Art Buyers Must Be Art Detectives to Buy Authentic - Artist/Teacher Barbara Garro says. Seeing as an Art Detective can be amazingly rewarding for perfectionists and great conversation for everyone.
How many times have you looked at a painting and felt something seemed not quite right. Of course, not being an artist, you may have trouble figuring out what it is. Still, you’re confident that something is wrong.
Remember, good artists are first-rate detectives. How so? Before signing, the painting is checked:
1. Do all the people have all their parts?
2. Do all the animals have all their parts?
3. Do all the flowers have all their parts? For me, as The Painter of Flowers, that means I go from flower to flower checking if it has a stem. Then, I go from leaf to leaf checking to see if it comes from a stem.
4. Are realistic shadows in place? Realistic by whose judgment? Two judgments: the artist’s and the viewer. Both judgments are important. Why? Those who do not paint, like those who do not write books, are wise in the ways of how things are. I go from petal to petal, leaf to leaf, stem to stem, checking.
5. Is the perspective reasonably correct? Vincent van Gogh becomes an example of his own idea of perspective. No architect would agree with him. His room at Arles can make a perfectionist positively dizzy. The artist aims to create paintings that have a painterly character without being so realistic they become PERFECT bores. Still, too much off perspective and the painting looks goofy.
6. Is there enough contrast to give the painting some tonal variety?
7. Does the composition guide the eye on an exciting journey throughout the painting or jar you in and out of the picture?
8. Does the positioning of the horizon line in a landscape make sense within the composition?
9. Do all the colors, tones, and subjects work well together?
Next time you go into an art gallery or museum, think about some of the artist’s check points to see where even the Master Artists got distracted and forgot a leg here, an arm there, put one eye to high, made a limb too big or too small, made the trees too big or small for the rest of the composition.
Artists are human. Too much absinthe or opium can distract. Many Master Artists, like the famous writers imbibed in substances. Some swore that the substances made them better artists or writers. Were they right? They have left their oeuvre for you to be the judge.
Should your detective work find mistakes in Master Artists’ work, I would love to do another Garro Talk citing them. Please provide the full name of the painting, the artist, and where you were looking when you discovered something missing, something that should not be there, something too big, something too small or otherwise out of whack.
Your detective work can become fun for other Art Detectives in Training.
I would love to hear from you.