Thursday, May 18, 2006

Less is often More

For all you art aficionados out there, I'd like to recommend a great website to visit-- askart.com. It's a very informative site dedicated to American artists. That's why when I visited the “record prices per square inch” page I was a little surprised. Where’s Picasso? Where are the impressionists? Where are the realists? Da Vinci?? Oh yes, this is about American artists. Are they important enough to have their own website?

Then I was embarrassed to say I didn’t recognize the top contender at a whopping $382, 390 per square inch was artist John Ramage. Followed not too closely behind at $39,792 was Jasper Johns, now there is an artist I know. It would probably benefit you to be more of an historian than an art critic to understand why Ramage is so high on the per-square-inch-scale.

The Dublin-born Irishman went to work in New York City as a goldsmith and miniature painter. According to askart.com the highest auction price of his work, a portrait of George Washington, only 2.12” tall by 1.50” wide was auctioned off on January 19, 2001, explaining perhaps the huge gap between him and Johns.

Now we’re talking trivia here, but it is part of the American culture to idolize others before we recognize our own when it comes to art, and many other things for that matter. It’s part of our heritage, being such a young country, we still have that cultural hangover that we have some catching up to do.

One of our artists that does really nice work in a small format is George Wittenberg with his Postcard Art, which features his watercolor versions of places he visits including some unususal and beautiful postal stamps that carry an intrinsic value in the image. His paintings tend to be a smaller scale, ususally 6x9 inches. This smaller scale was founded in the fact that George actually mails the art before selling it, so any travel bruises and canceled stamp marks become part of the art. Very intriguing concept in my mind.


Corbusier Villa, Stairwell - George Wittenberg


George is featured on askart.com. Another neat thing you can do is go to askart.com and give them information about your favorite artist, or you can sign up for email alerts about your favoite artists. Don’t you just love the information age?

TIP OF THE DAY FOR TOTALLY “OUTSIDE” THE VISUAL ARTS: My very hip daughter gave me a Talk Demonic CD for Mother’s Day. It is so beautiful to listen to that I’m afraid I’m going to wear out the plastic disc it came on. While their name suggests a punk rock group, Talk Demonic’s music is exhilarating. I went to their website, and it was so hip I couldn’t figure out how to get information from it. In the not so distant future, Buyoutsidethebox.com will make available independent music for you to buy.


(c) 2006 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved

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