Friday, November 27, 2009

Hey! Its The Same Fricking Tree!

So I'm surfing around and I notice that this item--"The Old Stump, Lake Superior" by Group of Seven Artist Lawren Harris-- just sold for 3.5 mill. Not bad, I thought, for what was after all just another painting from the group's "Tree" period (albeit--and this is unusual for one of The 7--this time its a dead tree).
Except I surf around a bit more and find this baby, which goes by the name "North Shore, Lake Superior":

Notice anything peculiar? Its...the...same...tree! The gallery sold a previously painted tree! A used tree!! Harris didn't even employ that old Group of 7 trick where he paints the tree red or yellow or some other weird color to disguise it. No! It's just like Monet and endless goddamned water-lilies. The people want water lilies, give 'em more fucking water lilies! Give 'em the same lily, painted at dawn, and noon, and at dusk! Here's the water-lily under a full moon! Now hand over your money, sap! But in this case Harris was thinking: people want pictures of a dead tree, I'll give 'em pictures of a dead tree. The same dead tree, so I won't even have to get out of my chair!

WHAT IS THE CANADIAN ART ESTABLISHMENT COMING TO?

9 comments:

Southern Quebec said...

Sometimes a tree is just a tree...

rww said...

A quick read of the Globe and Mail article explained the similarity:

"Earning the most, as expected before auction, was The Old Stump, Lake Superior (above), a small 1926 sketch never before auctioned, that Mr. Harris used as the basis for his large, iconic canvas, North Shore, Lake Superior"

bigcitylib said...

RWW,

Your missing the point!!!

kirbycairo said...

I believe one of these was a limited number print edition and one is the original painting from which the print was done, a common thing among many artists. Sometimes the prints actually make the painting more valuable.

rww said...

Well as a photographer I know he could probably have painted many very different images of the same tree simply by changing perspectives, angles, lighting, different sky at different times etc., etc. I always take multiple images of the same thing because they are very different pictures.

But in this case it was the same picture, akin to a negative and a print being the same picture.

RuralSandi said...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and value added when an artist is dead.

Raging Ranter said...

So many beautiful live trees out there, and he paints a dead one. Twice. I bet the bastard KNEW it would be worth $3.5 mil someday, and he was doubling up.

rww said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rww said...

He painted it twice because that is how landscape and wildlife artists often work. They do a small sketch or painting in the field and then the actual large painting later in the studio.

The small versions are not intended for sale but of course, after a famous artists death people want everything they ever did. They would buy their kindergarten finger paintings if they were available.

I'm sorry you don't have enough appreciation for the wonderful work produced by the Group of Seven to call one of them a bastard. I'm sure they all had no idea how influential they would be and what their work would be worth in the future.