Friday, 28 March 2008


May I give you here my very personal and unsolicited opinion about modern arts: exception for movies and literature, I see it as mostly cheap, fast stuff made by con men/women who should thank God not to be obliged to work in an assembly line.

Painting has deteriorated to a kind of decoration but more ugly. In former times, a painter learned his job for years and years and the great ones never stopped learning and developing. Nowadays, a painter is someone who holds a brush in his hands, has some expensive color on the table nearby and busies himself to transfer the stuff on a flat surface.

A painter nowadays is nearly exclusively a person who has scant knowledge of painting techniques and is unable to make a living from it.

Sure, there are some real painters among us. Unfortunately, these people need one or two months at best to finish their job and nobody wants to pay thousands of Dollars or Euros to an unknown artist. If they don't want to die of hunger they have to do something else to make a living.

Last not least, the art of painting has no rules, these days. Nobody knows what is a good painting and what is a bad one.

Thus, painting as an art is dead, stone dead. Later centuries will probably look aghast at our artistic performances.

For those who are not yet tired of reading, what about this story that took place in some years ago in Beaubourg, the Paris museum of modern arts. Upon arrival in the morning (probably around 10 a.m., this is not a factory), the guards discovered to their stupefaction that one of those works of art had changed substantially over night.

If I am not totally wrong this happened to a work from the German artist Joseph Buys. It shows a fully equipped room featuring an unmade bed and various other items, mostly disposed in artistic disorder.

Unfortunately for this world famous artist, the charwoman (also called surface technician over here) newly hired by the museum took herself to the job to clean the room thoroughly.

Well, I imagine the restoration squad of the museum could face the challenge.......

PS to all that: just added a third picture following Anrosh's comment. This drawing from Käte Kollwitz is neither beautiful nor a homage to nature. But it gives emotion, plenty of it. Ms. Kollwitz lost her child in the last war and this drawing shows a mother taken away by the death far too early for her young child.


  1. bonjour! we have a similar problem here. cheap art abounds! i think part of the problem is- everyone wants to be special. in our culture, especially, the artsy lifestyle is en vogue and there are so very many wannabes who learn technique with no real talent- that it has caused the art world to descend into mediocrity (at best). as you say, there are some talented artists out there- but they get overshadowed and squeezed out by folks who think stringing together wire coat hangers into a mobile is high art. but perhaps... i am just a snob? :)

  2. bonjour georg, i was schooled to think the same way - painting requires great years of learning. but life and art is all about breaking the rules. Artists are people who were rarely accepted by their generation.
    i know of a fine artist who was so poor that he had to make his own canvas and paints - i am sure he had his own techniques, human beings create -" necessity is the mother of invention" - there is no right or wrong - there are masters and amateurs - everybody has a place.


  3. Thanks for commenting, both of you.

    To Betmo: I don't think you are a snob. We should all think more about the Arts, it is one of the cornerstone of our civilization.

    To Anrosh: it seems we disagree here. For thousands of years our arts have thrived because there were a few rules: to create beauty, to honor nature and to create emotion.

    About a hundred years ago some thrifty arts gallery sales men looked for ways to increase the production rate of artists, especially painters.

    Today you can say "Mission accomplished", high production rate achieved, those three rules went overboard.

    Today, the definition is this: "an artist is someone who creates a work of art and a work of art is something made by an artist".


  4. Hi Georg,
    Once you wanted to me to tell you about what I know nothing about. Well, This is it!

    All I know about paintings is that they should appeal to me somehow. If it is a pretty lady like the one in the painting you have posted, my task is very simple! But when I have to strain my mind to figure out what the painting is about, I give up, like in the case of the second painting here.

  5. Hallo Vinod,

    You have resumed it very nicely. The first painting is a self-portrait from Madame Vigée-Lebrun.

    I like her very much because in her portaits you see immediately that she appreciated people, I mean she never made a parody of them.


  6. oh Georg
    i am not an expert in painting either
    but i agree with you not just in the matter of painting but in many other arts, i feel, like you, that many arts have been disregarded and are taken now in a very commercial level. I remember during a lecture in school, many years ago in Mexico, a student asked why abstract painters were considered artist, and also remember how the professor took for example Picasso, and the many styles he developed before getting to his maximum "Cubism". the student was surprised to see Picasso's 1st paintings and the realism of them, and ended up saying: oh and I thought he just painted weird...

    i think nowadays artist do skip the hazardous years of training and get to the "weird" styles before mastering a real talent

    and sadly not just in painting, maybe in painting is more notorious but many arts have been reduced, to my taste, to "paper-wall" category, meaning, can be found everywhere

    another example music, i remember when my grandmother set aside on her busy day 1 hour or 2 to seat and enjoy a good record, nowadays young people listen to music on their iPods the whole day! while they walk, while they eat... and what to say about conversations! cell-phones everywhere, no more tables and candles between people but wires and cheap digital devices

    i might sound like an old-fashioned woman, but i think art and entertainment should recover their own time and space... and a painter should be a master indeed again!

    just my humble opinion