I have been contemplating a question. Which is greater, an artist who creates his own image or one who copies from another? To do this I have been looking at two oil paintings in my collection. So as not to influence the argument by using known artists and their fame, the works are done by artists of little renown. We will begin with a rendering of an icon of American modern art.
Welcome to ‘Christina’s World’. The original of this study hangs in the MoMA in New York as part of it’s permanent collection. It is roughly 32″ by 47″. It was created in 1948 by Andrew Wyeth. The study which is shown here is 10″ by 13″. The fine brushwork used is superb and painstakingly precise, although some of the fine work on the original has been lost due to the reduction in size. There are also a number of minor variations in the rendering, evenso, this is a finely painted study by RC Maddison.
Now we continue with a rendering of ‘Amiens Cathedral’ by Vernon Carder done in 1970. Painted in wonderful colours with hints of Impressionism yet rooted in Realism through the architectural presentation of the cathedral and dwellings. A somewhat dreamy image. The brushwork is less specific. There is a vagueness and blending of application which lends itself to the overarching presentation of the image.
Which of these two are the greater accomplishment by the artist. Both have wonderful attributes which argue for supremacy. But does one need to come to a resolution to the question or can/should we just enjoy the art for art’s sake. I continue to ponder.