The Problem of Insecure Rich Guys

 

I used to often pass through the lobby of a large DC office building in which there were always several ridiculous sculptures and other nonsensical 3-D assemblages of stuff.  The “collection” changed fairly often but the style was consistent: Large, garish, silly and/or mildly offensive.

That “art” (and what I knew of the building owner) was consistent with my long-held suspicion that the chief source of funding for the art market in the US is wealthy self-made people from non-elite backgrounds anxious to demonstrate or to achieve membership in high society.  The parasitic class of critics, brokers, and sellers are far more likely to be from upper or upper or middle-class backgrounds and graduates of prestige colleges than are their buyers.  Only someone relying on an “expert” rather than his or her own aesthetic preferences would buy the kinds of garbage “art” that have proliferated in public and private spaces.

Rich people purchasing status certification from “experts” is a harmless waste of money if it means buying a large canvas full of random colors purporting to be high art—or, in the ultimate brazen con, a solid color or even blank canvas.  The less intelligible or inherently pleasing the “art,” the more important the role of the critic (See, The Painted Word by Tom Wolfe.) and the more prestigious the purchase.  But when the status being purchased is no longer by means of art or yachts or mansions but from the endorsement and funding of policies crafted by “experts,” it distorts politics and life and comes at the expense of many other people.

I hesitate to judge or try to psychoanalyze the billionaire CEO of BlackRock Larry Fink. Still, he does seem to be fairly typical of this new trend—a highly successful yet seemingly insecure man who needs to be certified by the elite’s high priesthood (“experts”).  His father owned a shoe store, his mother was an academic.  He went to UCLA, not Stanford or Yale.  He is a very capable financial steward and has been wildly successful at every stage of his career.  He is said to be worth over a billion dollars.  He is woke and a climate change warrior and a staple of gatherings of the new elite.  The seductive delusion of assuming the role of courageous global leadership by abject uniform followership at the direction of “experts” has become almost a pandemic of the wealthy in our time.

The world’s billionaires are trying to find status and meaning by delegating much of their judgment to “experts” who can certify them as pro-science, prescient, or noble and “global leaders.”

It is almost ironic the extent to which leftist social science academics (is “leftist” now a redundant adjective here?) claim that “status anxiety” is what drives non-elite white people into the evil clutches of Donald Trump.  See, for example, this solemn Thomas Edsall piece.  When conservatives gather, it is mostly a pleasant surprise to find kindred spirits rather than an identity-shaping experience.  When the issues are income destruction, school core curriculum based on racial division and sexual perversion, and the pernicious anti-democratic and anti-constitutional encroachment by government (aided by its media allies) that is a far more substantive threat package than mere “status anxiety.”

In stark contrast, the Davos crowd faces no such visceral, tangible threats to life and livelihood.  Their status anxiety really is about status. And they flaunt their dependence on “experts” as if it makes them appear enlightened.

Bill Gates was making COVID policy while having less grasp of the issues than the great majority of us at Ricochet probably because none of us paid Gates-level bucks to “experts” to tell us what to think (and that we were really clever for thinking it).  Leo DiCaprio and the other super-rich climate warriors cannot possibly know how weak the climate models really are or that it makes far more sense to begin to adapt to the coming likely modest gradual change than spend ruinously to fail to prevent it.

The parasitic political and policy class funded by the super-rich have locked their patrons into a death struggle against the normals. The Davos luminaries now see populist revolts as a rejection of their rightful, expert-certified role as Global Leaders.  Billions of dollars worth of misplaced ego is now literally screwing up the politics of the entire world.

The next time you are inclined to laugh at some rich buffoon paying millions for a painting a chimpanzee could replicate or spending vast sums for a preposterously large yacht or a fortune for an absurdly lavish conversion of a medieval castle into a vacation home, remember that he could have spent that money funding activist groups and political manipulators set on destroying your freedoms, our families, global economic growth, opportunity, and normal life. If we could redirect all those private jets to diverse, expensive tropical resorts instead of Davos, think about how much better it would be for everyone on earth.

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  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Old Bathos: Billions of dollars worth of misplaced ego is now literally screwing up the politics of the entire world.

    Exactly so.

    Great post. You perfectly describe the flattery angle of this social phenomenon.

    The only point I would add is that “Idle hands make mischief” is hugely influential in determining this group’s activities too. Far too much time on their hands. It would be so much better if they spent that time helping actual people in concrete ways. It would keep them busy and keep their feet on the ground.

    • #1
  2. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    MarciN (View Comment):
    It would be so much better if they spent that time helping actual people in concrete ways.

    But, you must realize, they think that by funding the great reset, or eco-weenie policy, that they are doing actual concrete things to help The World. 

    I am sure they have dislocated shoulders from slapping themselves so heartily on the back in self-congratulations for their efforts. 

    • #2
  3. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Old Bathos: The parasitic political and policy class funded by the super-rich have locked their patrons into a death struggle against the normals. The Davos luminaries now see populist revolts as a rejection of their rightful, expert-certified role as Global Leaders.  Billions of dollars worth of misplaced ego is now literally screwing up the politics of the entire world.

    Great post. More than the politics. The effects of the politics are affecting all the normals in ways that defeat their lifelong efforts to improve the lives of all humanity, not just the established Elites. Every policy position advanced today by the Democrats in power will reduce the living standard of all  except the richest people who are advocating for these actions whose detrimental effects are well known to them.

    • #3
  4. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    I have day dreamed of having tons of money and what I would do. I’d spend about a year looking at old chateaux in France and castles in Italy for restoration. I’d also look for an art forger (or more than one) who knows how to paint in a Baroque style, put them on salary and have them go to work decorating the walls and ceilings of the chateau or castle. Not with forgeries, but for new stuff.

    I’d love to be painted like Holbein’s Henry VIII. That would be funny. Or even Davide’s Napoleon on horseback. Good fun and taking the mickey, as Brits would say. That is what these ultrarich guys lack -an ability to poke fun at themselves. 

     

     

    • #4
  5. Joseph Eagar Member
    Joseph Eagar
    @JosephEagar

    The high-status art world has always been a joke.  This is why innovative young artists usually go into a commercial mass market field, like comics, animation, illustration, etc.

    • #5
  6. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):
    The high-status art world has always been a joke. This is why innovative young artists usually go into a commercial mass market field, like comics, animation, illustration, etc.

    Maybe not always.  Two or three generations of successful loan-sharks in Florence funded some pretty fantastic works 500 years ago.  There were no dominant critics, either the patron liked it or not.  Modern brokers need critics to establish hierarchies and critics need “art” to be absurdly inaccessible by the masses to preserve their power.  It is telling that there has not yet been the equivalent of the kid noticing the emperor is really nude among the rich.

    • #6
  7. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Hang On (View Comment):

    I have day dreamed of having tons of money and what I would do. I’d spend about a year looking at old chateaux in France and castles in Italy for restoration. I’d also look for an art forger (or more than one) who knows how to paint in a Baroque style, put them on salary and have them go to work decorating the walls and ceilings of the chateau or castle. Not with forgeries, but for new stuff.

    I’d love to be painted like Holbein’s Henry VIII. That would be funny. Or even Davide’s Napoleon on horseback. Good fun and taking the mickey, as Brits would say. That is what these ultrarich guys lack -an ability to poke fun at themselves.

     

     

    Of course you would have to dress like Henry VIII.  It would guarantee that you’d make quite an entrance at social events.  

    • #7
  8. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    I have day dreamed of having tons of money and what I would do. I’d spend about a year looking at old chateaux in France and castles in Italy for restoration. I’d also look for an art forger (or more than one) who knows how to paint in a Baroque style, put them on salary and have them go to work decorating the walls and ceilings of the chateau or castle. Not with forgeries, but for new stuff.

    I’d love to be painted like Holbein’s Henry VIII. That would be funny. Or even Davide’s Napoleon on horseback. Good fun and taking the mickey, as Brits would say. That is what these ultrarich guys lack -an ability to poke fun at themselves.

     

     

    Of course you would have to dress like Henry VIII. It would guarantee that you’d make quite an entrance at social events.

    Old Henry liked his ermine. I have a few relatives who would have jars of paint ready to throw. Its always a risk. 

    • #8
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Old Bathos: leftist social science academics (is “leftist” now a redundant adjective here?)

    The few who are not leftist will understand why you might think the term is redundant and will not hold it against you. 

    • #9
  10. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Old Bathos:

    I used to often pass through the lobby of a large DC office building in which there were always several ridiculous sculptures and other nonsensical 3-D assemblages of stuff. The “collection” changed fairly often but the style was consistent: Large, garish, silly and/or mildly offensive.

    That “art” (and what I knew of the building owner) was consistent with my long-held suspicion that the chief source of funding for the art market in the US is wealthy self-made people from non-elite backgrounds anxious to demonstrate or to achieve membership in high society.

    Bathos, you have hit upon one of the prime absurdities of our modern world!

    For those of you who don’t know, I am an old fashioned professional portrait painter in the tradition of guys like Rembrandt and Holbein (mentioned above).  About 25 years ago one of my customers was formerly the highest paid executive in America who fits perfectly your description of “self-made people from non-elite backgrounds), though I would not presume to say that he was “anxious to demonstrate or to achieve membership in high society.”  He had been in high society for some time already.  I painted separate  portraits of him and several family members.  (I’m going to leave his name out since this is not the most flattering anecdote)

    The head of his massive charitable organization told me that “the executive” had been planning on offering artist Robert Rauchenberg to do his portrait for $100,000.00.  Rauchenberg is a famous artist who doesn’t usually do paintings, per se, unless you want to call something like this a “painting.”

    The head of his charitable organization was just aghast at such a ludicrous idea and I concurred saying something like “what could he have been  thinking?”  Rauchenberg himself might have been totally perplexed by someone asking him to do a portrait.  Who knows what he would have said?

    Meanwhile, the “executive” was showing me transparencies of some of the many French Impressionist paintings he had bought.  Not my favorite movement in art, but “normal” art nonetheless, concerning actual beauty.  And then there is me, painting totally traditional art with no pretensions of doing anything “innovative” or “cutting edge.”  I was scratching my head trying to figure out what his actual taste was in art, but was just appreciative that he had hired me.  Conversely, most of my customers have a fairly well-defined and cohesive area of interest with their taste in art.

    He later suggested that he had a project in mind of hiring an artist like me to paint a series of paintings depicting him making critical historic business deals with people like Ted Turner.  While I love the fact that businessmen make important deals -it’s what drives our economy- I can think of very little subject matter in art that would be more boring than guys in suits making business deals.  But then again, maybe it would be a good challenge!

    • #10
  11. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):

    The high-status art world has always been a joke. This is why innovative young artists usually go into a commercial mass market field, like comics, animation, illustration, etc.

    One of my favorite anecdotes from the book “The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art.”

    A couple was sitting at an important art auction at Sotheby’s in New York.  When the auctioneer slammed down his gavel and said “sold for $1.6 Millon ” the wife giggled and whispered to her husband “Who is the total moron that paid 1.6 Million Dollars for that piece of crap?”  The husband sheepishly admitted “me.” (He had been bidding silently)

    • #11
  12. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Rotting Fish Art Explodes, Causes Fire in London Gallery

    • #12
  13. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Rotting Fish Art Explodes, Causes Fire in London Gallery

    Who knows, that may have been planned as part of the “total art experience.”

    • #13
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    When she was in high school, my daughter was an intern for two summers for our state rep, Ed, who was also the Republican minority leader in Boston. The Cape Cod reps–Democrats and Republicans–all commuted to Boston together, and my daughter went with them. (Of course, they became dear friends, and their small bipartisan commuting coalition was unstoppable by the time they got to the legislature. Too funny. Cape Cod always got whatever it wanted. :-) ) My daughter enjoyed her internship very much, and as a thank-you gift, she reproduced this Norman Rockwell painting (she used oil crayons or perhaps it was called “chalk”–I’ve forgotten):

    Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), "The Stay at Homes (Outward Bound)"

    She was a very talented young artist who doesn’t paint or draw anymore, I’m sorry to say. (She was also a brilliant flutist, and she doesn’t do that anymore either. But she’s probably the greatest mom on the planet, so I’m happy.) At any rate, the artwork meant everything to Ed.

    Ed also had a Saturday morning local radio talk show, and a couple of Saturdays after my daughter had given him this beautiful piece of artwork, I happened to catch his show. I’ll never forget it. He was so emotional on the subject Norman Rockwell’s art. “Why doesn’t the art world take this artist more seriously?” I was probably the only listener who knew why he was so worked up about it that day.

    I’m not crazy about the Impressionists in general, although some of the paintings are really beautiful. I do love Monet’s water lilies series. I prefer Hopper and the Wyeths and some others. And our own Steven Seward. A truly great artist. :-)

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    While I love the fact that businessmen make important deals -it’s what drives our economy- I can think of very little subject matter in art that would be more boring than guys in suits making business deals.  But then again, maybe it would be a good challenge!

    At the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago there is a wall of portraits of “Captains of Industry.”  Or at least there was. The last time I was there may have been as far back as the 90s, so my memory may not be 100 percent accurate.

    It’s good for people to know about industrial entrepreneurs and leaders and the contributions they made.  But “captains?”  Not a one of them was portrayed on the bridge of a ship in a fierce gale or under enemy fire. 

    I once had a supervisor who was a retired army captain — a crusty old character who wore his Pinkerton guard uniform well when he made his inspection rounds. (He seemed old to me, but I was young then.) And the term “captain” may evoke other images, too. 

    But every one the industrial “captains” on this wall was shown in a front facing portrait, wearing a business suit, and not doing anything to excite the imagination. I’ve thought about it many times since, but haven’t come up with a better idea. 

    • #15
  16. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    While I love the fact that businessmen make important deals -it’s what drives our economy- I can think of very little subject matter in art that would be more boring than guys in suits making business deals. But then again, maybe it would be a good challenge!

    At the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago there is a wall of portraits of “Captains of Industry.” Or at least there was. The last time I was there may have been as far back as the 90s, so my memory may not be 100 percent accurate.

    It’s good for people to know about industrial entrepreneurs and leaders and the contributions they made. But “captains?” Not a one of them was portrayed on the bridge of a ship in a fierce gale or under enemy fire.

    I once had a supervisor who was a retired army captain — a crusty old character who wore his Pinkerton guard uniform well when he made his inspection rounds. (He seemed old to me, but I was young then.) And the term “captain” may evoke other images, too.

    But every one the industrial “captains” on this wall was shown in a front facing portrait, wearing a business suit, and not doing anything to excite the imagination. I’ve thought about it many times since, but haven’t come up with a better idea.

    I’ve seen a picture of some guys standing around a desk signing some document.  It’s pretty nice.

    And come to think of it, I’ve seen a picture of some guys sitting around a table having dinner.  It’s a little dry, visually.

    Maybe it’s the context that matters.

    • #16
  17. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    MarciN (View Comment):

    When she was in high school, my daughter was an intern for two summers for our state rep, Ed, who was also the Republican minority leader in Boston. The Cape Cod reps–Democrats and Republicans–all commuted to Boston together, and my daughter went with them. (Of course, they became dear friends, and their small bipartisan commuting coalition was unstoppable by the time they got to the legislature. Too funny. Cape Cod always got whatever it wanted. :-) ) My daughter enjoyed her internship very much, and as a thank-you gift, she reproduced this Norman Rockwell painting (she used oil crayons or perhaps it was called “chalk”–I’ve forgotten):

    Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), "The Stay at Homes (Outward Bound)"

    She was a very talented young artist who doesn’t paint or draw anymore, I’m sorry to say. (She was also a brilliant flutist, and she doesn’t do that anymore either. But she’s probably the greatest mom on the planet, so I’m happy.) At any rate, the artwork meant everything to Ed.

    Kudos to your daughter!

    Ed also had a Saturday morning local radio talk show, and a couple of Saturdays after my daughter had given him this beautiful piece of artwork, I happened to catch his show. I’ll never forget it. He was so emotional on the subject Norman Rockwell’s art. “Why doesn’t the art world take this artist more seriously?” I was probably the only listener who knew why he was so worked up about it that day.

    Just like the mainstream media would have you believe that half the world is gay or trans and loves Socialism, they would also have you believe that modern art is all the rage.  Don’t let that fool you.  In reality, there is only a small minority of people who actually like canvases covered in feces and urine, or worse, and many of those who don’t like that stuff are afraid to say so, for fear of appearing  “uneducated.”  The most popular artists in America have been traditional guys like Maxfield Parrish, Andrew Wyeth, and especially Norman Rockwell. 

    I was just telling somebody yesterday about the time my wife and I drove up to Andrew Wyeth’s house as we were passing through Chadds Ford Pennsylvania more than 15 years ago, but I didn’t have the nerve to go knock on his door uninvited.  Regrets.

     

    • #17
  18. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    While I love the fact that businessmen make important deals -it’s what drives our economy- I can think of very little subject matter in art that would be more boring than guys in suits making business deals. But then again, maybe it would be a good challenge!

    But every one the industrial “captains” on this wall was shown in a front facing portrait, wearing a business suit, and not doing anything to excite the imagination. I’ve thought about it many times since, but haven’t come up with a better idea.

    Here is a “Captain of Industry” that I painted, the head of Tremco Corporation.  No business suit. Not even real shoes.

    That may not be a fair example because it was done for his home, not the office.

    Here’s one done to hang in the corporate board room, but still trying my best not to look too much like a “corporate portrait.”  I wanted to add a wooden duck decoy he had but he said that was getting a little too “unconventional” for the respectable paint company.

    These business guys don’t have to look so dreary as you are used to seeing on company walls.

    • #18
  19. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I’ve seen a picture of some guys standing around a desk signing some document. It’s pretty nice.

    And come to think of it, I’ve seen a picture of some guys sitting around a table having dinner. It’s a little dry, visually.

    Maybe it’s the context that matters.

    Whenever I paint guys in business suits it’s a constant artistic battle  to make the picture look more interesting than the other one billion men in identical looking  dark business suits across the world.  Sometimes a little creative lighting and a few ruffled folds will spice up the otherwise dismal-looking  business uniform.  A Bank President.

    I somehow manged to get myself a free art exhibit on Ricochet, without an agent!  I gotta try this more often.

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Great paintings.  And very nice suit.

    Does this ever happen to you?

    Framed Art Print - "The Cardinal's Portrait"

    • #20
  21. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Great paintings. And very nice suit.

    Does this ever happen to you?

    Framed Art Print - "The Cardinal's Portrait"

    That’s hilarious!  No, I can’t recall that ever happening to me.  I have drawn pictures of people who were actually sleeping, however.

    • #21
  22. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    While I love the fact that businessmen make important deals -it’s what drives our economy- I can think of very little subject matter in art that would be more boring than guys in suits making business deals. But then again, maybe it would be a good challenge!

    But every one the industrial “captains” on this wall was shown in a front facing portrait, wearing a business suit, and not doing anything to excite the imagination. I’ve thought about it many times since, but haven’t come up with a better idea.

    Here is a “Captain of Industry” that I painted, the head of Tremco Corporation. No business suit. Not even real shoes.

    That may not be a fair example because it was done for his home, not the office.

    Here’s one done to hang in the corporate board room, but still trying my best not to look too much like a “corporate portrait.” I wanted to add a wooden duck decoy he had but he said that was getting a little too “unconventional” for the respectable paint company.

    These business guys don’t have to look so dreary as you are used to seeing on company walls.

    Those are good! 

    • #22
  23. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Wonderful stuff!

    • #23
  24. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    The most popular artists in America have been traditional guys like Maxfield Parrish, Andrew Wyeth, and especially Norman Rockwell. 

    I was just telling somebody yesterday about the time my wife and I drove up to Andrew Wyeth’s house as we were passing through Chadds Ford Pennsylvania more than 15 years ago, but I didn’t have the nerve to go knock on his door uninvited.  Regrets.

    Jamie Wyeth is very approachable. My aunt got to know him. 

    • #24
  25. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):
    The high-status art world has always been a joke. This is why innovative young artists usually go into a commercial mass market field, like comics, animation, illustration, etc.

    Maybe not always. Two or three generations of successful loan-sharks in Florence funded some pretty fantastic works 500 years ago. There were no dominant critics, either the patron liked it or not. Modern brokers need critics to establish hierarchies and critics need “art” to be absurdly inaccessible by the masses to preserve their power. It is telling that there has not yet been the equivalent of the kid noticing the emperor is really nude among the rich.

    A couple of years ago for work, I had to have appraised and sent to an art consigner, this portfolio of “art” the company had. They wanted to standardize and have art that was more branded. It was cataloged and valued at $206,000 in 2006 and I had to have it appraised and sold about four years ago – we got $6,000 for it!

    I wondered how many companies balance sheets have lists of these types of “assets. How are portfolios of art  insured or leveraged. The possibilities for fraud was something I really hadn’t considered till seeing an real life example like this. If there was a fire or flood or theft – what would we have got for that before we had everything reappraised? 

    • #25
  26. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    WI Con (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):
    The high-status art world has always been a joke. This is why innovative young artists usually go into a commercial mass market field, like comics, animation, illustration, etc.

    Maybe not always. Two or three generations of successful loan-sharks in Florence funded some pretty fantastic works 500 years ago. There were no dominant critics, either the patron liked it or not. Modern brokers need critics to establish hierarchies and critics need “art” to be absurdly inaccessible by the masses to preserve their power. It is telling that there has not yet been the equivalent of the kid noticing the emperor is really nude among the rich.

    A couple of years ago for work, I had to have appraised and sent to an art consigner, this portfolio of “art” the company had. They wanted to standardize and have art that was more branded. It was cataloged and valued at $206,000 in 2006 and I had to have it appraised and sold about four years ago – we got $6,000 for it!

    I wondered how many companies balance sheets have lists of these types of “assets. How are portfolios of art insured or leveraged. The possibilities for fraud was something I really hadn’t considered till seeing an real life example like this. If there was a fire or flood or theft – what would we have got for that before we had everything reappraised?

    The market for the equivalent of pigeon droppings or marmoset vomit smeared on canvas is notoriously volatile. I have secretly hoped for instances in which that the guy who spent a million for something that looks like it was done by the slowest kid in the kindergarten with finger paints on an off day discovers his “investment” is worthless.

    Funny that the real art classics never devalue.

    • #26
  27. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    These are my favorite paintings at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). I don’t know why I am so drawn to them, but every time I go, it’s hard to tear myself away and keep going to see all the other paintings. I’ve noticed that these two are always on the mugs and calendars and fund-raising literature I see. So, I agree. The classics never lose their intrinsic value.

    John Singer Sargent, The Four Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, 1882

    Childe Hassam, At Dusk (Boston Common at Twilight), 1885 to 1886 (and it is considered an Impressionist painting, so I guess I enjoy more Impressionist paintings than I thought!)

    • #27
  28. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    MarciN (View Comment):

    These are my favorite paintings at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). I don’t know why I am so drawn to them, but every time I go, it’s hard to tear myself away and keep going to see all the other paintings. I’ve noticed that these two are always on the mugs and calendars and fund-raising literature I see. So, I agree. The classics never lose their intrinsic value.

    John Singer Sargent, The Four Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, 1882

    I always liked that painting.  I’ve heard it criticized for having no cohesive design composition.  One girl stands at the edge and a vase that is cropped off stands at the opposite edge, and none of the girls are interacting with each other.  They just kind of “happen to be standing there.”  However, it still holds some sort of charm for me, especially the girl playing with her doll at center stage.  A historical note is that all four girls never married in their lives in an era when most women did get married, especially in high society.  Maybe they were antisocial as indicated in this picture?

    • #28
  29. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    You are exploring an interesting situation as it relates to “art” and how the “art world” has basically dumbed down the very people who should be instructed by its dealers and brokers as to what great art is.

    However I do find it odious that on the one hand you stated:

    The next time you are inclined to laugh at some rich buffoon paying millions for a painting a chimpanzee could replicate or spending vast sums for a preposterously large yacht or a fortune for an absurdly lavish conversion of a medieval castle into a vacation home, remember that he could have spent that money funding activist groups and political manipulators set on destroying your freedoms, our families, global economic growth, opportunity, and normal life. If we could redirect all those private jets to diverse, expensive tropical resorts instead of Davos, think about how much better it would be for everyone on earth.

    But then in the post you seem to elevate the founder of BlackRock, Larry Fink,  to the status of  someone who is a decent sort. (Rather ignoring how BlackRock has made its money  off of blood and guts and gore.) So now it is set on creating a hyper inflationary scenario where due to the Mega-Wealth that BlackRock has accumulated, it can drive most of the economy of western societies into never ending spirals of inflation, which will benefit only the driver of the spirals to the detriment of almost everyone else:

    https://medium.com/yardcouch-com/blackrock-the-secret-company-that-owns-the-world-b96111277e0f

    Apparently an individual can waste a ton of money on art that a chimpanzee could reproduce and perhaps improve upon, and yet still remain a wealthy enough individual  to see to it that  everyone else is less wealthy and  less free and less healthy.

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  30. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    I never quite got the point of art so abstract it was random.  Art can be surreal and fantastical, it can even be highly unconventional, but it needs to show intent, design, and skill.  If I could make something similar, why am I buying this?

    @stevenseward – I like how you convey emotion through posture and expression.  That Bank President looks like he just heard a good joke or got some good news in a meeting.  It makes him look like a decent person to work for.  The president of Tremco looks absolutely relaxed and content.  He’s made it, and is living the dream.

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