Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Sad Aspect Of Art-Unrecognized Graphic Artist Genius

Reading art history is often one of the most depressing pastimes. So many artists, whose works now command tens of millions of dollars at auction and are prized museum pieces died in penury.

The Fauvists,Van gogh, Modigliani, the Impressionists and so many others through history were ridiculed, mocked, derided, died poor, didn't sell a single painting, and died not knowing that later generations would venerate their work-it is all so sad and depressing.

This applies to writers too of course but because painting is a visual art there seems,to me at least,something more poignant about the starving artists than the starving writer or poet in their respective garrets.

To me this poignancy extends from the greats even to the not so great and all the way down to the graphic artist whose work ,except perhaps for Toulouse-Lautrec has been undervalued. This came to mind as I was looking at a web site of "Cinderella stamps". These are faux postage stamps which were popular especially in the 1920-1930's and were basically advertisements, which were placed on envelopes alongside genuine postage stamps.

City corporations created them to advertize safety matters like safe driving at railway crossing ( a particularly brilliant example is illustrated below) and local festivals etc. In the latter case I was struck by the advertizement for a "Summer Carnival" of 1923, created for the Auckland New Zealand City Council as illustrated below.

This is not museum piece masterpiece, except perhaps, as part of a collection of graphic artist posters from the 1920's, but it has a delightful period piece charm with its bright colors and Art Deco lettering style. There is a constant flow of movement throughout, especially with the curve of layered, large and small, colored dots at the bottom of the work and the blending and flow of arms to held hands and the curve of the legs to feet.

But again, finding such a delightful work carries with it a touch of sadness-all that  remains of this obscure items creator in the public mind, found by chance, is the artists initial "S". He or she remains anonymous and, if it wasn't for the internet, would have been totally unknown, but is now, through this blog, visible throughout the world for those who are interested in such things. 

This of course brings an even greater poignancy as "S" would never know of this small recognition. A contradiction-depressing and exhilaration at the same time-art is a many splendored and puzzling thing.

There are some other "Cinderella" items of interest graphics wise at this link

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