Thursday, May 12, 2011



The Nevelson master was born the son of a shiftless locksmith and cracksman in the risk averse 17th century town of East Delft. Across the canal from Delft itself, East Delft was a dangerous teeming slum with few opportunities for young men, particularly in arts administration and the then underdeveloped social services net weaving industries. Unable to afford a secure job with the compliance ministry, he drifted into a government art school where thousands of young men and women were groomed for the dozens of positions in the private sector art market. His story is a cautionary tale to all who major in the fine arts, obey their teachers and then are compelled to compete against the disobedient, incessantly slaving, wholly unlicensed entrepreneurs who infest the art world.

The painting above is another example from the recently discovered trove of the tyro's work. As usual it contains a glaring fault, POTATION. Many contemporary painters have filled their stream and river scenes with potatoes and other curds and lumps, but the effortless exposition in this piece is startling for its concise delineation of the potato forms.

Introduced only a few years before the tyros birth as ballast in the holds of swift Dutch triremes, the humble potato quickly became a staple of the low countries Kulaks diets. Suddenly available in massive quantities from the selenium rich alluvial plains of the tepid Azores and Peloponnesian islands, the potato captured the 17th century imagination in a way barely understandable to our contemporary ungulate fed society. The sight of various tuber cults, and secret societies drunk on starch and carrying burning torches, singing Foreigner's haunting "I Want to Know What Love is", while staggering with their stout bodies back to the slums of East Delft must have been a shocking one for a naive young boy raised on parboiled bulgur and ergot laden rye.

His natural reaction was to fill his paintings with the bulbous forms of the attractive and repetitive spuds. Perhaps you have done the same?


DennyHollandStudio said...

They look like the eggs from the movie Alien.

CANDY said...


Philip Koch said...

Very few know that Foreigner is actually one of the oldest pop rock bands in the business, performing contiuous (with some changes in personel) since the 1600's.

The funny thing is I have come across actual streams fill of large, rounded rocks that almost look as impossible to paint as in this new oil by the Nevelson master. I remember thinking at the time how atrocious it would look if someone actually painted them as they appear. Well, now I KNOW how atrocious is does look.

As always you perform a useful service to the long suffering art world.

Diane Edwards said...

Wonderful post, added a lot of words to my vocabulary! My favorite "rock" group...sorry, had to say my studio some days as I labor with the Potation situations.........

T Arthur Smith said...

I love this new series of dumb design ideas - it's brilliant! Stapleton, I've started a new blog on composition, and if it's all right, I'd love to post an article with links to all your ideas, to keep them in one tidy list. I'd be sure to credit you for all of it.

T Arthur Smith said...

Blogger's deleted all our comments from yesterday, so let me repeat my request. I've started a blog on composition, and I'd love to be post an article on your Encyclopedia of dumb designs. It would just be a short list of links to each of your items, and I'd be sure to give you credit. Thanks.

Libby Fife said...

Wow, a twofer: a lesson on art no-nos and some valuable history as well!

PS-Even I saw the potation issue (love that word!).

Stapleton Kearns said...

T Arthur Smith
Sure go ahead.Let me know when it is written I will look forward to reading it (I hope)

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am thinking of forming a tuber cult myself.