Saturday, March 14, 2009

Who's Who

Once upon a time I came across Who's Who in America, in my school library. Noting with interest that addresses of famous people were published rather nonchalantly, I became pretty excited when I saw that some of my artistic heros were in there as well. 

I started writing to people I admired.

And they started writing back.

With some I continued a mild correspondence, meaning nothing to them, I'm sure, but everything to me.

The letter above from Norman Rockwell refers to an episode I had where one of my paintings was accepted into a show, when I was in high school, but my art teacher cracked me over the head with extremely harsh criticism and mockingly compared it to a Rockwell painting.

One guy who never wrote back was Picasso. He was probably busy or something.


Anonymous said...

When people give a sneer or the equivalent of an “eh” to Rockwell, I haul-out a copy of Southern Justice. “This”, I tell them “entirely vindicates the man as a truly great artist. He could have painting nothing else — or anything else — and yet this one painting would be sufficient.” Indeed, I have yet to encounter anyone who didn't look at that painting, and give it a quiet but sincere “wow”. And, in the context of that moment, I then pull out copies of some of his other work, because now people will take a second look.

Of course, not everything that Rockwell painted is particularly profound or even telling, but I don't know of any artist whose every work was.

I will envy you this note from Rockwell.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Thank you. I wrote to Rockwell several times and each time he sent a gracious reply, even once including a little doodle. But this note was just what I needed to keep going with my work.

Unknown said...

Unbelievable...thats great.