Jones Fine Art Newsletter
Pollack vs. Wyeth
Collectors, writers and purveyors of American art have long debated the
purest essence of art. Is it a free-wheeling Jackson Pollack drip painting
or a solitary building in a Maine landscape by Andrew Wyeth?
The answer always lies in the eyes of the beholder often enhanced by
the analysis and vision of the writer. How else could Damien Hurst get
$4M for a shark in formaldehyde?
Russian art discussions have recently begun to mirror that American landscape.
While we consider the debate to be great verbal sport, many support their
chosen position with extraordinary vigor.
As contemporary Soviet Social Realism/Impressionism/Official Art gets
more press, more books and more shows; it challenges the supporters of
Soviet non-conformist art.
Those championing the non-conformist art state (my paraphrase), “Learning
technique over self expression waters down the meaning of art.” while
the other side notes (my paraphrase), “The often joyous, sometimes
challenging work, painted while living with the hardships of the communist
regime equates to the most significant artistic discovery of the century.”
Sometimes words are written around what we have in inventory, sometimes
the words come from our experience, and sometimes they come from the
Our marketing background knows that all these words can improve arts
visibility and support arts education and investigation. We applaud The
Museum of Russian Art for taking the debate head on with their show opening
April 20th. Soviet DisUnion – a show of eighty works featuring
both social realist and non-conformist art.
We will continue to support the period we have come to love and understand.
However, if we have a significant lottery win, we could add a nice Kandinsky
to our mix.
We have recently acquired a very good Alexei K. Sokolov of a Spanish
dancer. He painted this work in Paris in 1960. We have also acquired
an excellent work by the Tkachev brothers from the collection of an English
diplomat (diplomats downsize too).
The new issue of Art and Auction has features on both Chinese and Russian
art and how opening up their markets to collectors is changing the international
The Russian article also addresses a question that comes up regularly. “Why
does Russian 19th Century art look much like other European and American
art?” The answer is the Czarina staffed the academies with European
instructors. The flamboyant and irascible artist Whistler studied drawing
at the Imperial Academy of Science in St. Petersburg when his family
lived in Russia.
We think the new Sokolov book is on the water, so we should have it in
May. If you have questions or comments regarding art, please let us know.