Monday, August 25, 2014

Why Collect Art?

an early 20th century painting by Yvon Dieulafe
These last two weeks have been filled with travel and family visits. I haven't had a paint brush in my hands since mid August but I have been looking at interesting collections of antiques and paintings belonging to various family members. I've been watching one collection in particular grow steadily over the years. It's an interesting collection of paintings and hand pulled prints spanning a period from the mid 19th century to the present. The styles represented range from Hudson River school realism to impressionism to folk art. The collection interests me precisely because it is so diverse. As an artist, it's easy to sometimes become too focused on styles that are closer to how I paint.
Here's a small sampling of the collection with my apologies for the glare and reflections in the photography.

a gorgeous pastel by Paul R Koeler of Gerome Park in the Bronx. It reminds me of my father's description of one of his childhood homes in the still un-developed Bronx. His house sat alone on a hill faced by a boulder strewn field of fox dens.

The collector told me he chooses pieces based on their quality even if the artist might not be well known, rather than collecting pieces based solely on an artist's reputation. As he explained, even the most recognized artists have pieces that aren't very good, while there's some very good art by lesser known names. His comments made me think of the often repeated advice to artists to only put your best pieces out there.

A typically textured and colorful piece by John Costigan

I envision this collection bringing future viewers as much enjoyment as some of the 20th century personal collections do today. I know the collector fully enjoys the art that he lives with daily. As he said, it makes him smile when he opens his eyes each morning.

a folk art piece by Jack Savitsky who painted throughout the 20th century

an eastern landscape from the 1800's by William Henry Hilliard
an etching from the dust bowl era by Joe Jones

a 19th century piece by Walter Shirlaw

a marine piece with beautiful transparent water

Whose art do you collect and why?

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