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Good, it's not just me

Post #854 • August 17, 2006, 1:54 PM • 8 Comments

Irving Sandler, from A Sweeper-Up after Artists.

Drawing obsessed Franz [Kline]. A young artist at the Cedar challenged him with: "What about Monet?" He retorted: "What about Manet?" As he saw it, neither he himself nor any of his contemporaries could draw. But then, he claimed, no artist in the entire history of art could either. He paused. "Well, maybe Picasso. But Picasso knew he couldn't draw, but he thought that maybe Cézanne could. But Cézanne knew he couldn't, but maybe Ingres. Ingres thought maybe Raphael." And so on and on, ending up with the cave painters. I once said to Franz at the Cedar that his approach to drawing brought to mind an anecdote about a chance meeting between Blake and Constable on Hampstead Heath. Constable was sketching. Looking over his shoulder Blake said, "That's not drawing, that's sheer inspirtation." Constable retorted drily, "I had meant it to be drawing. You want to have it both ways, Franz, don't you?" He looked over to the bartender: "Give this guy another beer." The painter Joe Stefanelli once remarked to Franz that his abstractions had no reference to past art. "Hell they don't," said Franz, "I drew and copied for years and I was good but never as good as the old guys. I sort of snuck in when no one was looking."

Comment

1.

Jack

August 17, 2006, 2:40 PM

With all due respect to Kline, I think it's quite evident that some people most definitely can draw, but yes, exact degree of skill or effectiveness certainly varies. There is also variation in style or type of drawing. The expected level of accomplishment also plays a role, which is why Michelangelo could criticize Venetian painters such as Titian for not drawing well enough, even though today such standards are virtually impossible to fathom--because, basically, there are no standards.

2.

opie

August 17, 2006, 2:47 PM

If anyone called my work inspirtation i would sock them in the nose.

3.

Marc Courntry

August 17, 2006, 3:26 PM

Looking over his shoulder Blake said, "That's not drawing, that's sheer inspirtation." Constable retorted drily, "I had meant it to be drawing. You want to have it both ways, Franz, don't you?"

Who the hell is Franz Blake?

4.

Franklin

August 17, 2006, 5:22 PM

I had to read that twice too, Marc. Sandler admitted at the beginning of the Kline section that he could never quite capture him in prose. His verbal wit was too quick, and conversations with him would fly faster than he could render. He said only Frank O'Hara could do the man justice in wriitng.

5.

craigfrancis

August 17, 2006, 6:04 PM

who the hell is Marc Courntry? sorry, couldn't resist.

6.

opie

August 17, 2006, 6:53 PM

LOL Marc.

7.

Jack

August 17, 2006, 7:27 PM

Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617), a Dutch engraver and painter, had a handicap. A fall into burning coals when he was a child left his right hand crippled, making it impossible for him to extend his fingers fully. Still, I think he could draw tolerably well. See the following:

http://cgfa.sunsite.dk/g/goltzius1.jpg

http://www.metmuseum.org/special/Goltzius/images/96.L.jpg

The second piece looks like an engraving but is, in fact, a drawing meant to simulate an engraving. Not bad for a guy with a bum hand.

8.

opie

August 17, 2006, 8:00 PM

Maybe it's just me, but if i were writing a book about my experiences in the art world I would think twice before titling it "A Sweeper-up after Artists"

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