Ever notice how many artists paint people admiring art? So that we observe the observer? There are quite a few, as you’ll soon see. So many that I felt it deserved investigation and I found that despite the commonality of the subject, there are vast and numerous differences.
Paintings Of People Looking At Paintings
Besides the obvious inherent irony, it’s an unusual way of observing two pieces of art. The one created by the artist, the other being the piece of art within the painting. Sometimes the latter is recognizable or quite well known within the art world (e.g. Jurick’s Modigliani) and other times, barely discernible or seemingly random.
This subject is explored in multiple mediums; watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel and more. In addition to the medium in which the piece was done, the art being viewed within the art also varies from paintings to sculpture and from indoors to outdoors.
Two artists who have mastered this particular subject, but in very different manners, are Karin Jurick, and Richard Whincop, an English artist living in Glasgow. With distinctly different painting styles and almost opposing interpretations of the interaction of art and observer, both have managed to create equally beautiful and captivating works of art.
In the majority of Karin’s art patron paintings, the observer is held in rapt attention with the piece of art, often oblivious to that around them. They are rarely engaged in conversation and often alone and undisturbed. Some even seem to be art students, studious or inquisitive. Those that have more than one viewer are often visibly discussing the art. The paintings seem intimate, almost private and the viewer becomes voyeur.
Karin, who truly is one of my personal favorite artists of all time, is incredibly prolific and has such an accomplished body of work, I can only show you a small sample below. In addition to her extensive collection of ‘art patron’ work, she has many subjects and themes that warrant viewing.
Yet in Richard Whincop’s work, the art is sometimes so dismissed by the patron, it appears as a backdrop for the figure. While some of his figures are actually contemplative and inquisitive, others appear merely bored. Some are even using their cell phones, whispering to one another or are turned away from the work. Despite the disregard for the artwork within the artwork, Whincop still treats both with the greatest respect. We aren’t angry at these people for ignoring the art, but instead, so drawn by his ethereal style, we are intrigued as to why, creating an alternative narrative.
Below are just a few pieces of Richard Whincop‘s work, links to more follow the paintings.
In addition to the two accomplished painters shown above, below are just a few of the many talented artists from the Daily Painters Gallery who are painting this particular subject.
Presented in alphabetical order.
One of my personal favorites, the prolific Edward B. Gordon:
To see the complete works of the talented artists above, go to dailypainters.com and you can search by name to find their own websites and galleries.
above: even the cover of New Yorker magazine had a similar piece.
Since this post we have been collecting more paintings of people looking at paintings and made an entire Pinterest board of them