Painting - Diminishing Returns by Frank O'Connor


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Jonathan,

You asked:

Where would I find Rand's comments on Maxfield Parrish?

Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q&A, edited by Robert Mayhew (Centennial Edition), p. 225, from her Ford Hall Forum lecture of 1977 in Boston, "Global Balkanization."

Q: What do you think of the works of the artist Maxfield Parrish?

AR: Trash.

That was probably the shortest opinion she ever issued about art.

Michael

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Wow. That's it? Just "Trash"?

Man, Rand sure is hard to figure out as far as tastes in art. When someone speaks glowingly of a television show like Charlie's Angels, it's kind of a shock that she would see Parrish as "trash." It's like someone who has a collection of velvet paintings of Elvis, sad clowns and tigers in her home calling her neighbor's Corinthian bird bath "trashy."

J

"Little pink houses for you and me..."

~~John Mellencamp~~

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First, thank you, Barbara.

Onto my full confessions: I own a print of Diminishing Returns, too. And I like Parrish too, thought not quite as much as my wife does.

As for Rand, she spoke harshly of the surrealists, and of Dali in particular, but her favorite painting was by Dali, the surrealist. She seemed to see Dali as puzzling, perhaps partly because she hated many of his paintings, but absolutely loved at least one. If an artist's paintings project his sense of life, how could one artist project 2 different senses of life? I think her answer is that the artist's vision was conflicted, and different sides of the conflict got painted at different times.

Also on the topic of surrealism, has anyone taken a good look at Capuletti's work? A lot of his work looks a bit surrealistic - jarring dreamlike visions portrayed with halluncinatory clarity. But not all his work is like that. I think he moves away from it over time.

John

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~ I'm certainly not an art (or artist) historian, but, from what varied-sourced backgrounds I've read about him, I think that it's really safe to say that Salvador was definitely a 'conflicted' person; but then, what known-and-established 'great' artist's personality hasn't been, over something or other troubling their life?

LLAP

J:D

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  • 6 years later...

I think he felt like a nobody (no face) a dummy, a puppet with his drum, with Ayn looking on. He feels all alone on the edge of a cliff in the vast openness...nowhere to go. He's trying to juggle all the fragileness of his life around him, knowing he can't. He felt alone and helpless. At least that's what I think the painting means. ~Cathy~

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  • 3 years later...
On 5/10/2013 at 8:14 PM, Cathy said:

I think he felt like a nobody (no face) a dummy, a puppet with his drum, with Ayn looking on. He feels all alone on the edge of a cliff in the vast openness...nowhere to go. He's trying to juggle all the fragileness of his life around him, knowing he can't. He felt alone and helpless. At least that's what I think the painting means. ~Cathy~

This is the essential nature of art appreciation--a surfeit of differences. Cathy and I have no overlapping of opinions about this painting, but I have no claim to a "right" or superior opinion.

--Brant

Cathy is on Facebook these days, btw

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  • 3 years later...

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