Art for art’s sake?


I don’t know how it started. I do know that art and I parted company in the mid eighties. Some dear friends of mine, culture vultures to the core, took me to the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf, which is not as bad as it sounds. It hosted contemporary, modern art. I offended my friends deeply when I observed that an entire room of ‘art’ closely resembled the potato prints we made at primary school. I just didn’t get it.

Art and I almost became reconciled when I was taken round the galleries of Hamburg and encountered Kokoschka, Kandinsky and possibly Klimt. I was convinced then that artists had to have a name beginning with K, just as composers had to begin with B (Buxtehude, Beethoven, 37 Bachs, not now, I’m Bizet etc. etc.) By definition that meant Pablo was not good. I went to a gallery exhibiting his work in Luzern and came away convinced that Klee was better.

In recent years I have ventured into some rather impressive galleries in Florence, Venice, Madrid and Vienna. Established readers may recall my insightful piece in which I noted the strong correlation between the quality of the old master and the presence of a dog or indeed dogs on the canvas.

Recently I watched a fascinating documentary about van Gogh’s ear and found he was rather good, if a little bonkers much of the time. Then I watched a documentary about Picasso on a flight from Sydney to Hong Kong. Just to be clear, it was I on the flight, not PP. I don’t think he ever flew Cathay between Sydney and Honkers. Now I am watching a doc on Georgia O’Keefe. Previously the only Keefe I knew was Keef Richards of the Rolling Stones.

Which leads me to the latest marital challenge. I have seen a painting I like. Indeed I am willing to buy it if it is still in the gallery. The trouble is Mrs. Ha doesn’t like it. I know that because she says there is nowhere to hang it – this is a 4,000+ sq ft house. I know I can squeeze it in somewhere. And she claims it would be hard to keep clean. I wouldn’t bother. Paintings are supposed to look grubby and dusty – just look in the Prado. Then there is the small matter of price. I think it is about £3,500. I regard that as an investment. So I have to tread softly. The work is by Maya Eventov. I want it. What would you do?