Monday, May 16, 2011



Here is another painting from the sorry ouvre of Dirk Van Assaerts, recently rediscovered tyro Dutch painter of the 17th century. As usual with Mr. Assaerts paintings this one carries a fatal flaw. In this painting he has fenced the viewer out of the picture. Instead of a graceful entrance carrying us to the subject, there is a barrier to our access. We are compelled to jump over this distracting foreground (tearing our culottes in the process and revealing our possibly non-compliant areas) in order to continue our stroll up to the mighty castle of the Knights of Cooperation.

Assaerts or the Nevelson master as he is commonly known, finished his stint at the government art school for his county. The 790 million dollar structure in which it was housed cost more than every artist in his conformity district had made in all of recorded history. The tuition was as much as the income a peoples union officer might earn in a year, but he was fortunate to be able to borrow it from his parish's Subsidized Loan Facilitators. His training was heavy on theory but rather short on painting skills, however his teachers had been very encouraging as his work did push the envelope like the other "best and more obedient" students in his cohort.

The people who were buying the paintings in the marketplace seemed not to care about "real art" and were only buying paintings that matched the colors of their hovels. His natural response then, was to inflate his thin ideas into a series of enormous paintings the size of boxcars, with abstracted representations of sparkling knitting needles piercing the potatoes around which his society was constructed. Dirk knew for certain that the political implications of his art were sure to give him a place in art history. The dealers, who cared only for profit, (and had recently insisted on being called gallerists, a title that recognized where they stood around, rather their burden of selling the art) were hesitant to represent an undiscovered artist of such enormous talent, no matter how he numbered or titled his work. His prices (as high as the most established artists in his conformity district) would have brought him the fine income he had been assured he was owed by his friends and relatives.

To hold him over until the world realized his genius, he took a job as a "master painting teacher" in a nearby daycare center, married, secured a carriage loan, and then a mortgage. His first child, a girl he named Anathema was born later that week.


stapeliad said...

".......he took a job as a "master painting teacher" in a nearby daycare center..... "

Given this daycare context, the fence is appropriate. I don't think they had "collapsible play yards" back then.

The painter suffers...the viewer suffers...a vicious cycle. said...

Yes, I know you scrape with your knives. I even scrape with knives but some knives are made for painting. Some are made for scraping.

However... Now that I know the distinction between a gallerist and an art dealer I can use the term gallerist, with confidence,when appropriate.

AND I am just wondering ...Don't you think that the Rembrandts that were bought in his own were meant to look good on the wall of those nice little Dutch houses?Did Rembrandt call his work art or paintings? Just askin'.

willek said...

I just started an outdoor picture and placed a fence in it EXACTLY like the one in Aessearts's picture! But I swang mine around so it made a circle. If Aessaert put an open gate in his fence, would that be OK?
I loved the knife post and now I know what separates man from animals. Would a pig or a cricket ever think to reshape a tool to something he needed? No. Only humans are blessed with this trait.

Unknown said...

all of which makes me ponder the whole "master painter" thing.
I get emails, and see web ads for classes with "master painters". Who gave them this title? What does it really mean?

T Arthur Smith said...

Stape, did you hear about the new Lord of the Rings illustration competition? There are hundreds of entries, some really great... and there are a lot of duds. I bet if you looked at it, you might find another 100 dumb ideas for your encyclopedia. Here's a link:

Durinda Cheek, Fine Artist said...

But Stape, that's EXACTLY how it looked when I painted it! (Isn't that what we all hear from students?) It's easy to forget we can compose a painting when we are trying to paint something in front of us. Good example for us!

Lucy said...

Tis true, this fable of yours! Was the goverment school you speak of known as Yale or perhaps RISD?

Never I have I laughed out loud so hard while reading about art!

I also noticed that the trees are all the same shape, not like potatoes exactly, more like sticky rice balls. All in all,
good lessons explained in a jolly good way.

Stephanie Berry said...

Too funny!

James Gunter said...

Man, these posts bring back a lot of bad memories!

Years ago, I showed a plein air painting of mine to a local painter I know who is more experienced than I. He looked at my painting for a couple seconds and exclaimed, "Balls!"

"What?" I asked.

"Balls." he repeated.

Confused as to what he meant, and wondering if he had just gone nuts, I asked, "What do you mean?"

He then pointed out several shapes in my painting that were way too uniformly round, kind of like those potatoes you wrote about. Since then, I have done my best to avoid making paintings that could give anyone any reason to shout strange things!

Stapleton Kearns said...

This was a district operated daycare center with full rations and benefits.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I have a smaller, more flexible knife two. Sometimes when I scrape with a knife I hold it with both hands, more power!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Maybe I don't know. It might work.I have painted gates, sometimes they worked.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am a master painter. Some other people are too. Many however are not.

Stapleton Kearns said...

T Arthur Smith;
Thanks I will go check them out.I don't follow Star Wars myself, but I am sure they are very nice.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Durinda Cheek, Fine Artist;

Are you know longer the director?
That is the standard reply.You cannot observe good design into a painting!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks I am glad you are enjoying my little story.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Stephanie Berry ;

Stapleton Kearns said...

Jim G.;
That sounds like the same syndrome.