Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Connoisseur

The Connoisseur (1962)

I've written a couple posts in the past about Norman Rockwell; I've always liked the clarity and coolness of his style. This painting was the cover of the January 13, 1962 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Oil on canvas, 37 3/4 x 31 1/2 inches, the image is unabashedly conservative, but a conservatism of a kind that has all but vanished from the contemporary public sphere. The painting both respects and critiques the abstract impressionism of the painting within the painting. It seems to ask whether the artist (apparently Pollock) could ever render an image as "realistic" as the image that contains his painting (Pollock's early work, much of it done for the WPA, would suggest that yes, he could).

Truth be told, I much prefer Pollock. But I also love that sparkling wit in Norman's eye.

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