Thursday, September 4, 2008


Who is the artist behind this sketch ? Entitled "Spring" and executed in 1908 it is a Crayon on paper measuring 27 3/8 x 18 1/8 in.

Maybe it will help you to know that it is now at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague (Netherlands).

I give you four choices : Edvard Munch, Piet Mondrian, Jan Toorop or Frantisek Kupka.

Answer by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Let say that you are at an auction sale at Sotheby's. Two pictures are offered : one is the Bunch of Asparagus by Edouard Manet and the other is one of Pollock's compositions 1948. Both are offered at $ 1 million. Which one do you bid for ?

Monday, September 1, 2008


"There is no Abstract art." Who said this ? Pablo Picasso himself. And he was serious. He even added :"You must always start with something."

In spite of Picasso's prophecies, Abstract art flourished after WW2 mainly because Communism and Fascism had forbidden it before the war ; it appeared then as the only symbol of freedom and free expression.

Abstract art conquered its independence and longevity on the ashes of Fascism and the stubborn narrowness of mind of the Soviet leaders who had abolished all artists groups and associations in 1932 and established the Union of Soviet Artists.

As soon as 1933 the Jubilee of Soviet Art even included a section "Degenerate Art" showing Russian Futurist, Suprematist and Constructivist works. The Nazis imitated this obnoxious policy in 1937 when they inaugurated the House of German Art in Munich.


Edouard Manet (1832-1883), a French painter, one of the first nineteenth century artists to approach modern-life subjects, was a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism.

His mother, Eugénie-Desirée Fournier, was the goddaughter of the Swedish crown prince, Charles Bernadotte, from whom the current Swedish monarchs are descended. His father, Auguste Manet, was a French judge who expected Édouard to pursue a career in law. His uncle, Charles Fournier, encouraged him to pursue painting and often took young Manet to the Louvre. In 1845, following the advice of his uncle, Manet enrolled in a special course of drawing where he met Antonin Proust, future Minister of Fine Arts, and a subsequent life-long friend.

This painting, a Bunch of Asparagus, was painted in 1880, a few years before his death. It is an oil on canvas measuring 45 x 55 cm and is now propriety of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne (Germany). In 1974 German painter Hans Haacke (1936- ) was invited to contribute a work to an exhibition in the museum. He proposed the display on an easel in a room of the gallery of the Bunch of Asparagus and, on the walls, panels summarizing the social and economic position of the people who owned the picture from the time of its purchase in 1880 by a banker from Manet for 1,000 Francs, to the time of its acquisition by the museum in 1968 for 1,36 million Marks ($ 530,000) through The Friends of the Museum association.

The proposal was accepted by the Curator of the museum but turned down by the organizing team of the exhibition in order to retain the support of the chairman of the Friends of the Museum whose positions on 19 boards were to be listed on a panel.


What is the point of Art if the best one can hope for is its showing and sale in a commercial gallery in New York or Paris ? Art promotion works for a few artists only at a time and chooses them opportunistically -not to say arbitrarily- even if we care.

Even those who benefit from it can doubt art promotion's ethical worth. It encapsulates in a particularly glamorous but ruthless way the efficiency and the stupidity of Capitalism. So the artist if successful becomes the exploiter and if not is reduced to the role he is supposed to denounce, ie the exploited. But in both cases never does he participate to a change of the society at large.

Now you tell me what you think and leave a comment.

NB : Above picture by English artist Alan Davie.