paintings or creations. I was going to write a short piece but then I remembered that Adolf Hitler tried his hand at painting as a young man and even wanted to become an artist. His paintings became valuable, although they had no real artistic value. It was more sensationalism. He was never actually recognised as a great painter, but I must admit his results were better than mine would have been. Would I really like to have an Adolf Hitler painting in my possession, on my walls? No thank you, there I must admit I did not agree with his lifestyle or his politics. I would be ashamed to own one of his paintings.

I am not a great art connoisseur, but I do know what I like: Picasso, Van Gogh, Henri Rousseau, Marc Chagall, René Margritte, Salvador Dali, just to mention a few. You can also add Ferdinand Hodler, Paul Klee, Cuno Amiet, Albert Anker, and Jean Tinguely some Swiss artists. We have an art gallery in the town of Solothurn where I live and they often have art exhibitions.

All the artists I have mentioned are a mixture of lifestyles, politics and appearances, but they were not responsible for harming others. A few of them might have had mental problems, perhaps did not have a serious life style, but their paintings were good. It might be that if they had been different, more establishment friendly and had a perfect life style, their paintings would not have been so good.

Spending money on art means that you have to have the money to spend. You go to a local market and suddenly see the perfect painting and you buy it, at a reasonable price. It might be worthless, or it might be discovered as an original Picasso that had been lost. Buying paintings is not for every man. You cannot eat a painting, drink a painting, or wear it, you hang it on the wall and look at it. I have never been moved enough to actually buy a painting. I would just not trust my taste.


  1. We had an oil painting growing up in the living room. We moved a lot and dad always put it back up. It was a pretty waterfall painting. I always thought it was lively. I never seen him purchase another. Oh except when I was older. He bought pictures of John Wayne the cowboy actor. I wasn't surprised. I've never purchased a painting but have lots of photos. When I went to the museum on the holocaust here a month back, one of the students asked the guide if he'd heard or read a book on hitler. He said no I don't want to. I learned about the English express for children. I forget the name right now. They had a video and one of the guides at our museum was one of those children. They paid €50 and could send one child to England. It must have been hard to pick one of your children.

  2. It surprises me all those well knowns that can suddenly paint so well Most of our paintings on the walls are from Mr. Swiss, but we do have a couple from well known local artists, mostly landscapes. One paint we have is from a friend of ours who is a professional artist (an American married to an Italian). She is quite good