Fine Art Connoisseur May - June 2016

art magazine for collectors of fine art

United States
Streamline Publishing
$9.04(Incl. tax)
$42.90(Incl. tax)
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min
preserving cuba

Over the centuries, artists have regularly documented how places look before change intervenes. More pro-actively, plein air painters often use their creations to highlight the need to conserve land; a fine example is Southern California’s Portuguese Bend artist colony, which scared off the bulldozers by selling their scenic paintings on behalf of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy. Farther south, many artists have painted the Crystal Cove near Laguna Beach to underscore the necessity of preserving this beauty spot; farther north, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust works with plein airists to record and fundraise. But we can cite cases of failure, too: Ernest Lawson’s early 20th-century scenes of upper Manhattan depict a verdant landscape subsequently obliterated by overdevelopment and highways. A rare opportunity now presents itself in Cuba. When we learned…

3 min
debating the consequences

II devoted my previous Editor’s Note to a critique of the National Gallery of Canada’s recent initiative to “re-create” two of its Van Gogh paintings and one of its Monets and sell these “re-creations” for $4,500 each. I invited our readers to comment, and, boy, did you ever. Many thanks! Two artist readers emphasized the singularity of artworks. The sculptor Mary Taylor wrote that “there is so much emotional value in the uniqueness of individual artists and their creations.... What happens to the awe and visceral response to an original Van Gogh? I cried when I first saw Starry Night in person. What if the curator had come by and said, ‘Oh, that’s not the original’ ... what a deflation.” The painter Dean Larson observed, “Real art is heart-moving in a…

3 min

BIG ears, curvaceous noses, unkempt coifs, and knobby knees are sometimes the details we remember best about political figures, even if we never saw them in person. These traits, more so even than their policies, are what endure in our minds. Such was the case, too, in early 19th-century England, when caricaturists of the day, notably the popular illustrator James Gillray (1756–1815), depicted the facial and bodily features of Napoleon and William Pitt the Younger (twice the nation’s prime minister, including its youngest, at age 24). For Gillray’s 1805 depiction of the ongoing spoils of wars among the continental armies of Napoleon and those of Britain, the artist drew a succulent plum pudding that he shows the two leaders carving eagerly. Gillray’s hand-colored etching The Plumb-pudding in danger is included in…

3 min

The poet Ted Kooser has written about rummaging through Mary Cassatt’s box of pastels “in which a rainbow lay dusty and broken.” And when he describes the sharpshooter poised for duty in one of Winslow Homer’s Civil War paintings, Kooser relates that “Some part of art is the art of waiting.” But despite the fact that this Nebraskan, who served as America’s poet laureate for two consecutive terms, visits his favorite painting every other month or so when he makes the drive to Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum, he has yet to write about it, though there are many references to such structures in his verse. “I always stop at George Ault’s August Night at Russell’s Corners,” he says. “It’s my anchor at the museum. I’ve never written about it, but I…

6 min
three to watch

GREG GANDY (b. 1980) is one of those American artists firmly associated with the place he lives, in the spirit of Andrew Wyeth’s relationship with the Brandywine Valley, Winslow Homer’s with Maine, or Richard Diebenkorn’s with Ocean Park. Though he grew up in central California and pursued his undergraduate studies at California State University, it is San Francisco that has become Gandy’s artistic home. He moved to the City by the Bay in 2003 to earn his M.F.A. at Academy of Art University, and has remained there, chronicling its distinctive streets and sweeping vistas with clarity and dedication. Gandy’s cityscapes, painted in oils on canvas based on the photographs and small studies he makes on location, have become his “way of documenting the city — a place that is so personal…

7 min
lesley giles: around the water's edge

A native of William Shakespeare’s “precious stone set in the silver sea,” the British-born, Maryland-based painter Lesley Giles (b. 1953) has maintained a long-standing afinity for the water. Living on an island imparts a clear awareness of the circumscribing boundary of the seashore — and the furthest point from the sea in Britain is a mere 70 miles. Once at its edge, a person can walk no farther (though she might swim across the channel to France). The daily climate is temperate and wet. The edge is often littered with evidence of humans’ struggle against the elements, and of the irresistible desire to live close to water, despite its risks. An exhibition of Giles’s art, Lesley Giles: Around the Water’s Edge, currently on view at the Hill Center at the Old…