Art quotes

"For the last 20 year period I've been working with ideas conceived as a child." -Red Grooms

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Art Provenance

       Looking at a piece of art that is appealing to us, we may have many thoughts about the history and why it appeals to us. Do we really know the history? Do we dare to ask the question, is it real? In the book Artful Dodgers: Frauds and Foolishness in the Art Market Bernard Ewell, is called into legal situations to help in the process of appraising top dollar art works from around the world.

       When asked how to be certain a work of art has the correct artist attached to the work his safest answer is to ask the artist. Obviously this is not always possible. So the next step is the detective route. The art appraiser has to look carefully at the art itself for style, materials used and craft of the materials. The appraiser studies the provenance, or history of the art piece, which includes previous ownership, galleries and printed references. Sometimes the appraiser’s decision on the authenticity of the work may tell the current owner that the piece of art is not what they had hoped for.

Recent purchase at a flea market.
       I received a recently purchased fine portrait from a flea market for a very low price. Many of the questions ran through my mind as well. I like the painting very much. The figure is well executed and the signature is clearly signed. In pursuit of its history, its creator and yes, possible value, I began my detective work. The painting is not American because the size is metric. It was produced sometime in the last 40 years –the canvas is secured with rusting staples not tacks. I began an online research of this intriguing work.

       You would think the possible masterpiece would be easy to identify but not so. After many hours of online searching, my masterpiece is still speaking only to me from the unknown artist’s brain and hand conveying this moment in the artist’s life and times.

       As we look at the art that we choose to live with us, we are caught up in the rush of the history and art movements taking place in the strange art world. We may wonder what changes are next and who will be remembered to represent that moment in the art timeline.

       And what about the very fine portrait from the flea market? Its provenance and artist are still a mystery. There are only a few guide lines for collecting art.  The one I like best is - if the work speaks to you and you think about it after you first walk away, it’s time to return for the art that will give you comfort on this very curious and interesting life’s journey. 
Third Coast View 30x40 acrylic by Joel F. Ellis

     And Please don't forget, you can buy new original art from an artist you know, check