Thursday, January 2, 2003
When one stroke of the clock ends the old year and begins the next, we celebrate and ruminate, marking the time with toasts of good cheer and an examination in a mirror of time''s lack of forbearance. To celebrate the new year with all its potential and possibilities, the Spirit of the New Year asked a selection of people from the local art community: What work of art by any artist from all time would you like to own for the next 365 days?
Carmel painter Dick Crispo looks to the distant past, to the baroque master Rembrandt. "I think for me it would be Rembrandt''s last self-portrait because he achieved a richness and depth with it," Crispo reflects, "He reached beyond the self-portrait. It''s a portrait of himself, for sure, but he got beyond that. It''s a beautiful piece that I could live with for a year."
Local painter and photographer Elizabeth Murray considers all her favorite artists and genres and concludes, "I will have to be predictable, and pick Monet''s ''Water Lilies.'' There''s a four-part mural in the Orangerie (in Paris) called ''Morning,'' six and a half feet high and 40 feet long. To be completely surrounded by his interpretation of light, I find it a spiritual experience, a private space. To have a year to closely observe the surface textures, his brushwork, his pigment layers, the pull of light and dark!"
Carmel artist Jan Wagstaff says, "I would choose a Marc Chagall for a year. I would want it in my bedroom because of his dream-like qualities. I''m thinking of one in particular, called ''Red Roofs.''"
In spite of the plethora of historic choices, several individuals looked to modern California for their wish piece. Monterey painter Peggy Olsen says, "I would want one of Wayne Thiebaud''s San Francisco cityscapes because of the sense of vertigo and fabulous use of paint and color. They all work together to create some really exciting visual experiences."
Another local painter, Susan Reith, wants "Woman Sitting Next to a Window" by Los Angeles painter Richard Diebenkorn. "It represents for me the Bay Area group of people working like that. It''s so youthful and full of energy, I love the way they used to paint. In Diebenkorn''s painting, I love the figure and paint working in the whole composition."
"Choosing one is the hardest thing I could do," says Carmel painter Brenda Morrison. "There are dozens I would love to have. I''d settle on ''Sardine Boats'' by Edgar Payne, a California impressionist I saw at the Monterey Museum of Art recently. I love everything about it, the composition, the richness of color, the vividness and mutedness of color, the brush strokes, everything."
Mary Murray, curator of the Monterey Museum of Art, goes California with C. S. Price''s "Mule Deer." "It''s from 1937 and was in a stunning exhibition the museum had in 1999. It bowled me over. Price was moving farther into abstraction. There are two bodies of deer in a landscape, but it''s hard to tell what is landscape and what is deer. The work resonates for me because it captures the underlying unity in all things."
Pacific Grove gallery owner Steve Hauk says, "I''d want Maynard Dixon''s ''No Place to Go.'' It''s a 1935 painting of a man down on his luck, leaning against a fence with the ocean in the distance. Depression-era California, but there''s incredible dignity to it. If you had to be down on your luck in the ''30s, there was no better place to be than in a beautiful landscape. It''s very moving."
Shifting coasts, Carmel artist Virginia Conroy puts New York abstract painter Jackson Pollock at the top of her wish list. "''Blue Poles'' is a painting I find fascinating. It''s nature''s brainwaves and electric shocks. It''s got three or four areas of blue drippings over a big area of tan. So beautifully spaced, so many layers."
Carmel Eldon Dedini, cartoonist extraordinaire, chooses "The Meeting" by New York artist Richard Lindner. "Lindner is very important to me. He''s like George Grosz and those cynical German realists. There''s caricature there and that''s my middle name. The painting, an early one, has all the devices and techniques he was to exploit later. And you can see Saul Steinberg and Hedda Stern on the left."
There''s the wish list-and if everyone''s very good, maybe Santa will listen next year.