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15 July 2017 @ 01:19 pm
The cool kids of the art world always laughed at Norman Rockwell because he was so square and representational. He kept painting that way and presumably cried all the way to the bank, but he also did something else. With The Connoisseur he did to abstract expressionism what postmodernists always want to do to their predecessors. (Something I learned only recently: Rockwell always worked from models, so in order to do this painting he first did his own Jack the Dripper “painting” and copied it.)

Sam Spratt has painted nine pictures of African-Americans in the style of the master. This is not an expert opinion, but I think he is a worthy successor.
Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on July 15th, 2017 07:33 pm (UTC)
Rockwell was far less square than his image; people know his work from his Saturday Evening Post covers and he was limited by what they were willing to have on their covers. Outside of that, he could be quite cheeky, as in The Connoisseur, and politically astute. You want to see Rockwell paint the race problems of his time? Look at the painting he called The Problem We All Live With.

Even within the SEP realm, Rockwell was an astonishingly expert draftsman, as a close look at his originals will reveal, and he depicted the culture he was limited to with honesty and sure perception, as my mother, who grew up in that culture in those days, testified to me.
Sharon Kahndreamshark on July 17th, 2017 02:05 am (UTC)
Spratt's paintings are beautiful. Thanks for the link.
eub on July 16th, 2017 07:49 am (UTC)
The page about "The Connoisseur" suggests Rockwell was by no means shaking his fist at abstract expressionism.
"If we can assume that he is a surrogate for Rockwell, we may also assume that the gentleman is smiling approvingly."

Also he did play the abstract art game, though that doesn't say whether ironically or not:
"Rockwell submitted a section of the sample painting to an exhibition at the Cooperstown Art Association in New York, signing the canvas with an Italian signature. It took first prize for painting."
eub on July 16th, 2017 08:06 am (UTC)
Thanks, I like these Spratt paintings. He's not a clone of Rockwell (his facial expressions are pretty different I think) but he doesn't need to be.

I don't see why paintings shouldn't take back more of the space now occupied by posed photographs. Besides that it's harder.