Artist’s Journal: NUMBER 53

“Just because it sells

doesn’t mean it’s good. 

On the other hand,

just because it doesn’t sell

doesn’t mean it’s not great!”

I said that…


…and, it got me to thinking.  Oh, yeah, a bit of frustration, too!  Sure, I’m feeling a bit insecure as well.

In the meantime, I’m still rereading Modern Artists on Art.  The following is an excerpt from the Cubism essay written by Albert Gleizes (1881-1953) and Jean Metzinger (1883-1956) in 1912 and, it was what I needed at this moment in time.

Many consider that decorative considerations should govern the spirit of the new painters.  They cannot see that a decorative work is the antithesis of the picture. A decorative work exists only by virtue of its destination; it is animated only by the relationship existing between it and the given objects.

Essentially dependent, necessarily incomplete, it must in the first place satisfy the mind so as not to distract it from the spectacle which justifies and completes it.  It is an organ.

The true picture, on the other hand, bears its raison d’être within itself.  It can be moved from a church to a drawing-room, from a museum to a study. Essentially independent, necessarily complete, it need not immediately satisfy the mind: on the contrary, it should lead it, little by little, towards the fictitious depths in which the co-ordinative light resides.

It does not harmonize with this or that ensemble; it harmonizes with things in general, with the universe: it is an organism . . .

They go on to say.

If the artist has conceded nothing to common standards, his work will inevitably be unintelligible to those who cannot, with a single beat of their wings, lift themselves to unknown planes. 

If, on the other the contrary, by feebleness or lack of intellectual control, the painter remains enslaved to the forms in common use, his work will delight the crowd – his work?  the crowd’s work – and will sadden the individual.

Among so-called academic painters some may be gifted; but how could we know it?  Their painting is so truthful that it founders in truth, in that negative truth, the mother of morals and everything insipid which, true for many, is false for the individual.

Does this mean that a work of art must necessarily be unintelligible to the majority?  No, it is only a consequence, merely temporary, and by no means a necessity.

 The excerpt from the Cubism, 1912 essay is here.

I need to sell my work to create an income.  Sales equal appreciation.  Appreciation should equate with a want or need.  And, of course, we’re back to square one – sales.  The formula is simple: Paint. Exhibit. Sell. And, repeat.


Posted on: 18/04/2013, by :
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