Original art is generally defined as: created by the artist. This comprises
paintings, sculptures, drawings, etchings, woodcuts, lithos, serigraphs.
I certainly forgot some techniques, some more may be invented in the future.
As is well known, there are reproductive techniques making it possible to
produce more than one thing. Some are very old, for example woodcuts.
In former times these were meant to reproduce only. Rembrandt or Goethe for
example knew many works of art from engravings only. These were not done
by the artist himself and are not considered works of art.
Division of labor
There are works drawn by the artist and engraved or cut by an artisan. Duerer
made lots of woodcuts this way. He drew not caring if and how the cutter
would translate that to his medium. This was considered a work of art of
Duerer, not of the cutter.
Art of printing
Sometimes the cutter even signed the print, too. Then came the printer. Nowadays
the artist does not print the plates done by himself very often. Printing
is considered an art of its own. Horst Janssen praised his printer - but
he signed alone. He did all by himself except printing. Sculptures are
reproduced, too, and usually this is a profession of its own again.
For an edition to be called a work of art it is held necessary that the artist
has worked the medium himself. To make it perfectly clear: If somebody, even
the artist, takes a photograph of a painting, this photograph being reproduced
through another medium, say offset print, then this is not considered to
be art but merely reproduction.
If the artist signs this print then it is still no work of art as the artist
did nothing to the medium itself. Some hold that everything signed by an
artist is art, but I won't discuss this claim here. The artist can sign whatever,
only if he works at it can this possibly be art in my understanding. On the
other hand, if the artist does not or cannot sign an original print it is
still a work of art. A signature is not a necessary condition for a work
Art Quarter's offer
Art Quarter, in its attempt to offer low prices, will produce posters and
replicas wherever feasible. These are limited and signed, but they are not
original works of art. They are reproductions of high quality art.
This get perfectly clear with photographs. The original of the photograph
is the negative or slide. It is an original not to be sold as a rule, but
to be used to make copies on photographic paper like prints from an etching.
If the print is digitalised and reworked with a computer program, then the
digital image, a simple file, is the original not to be sold but to be printed
on a special printer or on photographic paper. These prints are original
works of art. They are usually done by the artist himself.
Art Quarter offers posters from these photographs. These are mere reproductions
in another medium and no longer works of art. They are not done by the artist
himself. They are comparably inexpensive. They are limited and signed
nevertheless, to enhance their value. Limitation and signature do not transform
these reproductions into works of art.
|What is Original Art
We live in times of reproduction. Books, CDs, cars, computers are all produced
in large quantities at small prices. Works of art can be reproduced width
high fidelity in likewise mass production. Why does this not happen?
Compare with musicians. They still perform for people like they did in former
times, maybe with the aid of technical equipment like microphones, but they
also produce canned music. Why is the artist of our time not somebody producing
Original Fine Art for the masses?
Preindustrial production mode
Fine Art is really different in this respect. As a rule, the artist works
alone to produce unique works. No difference to pre technological times.
This sure is peculiar. How come?
Demand for Fine Art
The artist would not be able to work this way if there would not be a demand.
Some 20 years ago, at times of Pop(ular) Art, famous artists in Germany put
up original print art in editions of 10,000 (Hunderwasser, Janssen, Hausner).
The prints from Hunderwasser are different each in coloring, so you get actually
an unique work of Fine Art. They are not sold out to this day. How come?
One other fact is irritating: Being produced in an oldfashioned way one by
one, Fine Art cannot be cheap. How come, people want to buy Fine Art that
is expensive? How come, people want to buy Fine Art anyway?
To answer these questions, let us first take a scientific point of view.
We abstract of our personal experiences and look at people in general. Of
course, most people can be dealt with on a statistical level. They got their
favorite entertainer, sports, whatever. This is the mass phenomenon.
As a rule, Fine Art is not a mass phenomenon at all. There are a number of
reasons for this fact. I'll give you just a few:
First, there is only a very limited number of works an artist can produce
in his life. For example, Picasso is famous for his long life and his exuberant
productivity. Estimates vary, but there are at most some 40,000 works he
did produce. Beckmann on the other hand has definitely made less than 1,000
paintings. Compare this to any other market and you see that these numbers
are just ridiculously small.
Second, just because of this limited supply, Fine Art is perfectly qualified
for distinguishing yourself from the masses. Take any other high priced single
item like sports cars or wrist watches or whatever. You can't keep your neighbor
from acquiring just the same article if he wants to.
Third, people are eager to express their individuality. They want to know
their peer group to reassure themselves, so they tend to accept certain values
esteemed high by this group, but equally important is the need to set themselves
apart from any mass phenomenon so they can feel their individuality.
Property is a very good means to achieve both. Take for example a Porsche
driver. He will belong to his peer group of Porsche drivers, set himself
apart from all other car owners, and express his individuality by certain
add ons to his mass production car costing lots of extra money.
But in the end, he is just another Porsche driver nevertheless. Fine Art
is much more rewarding in this respect. Of course, you can't show it to your
neighbors like a car. But it talks to your soul in a very intimate way no
car ever can.
This is the fourth reason making Fine Art a perfect means to feel yourself
as the individual person you in fact are. Look at any office or flat or house
you know: Are there any bare walls? As a rule, people decorate their walls
very careful with pictures.
These pictures express their individuality and nourish their soul. Very much
the same way as music or literature or sports do, too. These means are highly
valuable to people.
You find this reflected in the famous game: What would you take with you
if you had to go to a lonely island being allowed to take with you only one
book, one picture, one piece of music? A condensed form of expressing yourself
Another way to put it: If your house burns and you'd be able to save but
a few items, what would you choose? Your art. Everything can be replaced,
might be even better if bought new, but your art is unique and cannot be
replaced at all. It is the most precious stuff you own, even if it means
nothing to other people.
To resume: People are unique in the first place. In fact, unique to extent
that it is just incredible. Accounting for this, the question is: How can
we communicate in the first place? (But that's another essay.)
In particular: How can a work of Fine Art communicate to a person other than
the artist? Obviously, it does. But it is hard to find out if a work of art
means the same to all people it does talk to. And there are people it does
not talk to at all.
If I perceive a certain green - do you have the same perception? Does this
green mean the same to you? Does it arouse the same feeling, the same
remembrances? Obviously not. It cannot as you lived your life and I lived
mine, we did not experience the same events and things.
But nevertheless Fine Art communicates not within a certain cultural setting
and time, it does so regardless of cultures and ages. We can enjoy stone
age paintings as well as contemporary art. And just as those stone age people
created something obviously not necessary for mere survival, but necessary
for living, we need Fine Art for our living. You won't find bare walls in
rooms people live in except maybe for prisons and religious cells.
As unique beings we are not machines. We are living souls science doesn't
know too much about. We feel and dream and hope and love very much like our
forebears centuries or ages ago did. Artists express much of this unknown
side of mankind, and our souls need these products of artists although nobody
really knows much about it.
Big industry exploits these needs. Movies earn millions and even billions,
rock stars become multi millionaires in a row, books are rated by sales figures,
all by mass production means. But Fine Art is different. I don't really know
why. I didn't even see the problem. There is no real reason not to reproduce
art with as much care as music is reproduced. This industry simply does not
exist. There were single attempts, but they never became popular.
Of course, there is a large poster industry. But this is commonly not considered
as Fine Art but reproduction merely. Fine Art was and still is connected
to being unique or at least limited, a trait not found elsewhere. No limited
movies, books, CDs. On the contrary, the higher the demand the more copies
will be produced in all arts except Fine Art. There is no industry reproducing
high quality Fine Art for the masses. Fine art is still here, though, not
extinguished, and it is in the headlines very often. In connection with record
Wealthy people can invite musicians to their house and get a concert very
much like in old times, when a king or duke had his own orchestra or hired
one to perform solely for him and his guests. But I guess this is not en
vogue any more. Musicians would not be able to make a living from this alone
nowadays. They sing and play in front of huge audiences, masses in fact,
not individuals. Everybody can buy the best performances of the world to
listen to whenever and wherever s/he wants. King and beggar are on equal
There are small possibilities to express your wealth nowadays. I can think
of no other reason for artists still producing unique works and prices for
fashion artists rising sky high as being one of the few opportunities to
spend real big money to distinguish yourself. Now hold a minute! If I didn't
overlook something very important, this is really amazing! This means that
rich people are defining what Fine Art is. Like in the old days, when artists
like Leonardo and Bach, even Beethoven were dependent on aristocratic means.
Will Bill Gates be considered to be a connoisseur having acquired a single
painting for 30 million $? You bet. It happened to industrialist Ströher
when he bought taxi entrepreneur Kraushaar's collection of Pop Art for 24
million $. He didn't prove before that he knew much about art. (Kraushaar
is said to have spent a few thousand a piece only.)
Next coup of Ströher was the offer to buy a chair with fat on it by
Joseph Beuys for 24,000 a woman had paid $ 1,000 for. They did not ask her
price. She sold. And they were busy spreading the news. This was to show
that artist Beuys had been utterly underrated by the art world. Connoisseur
Ströher spent a lot without asking to prove his competence and to leave
his imprint on the market.
You know that people tend to buy themselves into certain circles. Tennis
was a closed sport once, Thomas Mann had a private tennis court at his summer
residence. Then horse riding, Golf, all these sports are mass sports today.
You can switch to polo maybe, being somewhat expensive still.
But when it comes to Fine Art, you can easily define your own sphere. In
fact, the different fashions in Fine Art can pretty well be looked at from
a sociological point of view as similar phenomena as the efforts of the young
people of a generation to distinguish themselves from the older one.
It may be doubted if people who spend huge money on Fine Art have more than
that, money to spend. But this drives the industry, so to say. For an artist,
there is little between making no money or making too much money. This is
too bad for the arts. Same holds true for music and literature, by the way.
Some become stars or write bestsellers, being drowned by money in consequence,
High rising prices
There is another aspect to this, too. Rich people founded eminent museums
in the States. Getty donated 700 millions to his Fine Art foundation. The
money accumulated to 4 billion at the stock market. They have to spend 500,000
$ daily to not increase capital further. In consequence there is too much
money in the Fine Art market. Prices rise and there is no end to see. This
opens up perspectives in speculating. And of course there were wealthy people
risking some 40 million on a van Gogh. But of course, when it came to sell
things were looking different. This situation is extremely unhealthy to the
arts and to the public.
The public associates Fine Art with big money. Hence the general public doesn't
buy Fine Art at all. They don't realize that they spent far more money on
their music preserves or on books than on their pictures decorating the walls.
They don't realize that they feed their soul with the best music around giving
little care to the Fine Art they buy. In fact, most people are much easier
puzzled with Fine Art than with music. The public does not stimulate the
artist to produce Fine Art. The public does not exist for the artist. There
is little demand from the general public. Not enough to get by. But the lack
of stimulation is probably worse.
Artists see that if they don't make it to the top (which is like winning
first prize in lottery) they have to starve. Hence they are not looking at
producing Fine Art in the first place but art which might sell or might be
chosen as first prize by the museum or high price cliques.
In my opinion, there is very little valuable art to be seen in our museums.
There is even less valuable art to be seen at commercial events. There is
very little valuable written about Fine Art for a hundred years at least.
Eminent writers, scholars and critics with extreme sensible taste to old
art get nervous and faint when talking about modern art. It is Ernst Gombrich
whom I have in mind here, for example.
The situation is bad for Fine Art these days. Very good technical stuff is
produced, cars, computers, whatnot. Very good music, very good movies (bad
movies and bad music, too). Few good art. And those artists producing good
art often produce mediocre results in between. It is hard to produce good
Fine Art these days.
Time to return to our question. Fine Art is original art still. Art is held
to be a big money thing. Definition of Fine Art is left in the hands of people
not being able to judge. There are attempts every now and then to point at
this situation. There is not much hope. Comes the internet.
Original Fine Art
We can't change the world. But we can do something. We offer Original Fine
Art, unique pieces. We offer to prove in each single case the artistic value
of the offered piece. We will educate you with every means to enable you
to judge yourself. But all our efforts are futile if we don't achieve our
main goal: To show you works of Fine Art capable of talking to your soul.
And if this happens, we don't have to argue any more. You will want to enjoy
this artwork every day.
We are not afraid of reproductions. If you are content with a good reproduction,
we will be happy to fill your needs. We even produce merchandise to use as
gifts. Make your choice. You don't have to be rich to distinguish yourself
with Fine Art.