Saturday, January 20, 2007

Small Paintings

When I visited an art fair for figurative art lately I noticed that many gallerists tend to show very large canvasses that are often over two meters wide. I think they use it as a way to attract the attention of the public. If those paintings were well done, there is no problem of course, but often those huge paintings are weak and boring. Below is a photograph of such a huge painting.

A. Fuertes
50 x 210 cm

I think that using huge paintings merely to impress people is a pathetic approach of art combined with an underestimation of the public's ability to recognize quality. Some subjects ask for a large canvas, like Rembrandt's Night watch. Painting for instance a bowl with cherries blown up to a 3 x 3 meter canvas however seems somewhat overdone.

Many art collectors love small paintings. Not only because they are usually more affordable and take less space than large ones, but also because small paintings often are much more interesting in terms of intensity and painterly qualities. Small paintings can be sparkling little jewels. I remember a visit to the Sorolla Museum in Madrid, where I was especially struck by a number of very small but powerfull paintings by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida.

I like to paint small paintings, especially when I am painting outdoors and there is only limited time to complete the art work. But also in my studio I love to scribble away spontaneously on a small piece of cardboard for instance. The last one I did is shown below.

oil on cardboard
20 x 19 cm

Shown here is a family of, probably Italian, tourists studying their city-plans in order to find the way to the Anne Frank House or someplace similar. It is meant to evoke a feeling of being lost in a strange city and to make the viewer smile.

There go about 27 "Tourists" into one "Pears".

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