Saturday, February 12, 2011

Making Modernism

Making Modernism
collection of Dr. Daren Martin

Making Modernism is one of my favorite pictures I've made. I was seriously stepping out into one of my youthful attempts at being a professional artist and arranged a show at the Cock and Bull in Dallas, TX. I share a birthday with Picasso and have always been profoundly affected by my knowledge of our kindred date of births. For the show, I thought I would look to Picasso and emulate his path of development and paint a series that was influenced by his early work.
I had recently read a book called Making Modernism: Picasso and the Creation of the Market for Twentieth Century Art by Michael C. Fitzgerald. It details the business practices of Picasso and his relationships with his art dealers.
In the beginning he had been involved with a consortium of patrons that collected "modern" art and made a public relations spectacle of their collecting. After ten years they hosted an auction and the financial return was exponential. The name of the consortium was "La Peau de l'Ours" referencing La Fontaine's fable "The Bear and the Two Companions" whose moral was "Never sell the skin of the bear before one has killed the beast." I represent the initial vehicle for Picasso's career as the bear on the motorcycle for all of it's sensational qualities.
After the high profile success with La Peau de L'Ours, a German art dealer, Kahnweiler, picked up Picasso and host of other adventurous artists and made a huge success of himself and the artists... BUT with the World Wars across Europe Kahnweiler had leave his business for survival and I represented him here as the fallen boxer.
It was at this time, Picasso transfered his business affairs to Leonce Rosenberg who became the principle dealer of Cubism in Europe at the Galerie de l'Effort Moderne
It was Leonce's older brother, Paul Rosenberg that would eventually put Picasso into the context of the Old Masters, such as Rembrandt. In the painting, I represented the brothers as circus clowns and Paul is the only character painted with a greater amount of realism to represent his fully developed status as a successful art dealer.
The older Rosenberg was an advisor to Alfred J. Barr, Jr. , the first director of the MoMA and champion the introduction of European modernism to the United States. There were alot of lower quality Picasso's sold at this time to the American collectors who wanted in on the swell of mid-century Modern Art interest. I represented the American collecting public as a glazed eye Uncle Sam.
The format of the painting is based on Picasso's Blue period masterpiece "Family of Saltimbanques".

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