Posts Tagged ‘Gary Schwartz’

Damien Hirst (& Johannes Vermeer) at the Rijksmuseum

January 6th, 2009

Gary Schwartz, one of the most knowledgeable experts of Dutch 17th c. art, briefly mulled over the fashion of major museums who lend themselves to the cause of contemporary artists like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. Read his article.

Like it or not, Hirst sealed a pact with the Rijksmuseum  (where four of Vermeer’s works are permanently housed) to exhibit his world-famous diamond encrusted skull along with the artist’s personal selection of sixteen 17th-century paintings from the Rijksmuseum collection.

Not content, the Rijksmuseum also dedicated a special website to Hirst’s work that must have been meant to work somewhat like a lighten rod. It democratically invites all opinion to efficiently channel the negative away. And, yes, in a clean hi-tech way.

I propose Vermeer’s macabre passage above (a detail of his Allegory of Faith) hoping it might constitute proof he was on par with his English colleague at least is one respect. Most of us know that Vermeer died penniless … and as Marcel Proust wrote,“ obliged to begin over again a score of times a piece of work the admiration aroused by which will matter little to his worm-eaten body.”

Hirst need not tremble for his own fate, costing £14 million to produce, his skull was sold to anonymous investors for its asking price of £50 million, the highest price ever paid for a single work by a living artist.