DAILY ART FIX: Why the Iconic Athenaeum Portrait of Washington was Never Finished

Art world links which caught my eye…

Gilbert Stuart “George Washington (The Athenaeum Portrait)” April 12, 1796. Oil on canvas. 47.99 x 37 in.

The portrait is right on the money, as they say-literally. Gilbert Stuart’s painting of 65 year old George Washington is the basis of the dollar bill portrayal. As such it has become how we picture George Washington. It has been suggested the President was looking extra stern in it, perhaps due to problems with his dentures, or frustrations with the artist and the posing. Stuart did end up doing a tricky thing:

Washington agreed to sit for Stuart, however, the artist did not want to give up this new portrait because he knew that he could use it as a model for future commissions. Stuart purposely left the work unfinished and began to create and sell copies.

He reportedly called these copies his “hundred dollar bills” after the price he charged for them. It is believed that Stuart ultimately copied 130 portraits from the unfinished work commissioned by Martha Washington. Of those, around sixty survive today.

Read the full article here: ART & OBJECT – Why the Iconic Athenaeum Portrait of Washington was Never Finished

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RICHARD BLEDSOE is a visual story teller; a painter of fables and parables. He received his BFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard has been an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, in both the United States and internationally. He lives and paints happily in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Michele and cat Motorhead. He is the author of Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization:

Remodernism is not a style of art, it is a form of motivation. We express the universal language of inspired humanity.

We do not imitate what came before. We find in ourselves the same divine essence of love and excitement which has inspired masterpieces throughout history. We are strengthened by drawing on traditions thousands of years old.

We integrate the bold, visionary efforts of the Modern era into a holistic, meaningful expression of contemporary life. Remodernism seeks a humble maturity which heals the fragmentation and contradictions of Modernism, and obliterates the narcissistic lies of Postmodernism.

Remodernism is the return of art as a revelation.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: This 1861 Japanese version of the American Revolution is incredibly awesome, especially George Washington punching a tiger

Art world links which caught my eye…

George Washington Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before

In this thread from 2018, historian Nick Kapur shares imagery from an 1861 Japanese account of the American Revolution. Either something was lost in translation, or there is some extreme symbolism going on.

Image

Washington’s “second-in-command” John Adams battling an enormous snake

See the whole article here: TWITCHY – This 1861 Japanese version of the American Revolution is incredibly awesome, especially George Washington punching a tiger

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RICHARD BLEDSOE is a visual story teller; a painter of fables and parables. He received his BFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard has been an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, in both the United States and internationally. He lives and paints happily in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Michele and cat Motorhead. He is the author of Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization.

**************

I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

ARTICLE: America’s Supposedly Most Wanted Painting

americas-favorite-painting

Komar and Melamid “America’s Most Wanted Painting”

CREATION BY FOCUS GROUP: A 1994 Article on a Postmodern Art Event

In 1994 two Russian painters had surveys conducted of what people liked in art, and made paintings based on the results. The article notes some of the data collected:

Having initially planned to produce different ideal pictures for various demographic groups, in the manner of localised ad campaigns, Komar and Melamid wound up painting only two canvasses: America’s Most Wanted Painting (1994) and America’s Most Unwanted Painting (1994). This decision was dictated by the results of the survey, which surprisingly painted a picture of an aesthetically unified society whose tastes cut across social lines. Thus even though the preference for blue (the favourite of 44% overall) diminishes with increased income and education, it’s still the colour preferred by the majority in every group; ditto for paintings of outdoor scenes (88% overall), paintings with soft curves (66%) and those with fully clothed figures (68% to only 3% favouring nudes).

The image they generated is shown above. It’s pretty much a reflection of its times, a disjointed assemblage of a sort, despite the naturalistic style. It’s hard to see in  the reproduction but there’s a hippopotamus at about 10 o’clock behind George Washington, to fulfill the demographic preference for wild animals (preferred by 51% over domestic breeds).

According to their research this was America’s Least Wanted Painting:

least-us

The subsequent promotion and analysis of the works oozed with postmodern irony and condescension. The Most Wanted Painting is presented as a work of incoherent kitsch. How gauche to create art that the general population might respond to!

It was an implied demonstration of how the establishment art world sneers at the backwards people who still expect art to contain beauty, skill, reverence, inspiration and a connection to life.

The exhibit was set up like a satire of a marketing department presentation, with supporting graphs and charts listing their statistics. But the deadpan adoption of the corporate style suggests a very different conclusion than what the artists may have intended.

I don’t read this as a wicked skewering of bourgeois taste. I see it demonstrating the catastrophic failure of the establishment.

This is what happens when relativism devours the minds and souls of our self-proclaimed elites. This is what happens when those who have no core values or guiding principles are in charge. This is what happens when our institutional systems of the arts, the media and education are completely dysfunctional.

Polling and phony populism allows them to craft a distraction from their agenda of looting and domination. The elitists try to pay lip service the whims of those the elitist systems have failed to inform and educate. The results are grotesque.

There is a lack of leadership among our would-be ruling class. That’s because their big ideas are they should be on top, and exempt from the rules they would inflict on others.

Their safe strategy is to keep all who would challenge these presumptions either ignorant, or co-opted into conforming with the elitist mindset. Joining in the derision against anyone who doesn’t accept muddleheaded postmodern nihilism is great way to signal one’s support of our masters.

The establishment uses contemporary art as a weapon to enforce inequality.

The Remodernism Manifesto of Billy Childish and Charles Thomson summarizes a solution to this distortion:

It is quite clear to anyone of an uncluttered mental disposition that what is now put forward, quite seriously, as art by the ruling elite, is proof that a seemingly rational development of a body of ideas has gone seriously awry. The principles on which Modernism was based are sound, but the conclusions that have now been reached from it are preposterous.

We address this lack of meaning, so that a coherent art can be achieved and this imbalance redressed.