Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Value of History, and Sales

It's been a long time since I skipped an image with a post. But outside of some recent photos of a backyard Cooper's Hawk and a seemingly odd-looking Hairy Woodpecker at Andorra natural area I have no images to show. So we draw a blank.

But apropos of my last post on the 100th anniversary of abstract painting I'm currently rereading David J. Wagner's wonderful book American Wildlife Art. Most readers I think should enjoy it for the beautiful reproductions, but many may not like the amount of writing in it. As I reread it though I realize that the writing is actually the most striking part of it.

The reason for this as with much history is that it helps to put our own seemingly unique world into perspective. It's not often that you find anything new under the sun, the internet and social networking notwithstanding. For me it's fascinating that in the early 1800s there was the same dichotomy between painterliness and versimilitude in art that used wildlife as subject. Certainly in American art today I think it's taken for granted that verisimilitude is primary. I certainly don't think it should be. And it's interesting to see that it wasn't always.

This is just one of many  insights that the author gives into art, nature, nature sports and in particular wildlife art. One of the more surprising topics was Currier and Ives. I had no idea that in the 1800s almost 75% of images in Amercan homes came from them. Their exceptionally cheap prints made it very difficult for wildlife artists. How could they compete in price with the cheap price allowed my mechanical production of wildlife prints estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands per print? This reminds me of the extreme difficulty print journalism has today in the face of the internet. Of course Currier and Ives had to get their subject matter from artists just as online news today is often just a rehash or outright repetition of what a print journalist investigated and published. In either case it shows how culture changes, almost like a flooding river, changing everything in its path.

I enjoy reading history, of wildife art or anything else, because it seems impossible to read it without reflectiong on what it says about current life. Often it says more than all the talking heads in pundit land.

As  far as the sales in the  title I just wanted to let anyone who might be interested that all of my work for sale on etsy, both naturalistic and abstract is 10 % off throughout 2012. I realize that there may be few if any interested readers that are interested in this, especially after the huge sums that some people spend at Christmas. But just in case there are you should  visit the sites in next few days. Type in TENPERCENTOFF in coupon area when checking out. to have the discount applied My  naturalistoc work is at berkeleySU.  Some of my  older abstract work is at OldAndAbstract.

I hope that there's some chance I'll finish that long-lingering heron reduction print before the new  year. If so I'll post it here. If not, Happy New Year to all!

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