Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I find myself in good company

I'm reading the loveliest of books.  Titled The Man with a Blue Scarf, it's written by Martin Gayford, an art critic, about his experience of sitting for a portrait by British ├╝ber-painter Lucien Freud.  Because it takes dozens, if not hundreds, of hours to do such a thing, there's more than enough for a book.

Freud, who is one of the great ones, says this about paintings with humor ...

"Goya is one of the most mysterious of painters.  For me, his prints and graphic works are enormously more interesting than his paintings [Dog -- this is Goya we're talking about!].  But all his work is filled, as so much great art is, with a sort of jokiness.  You find the same thing in Ingres, in Courbet, in anyone who is marvelous.  Their work is filled with jokes."

I guess it would be unseemly of me to mention the frequent presence of humor in my work.  Particularly the Japanese stuff.  Let's instead focus on this -- my riff on Gustav Courbet's Wounded Man ...

I say this not with the suggestion that it's a humorous painting, but to make sure we're all including me in the same sentence as Courbet.  The original is, of course, this ...

Courbet's original started out as a painting of two people -- my boy Gussie and his girlfriend, snuggling under a tree.  Halfway through the painting they broke up.  She dumped him, apparently.  So he painted his cloak over the image of her and added some blood on his shirt.  Thus the Wounded Man.

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