Saturday, October 21, 2006

Does Wealth and Fame Cause Artists To Decline in Their Artistic Endeavors?

We have all heard stories about famous artists who struggled in poverty yet continued to create art that was outstanding. Names like Vincent Van Gogh and Amedeo Modigliani come to mind. Art spanning the length of their careers has continued to inspire others decade after decade. However, there are also famous artists who became very wealthy during their lifetime from the sell of their art who seem to have lost their artistic flare for exploration. While their wealth increased their skill seemed to deteriorate. The question at hand... did their approach to artistic creation decline as their fame and wealth increased? Or is it just an issue of their personality and work ethic.

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'Apparition of the Visage of Aphrodite of Cnide in a Landscape' Salvador Dali

Take Salvador Dali for example. During his years of 'struggle' he created images that have continued to speak to observers from one decade to the next. He had a great passion for his work during his early career. However, most critics agree that his later work, after he became extremely wealthy and concerned with financial gain, seemed to decline as far as the artistic message he was conveying. I've even heard people suggest that his work became stagnate or dull compared to his pre-wealth art. If this is so, do you think it was due to him feeling overly comfortable with his financial situation? Or was it simply a matter of personality and work ethic.

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'Two Doves with Wings Spread' Pablo Picasso

After all, artist like Picasso continued to develop in new directions long after becoming overly wealthy. The same goes for Monet. Were these artists more interested in artistic exploration than artists who seemed to pursue wealth over the direction of their art? Or were they simply not blinded by the wealth they had acquired?

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'Hymn' Damien Hirst

I'm sure you can discover contemporary artists of wealthy status who have started to repeat themselves or who have revealed a lack of direction with their art. For example many have stated that Damien Hirst has lost direction with his art (Though some would say he never had one.) Critics have claimed that his recent work is nothing more than 'throwaway one-liners'. So what do you think? Is wealth linked to a decline in artistic endeavors? Or is all this negative press simply the work of critics who strive to bash any wealthy artist they can in order to advance their own careers?

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

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