I am fascinated by the “unsung”. There are so many artists who have produced first class art, and yet, no one has heard of them. Well, maybe not no one, but not many.
We’re in LA and yesterday we went to see the Lawren Harris exhibit at the Hammer. I think everyone knows how much I love the Group of Seven, although, to tell the truth, Lawren Harris is my least favorite.
But there is no way that I would be in LA and not see an exhibit of one of these amazing artists and not got to this exhibit. I think the last time a member of the Group of Seven had an exhibit in the US was the 1920’s!
The exhibit, called The Idea of the North, is actually great. It’s a small exhibit, but gives a good overview of his paintings of the northern part of Canada.
Seeing the exhibit made me think about the Group of Seven’s influence on other artists. So I did a search and found . . . nothing. Lot’s about who influenced them, but nothing about their impact — at least outside of Canada.
That made me think more about what happens if you are an amazing artist, but you are from a small, relatively “unimportant” country, like Canada, or Portugal, or Belgium.
Turns out Belgium had their own “Group”, called the Group of 20. They were post impressionists, painting in the early part of the 20th century. One of them, and the only woman, was Anna Boch.
Here is some of her work.
She painted in a pointillist style and was relatively successful. She has paintings in major museums in Belgium.
In addition to her talent, she was also a serious art patron. She was a member of the family that owned Villeroy and Boch (still in business, producing gorgeous dishes, etc.). She bought a painting by a fellow artist, who was Dutch. In fact, it was the only painting Van Gogh sold in his lifetime!
That alone should make you famous!
But, if you are from Belgium, or Portugal, or Canada, or India, or another country that is not closely enough related to the “canon” of Western art, it’s probable that you will remain unsung.