Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Art is a wonderful thing

Left- Burnt Area with Jagged Rocks (Tom Thomson)

I love Tom Thomson. I almost wrote my thesis mainly on an A.J.M. Smith poem called "The Lonely Land" partially because I was fascinated
by the fact that he subtitled it "Group of Seven" after Thomson's painting Jack Pine. I can spend hours in the Group of Seven exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario (even after giving a tour of it to 300 cranky ESL students this summer!) I don't know a heck of a lot about art in a formal sense, but I do know how to appreciate it.

Thus said, it always makes me happy when I hear that Canadian art like this is being treasured by Canadian art collectors. The Canadian art market is smaller and more conservative than the American, and so we don't get things like Ronald Lauder paying $135,000,000 U.S. for Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I a few weeks ago. I'm also a huge Klimt fan. His paintings are everywhere in my life- my bedroom, my desktop background, my sign-in icons for my computer and my email. I have a bit of a thing for his sexiness and use of colour.

Right- Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (Gustav Klimt)

What I think is great is the fact that there was a Canadian collector willing to pay $934,000 for Thomson's painting, which is really only a small oil sketch. Canadian art should be appreciated, and I'm glad to see that it is staying in the hands of Canadian collectors, and fetching auction prices that reflect how highly it is valued. I know that serious art collecting is something that only the quite rich can do, but in the art world, auction price reflects a painting's aesthetic and cultural value. If ridiculously high prices means that the art is prized for its beauty and contribution to Canadian culture and heritage, then so be it.


Purple Mangos said...

I _love_ Tom Thomson! I was assigned one of his paintings to copy in a junior high art class and fell in love with his colours and textures. (Plus, I had a thing for drawing trees.) I also love that his death is still a mystery. Very "legendesque."

Melissa said...

He's amazing. I bought a bunch of postcards of his paintings when I was back in ON, and I'm so sad that I forgot to bring them with me. I'll get them over Christmas to frame them. Did you know that he wasn't considered a part of the Group of Seven until after he died?

Purple Mangos said...

Yes, although he was friends with them. I suppose it wouldn't sound the same if they were called the Group of Eight. :)