Friday, August 7, 2015

Getting Things Right

Recently, I was given a gift, a nice Facebook gift, when a young friend, who has a really cool job at an art auction house, connected me to a Christie’s article about paintings.

I took art classes in high school and college. I did some painting…but not all that much…so I knew writing about paintings in a mystery novel would be a stretch. I had to pay attention to books like The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro for painting terminology and descriptions of techniques, and carefully read anything I could find on Olof Krans. Even if I couldn’t directly use the information, I needed to understand it all.

Now, I had another good source. The Christie’s article was about the backs of paintings. Yes, the backs.

As museum visitors, we rarely get to see the backs of paintings. I can only think of one occasion where a Grant Wood painting was displayed on an easel in the middle of the room leaving the back exposed.

So, this article was a treat from the start:

“5 things you can learn from the back of a painting.
The most overlooked aspect of an artwork is by no means the least important, as specialist Tom Rooth explains.

“…What lurks beneath the back of a painting can often be as surprising as what is marked upon it. Though it’s incredibly rare, there have been cases where paintings have been found hidden behind other works — sometimes for hundreds of years, escaping the attention of galleries and auction houses. A loose lining, or an unusual run of nails can be a clue, though sometimes these secret masterpieces are only revealed when a work is reframed. It’s impossible to say why a work is hidden in this way: it may have been a way to store and preserve a work, or it might simply be that the frame was repurposed.
“Where reframing would be difficult, improvements in imaging technology have allowed experts to see through the top layers of a work to any original paintings or drawings below; it has not been uncommon for penniless artists to reuse canvases.”
There’s nothing like the feeling of being totally on target. The “I was sooo right” moment.

I savor it because…it doesn’t come by all that often.

To read the entire article go to:

1 comment:

  1. Am anxious to read all your posts, Mary. How goes it these days?