Thursday, March 23, 2017

A surprise in a book

I've been reading a fascinating book called "The Newspaper in Art," which traces the long history of artists using it either as subject matter or as raw material.  Although artists were incorporating images of "news" publications as early as the 16th century, the Impressionists were the ones who really went to town, painting all kinds of people reading papers in their daily life.

Paul Cezanne, The Artist's Father, 1866 

Mary Cassatt, The Artist's Mother, 1878

The Cubists also loved newspapers, but they cut them up and pasted the pieces into their paintings as a clever way to achieve double meaning.  The paper could represent a shape, and at the same time the newspaper story could reference an idea or event.

Pablo Picasso, Guitar and Wine Glass, 1912

I had a great time reading the book, which consisted of three separate sections, each written by a different commentator.  One of the writers decided to wind up his section with a kind of miscellaneous discussion of how modern newspapers have been affected by art, which I thought was a kind of lame non sequitur that didn't really hold water, but I was getting to the end so I dutifully read it anyway....

... and was surprised to find the guy talking about my father!

I'm not sure that any other reader of this book found much of interest in this paragraph -- it doesn't really have much to do with fine art -- but I liked it.


  1. Just been to Tate Modern looking at how Rauschenberg used newspapers in his work!

  2. And with the internet, and massive amounts of content available on every flat surface that can be electrified, newspapers are heading the way of cuneiform tablets. Which is a bit sad as sitting on the porch with a newspaper and a cup of coffee is a very pleasant way to spend a morning. Or, about 20 minutes given the size of our newspaper.

    It's hard to use a tablet in art. Can't cut pieces out and put in a new context.

    Which reminds me of this painting from That Is Priceless.

  3. Thanks for another interesting and informative blog post! Very cool about your dad. Seems your journey into using newspaper print for poetry is leading you into new territory.

  4. What fun to find this reference to your dad! He must have been well-known in the world of typography.

    I found that passage interesting, as I used to do page layout for the Chicago Sun-Times. I saw so many changes in the world of typesetting (I started with ruler, T square and wax!) I'd like to read this book. Glad newspapers are being preserved in some way!

    Thanks for sharing another interesting post.