History isn’t static, even when it comes to art. Many artists we think of as famous today were unknown in their lifetimes. Even the ones who were quite successful had periods where they slipped back into obscurity.
I remember noticing many artists we read about in my African American Art History and Music classes in college didn’t have Wikipedia articles. That was over ten years ago. I didn’t want to use it as a primary source, of course. It would have been a helpful to have an idea of who I was reading about. Back then, I reformatted a lot of my homework and started or expanded a few articles. The community did a good job of making those additions readable up to some standard. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has teamed up with the Wikimedia Foundation to add over 50 African American Artists to Wikipedia.
We also have the ever changing history of the “master’s” as their paintings continue to resurface and exchange hands for exhobetant prices. Picasso’s painting of his second wife is estimated to be sold at auction for around $150 million.
“Modern man has been in search of a new language of form to satisfy new longings and aspirations – longings for mental appeasement, aspirations to unity, harmony, serenity – an end to his alienation from nature. All these arts of remote times or strange cultures either give or suggest to the modern artist forms which he can adapt to his needs, the elements of a new iconography.”
Herbert Read, English anarchist, poet and literary critic
Germany has been hard at work restoring many paintings seized by the Nazi’s to the heirs of their World War II-age owners. Mattisse’s painting “Woman Sitting in Armchair” will be returned as Germany reached a settlement . Another looted painting by El Greco, “Portrait of a Gentleman” was also returned to the heir’s. Speaking of Nazis, one of Adolf Hitler’s own paintings is also up for auction.
In Romania, a Renoir painting was found in the former prime minister’s safe. A painting that was suspected to be by Claude Monet has been authenticated. Using a special camera, experts were able to uncover Monet’s signature. It’s now the first Monet to be held in Finland.
Take a look at this video where art experts enjoy some prints from Ikea. Ikea has some good stuff, yet even people who are supposed to account for artistic taste won’t always hit the nail on the head.
Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.