Thursday, April 22, 2010

Art Attack

When I was younger, I had this book, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The stories weren't remotely scary, but the pictures, sweet Jesus, the pictures haunt my dreams to this day. If you've ever seen this book, the bride chick with the hollowed-out eye sockets probably came screaming back into your memory just now, so it's perfectly fine if you may have wet your pants a little. If you've never seen it, basically the illustrations made otherwise idiotic stories kind of terrifying. If I remember correctly, one of the first stories was about a kid who found a severed toe sticking out of the ground, and then some giant tracks him down and says "You have my toe, now I'm going to eat you!" or something equally asinine. But then there's this picture of a gross little homunculus thing that looks like Quato from Total Recall in overalls and suddenly you sleep with the lights on for a month. Screw the giant, I was afraid the creepy farmer kid was going to dig up my toe. That's one of the strangest sentences I've ever written.

Anyway, there was a painter, Francis Bacon, who specialized in Scary Stories-style grotesquery. Here is one of his works from 1954, Figure with Meat (Head Surrounded by Sides of Beef), part of his 45-painting series "the Screaming Popes," based on a portrait of Pope Innocent X by Diego Velázquez in 1650.

Good old-fashioned nightmare fuel.

Okay, so that may not be your thing, but he's one of the most sought-after names on the market. In fact, in 2008, one of his paintings sold for $86.3 million, making it one of the most expensive painting ever sold. Even Sotheby's was surprised by the winning bid, as they had feared the recession would hurt the art market.

And actually, they were right. The collector who bought the painting initially had his eyes on several other pieces as well, including two by Rubens and three of a series by Edouard Manet. But even a filthy rich art collector couldn't afford all of that, so he finally decided on the Rubens, with Bacon, hold the Manet's.

Well, I hope you rubes learned something today. Not just about art, but about how far I'll go for a lame joke. Because as scary as the eye-socket bride chick is, she's nothing compared to the depths I went to just so I could work "hold the Manet's" into a post.

Speaking of art, check out my buddy Neil's blog. He does comic book art.

10 comments:

LL said...

Well played sir...

mr. schprock said...

Actually, I hear Francis Bacon's works are still a bargain in some middle eastern countries, offsetting the huge prices these same countries ask for Impressionist works. Even the vehicles they ship the paintings in are sold at a discount, especially if these vehicles are driven by surrealistic, punked-out girls. The result? A Turkey Bacon in a Dali-driven Van Goghs goes for less Monet.

Wait, give me another chance...

John said...

There's lame jokes, and then there's comatose jokes hooked up to life support. Pull the plug, man.

John said...

By the way, everything in that story is 100% true, except for the last two sentences. Those might be true as well, but if they are, it's just a remarkable coincidence.

LL said...

It's a remarkable coincidence that your buddy Neil does comic book art and that you designed the layout?

Wouldn't you know that as a fact?

John said...

Sigh...the last two sentences of the story about the guy that bought the Bacon painting, you silly monkey.

trinamick said...

I would so hang that picture in my basement. Or maybe in the shed, just above the butcher table. Very tasteful.

NYPinTA said...

I read this post last week and haven't gotten a decent nights sleep since.
Thanks.
Thanks a lot.

John said...

You read and you didn't comment? Did you forget about the orphans and the wild dogs?

Tracy said...

Those might be true as well, but if they are, it's just a remarkable coincidence.
china travel

Post a Comment