The appeal of animal portraiture is probably deeply linked to that of human portraiture. Yet the reasons underlying the appeal of both types of portraiture have received scant attention. The psychological appeal of human portraiture is poorly understood, and has also rarely been tackled by museum exhibits or art history. To understand the emotional appeal of animals in art, we probably ought to know what it is about human portraiture that we find so attractive, even spellbinding? Are we not accosted by 5, 50 or even 500 faces each day of our lives? Why does it matter on a given day if we see several more faces represented on canvas? It would seem that we measure the greatness of a portraitist in large part by the human emotion his art evokes. Why do we care? –Kobi
Just like every significant museum with an interest in modern European art, even a collector as richly endowed as Norton Simon hoarded Picasso prints (and Rembrandts and Goyas) like they were going out of style. He acquired 710 Picasso prints but only five Picasso paintings. (Print dealers such as ourselves can only admire that ratio!) Presumably, he didn’t do it because, unlike many print collectors, prints were the only Picassos he could afford, but rather because the print medium, especially in the hands of Picasso, the greatest print innovator of all time, gave rise to unique and breathtakingly beautiful artistic expressions. The interesting essay on Mr. Simon’s approach to print collecting by Gloria Williams in Picasso, Graphic Magician: Prints from the Norton Simon Museum amplifies this topic eloquently and informatively.
In my personal experience, I know print collectors who claim that, even if money were no object, they would still exclusively, or almost exclusively, collect prints. I find that hard to believe and was rather unsuccessful in prying convincing reasons out of them. I’m interested in your thoughts. -Kobi