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If you had a giant fine-art portrait of yourself, what would you do with it?

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:46 am
An old friend recently got back in touch. She was reminded of me in part because she recently ran into the mother of an old boyfriend of mine. (Following so far?) Ex-bf's mother mentioned that she sees me every day because she has a large portrait of me up in her living room.

I know the one she means. Ex-bf and I were art majors and lived together, and so we frequently used each other as models. (There are many more images of me by him than of him by me, though, because I switched majors about a year into our relationship in no small part because it was so dispiriting to look from my easel to his everyday. I was OK, he was amazing.) This is a large (maybe 3' by 4'?) detailed graphite drawing from a photo of me that he took, really beautifully done.

I thought for a minute, "hey, I want that! I wonder if she would be willing to sell it to me." Then my second thought was "but what would I DO with it?" There's something kind of creepy about hanging it over the fireplace; I could put it in the bedroom maybe but again that strikes me as kind of weird.

I have no idea if ex-bf's mom would even be willing to sell, I just wanted to be sure I even wanted it before opening up negotiations.

What do you think?

edit: I'm not naked (in this one), it's a closeup (and clothed). Mostly just face. Which at that scale means a HUGE face.
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:49 am
couldn't do it, wouldn't care who painted it, it would seem creepy
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:50 am
of course it could be worse, apparently derek jeter has a portrait of himself as a gladiator in his bedroom
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engineer
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:51 am
@sozobe,
I doubt she would sell it. If she has it prominently displayed in her home, she really likes it. It has sentimental value since it was done by his son and maybe she has fond memories of you as well. If I were in the same situation, I would express admiration for the painting and say something to the effect "if you ever grow tired of it and want to sell, let me know."

If I had something like this of myself or my wife, I would hang it in the family room along with all the other family photos. If it really rises to the level of fine art, it could go anywhere.
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:55 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

edit: I'm not naked (in this one),


NICE! Twisted Evil Mr. Green
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:57 am
@maporsche,
(Sudden, horrible, thought -- maybe ex-bf's mom is referring to one of the naked ones. Ack.)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 08:04 am
@sozobe,
Yikes. I have so many negative reactions to this. Not sure I even know where to start.

Or maybe I do.

First, I don't much like artwork with people in my living spaces (or anyone else's), it kinda creeps me out). Secondly, I don't even really like small photos that I'm recognizable in, in my living spaces. So, a giant piece of art with me (or any person in it) in a living space - double major ick for me.

~~~

In regard to one of the other factors, the woman has a piece of art done by her son hanging in her living room. That means she has significant attachment to it. People don't just plop any old thing on their living room walls. I'd be seriously taken aback if someone asked about buying some of the artwork I've got in my living room.

Maybe you could ask your friend to sort of keep an ear out for Ex-bf's mother making downsizing plans - that might be the time to make a move (if you want to make a move on the drawing).
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 08:08 am
@sozobe,
Quote:
I thought for a minute, "hey, I want that! I wonder if she would be willing to sell it to me." Then my second thought was "but what would I DO with it?" There's something kind of creepy about hanging it over the fireplace; I could put it in the bedroom maybe but again that strikes me as kind of weird.


My hunch (as the painting is prominently displayed in her home) is that she's attached to it & would be unlikely to want to sell it.

But if I did have such a piece, I'd probably display it in a more private part of my home, like a study perhaps.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 08:31 am
It was one of several though, not the only one displayed -- it sounds like he doesn't have many of his pieces with him and he created a LOT of art in the course of a four-year degree and a two-year graduate course. Plus I don't know what he's produced since then.

This old friend's ex-husband (still following?) was the subject of another painting in ex-bf's mom's living room , that one is huger (and absolutely amazing, an oil, seriously museum-quality at least technically if a little chilly).

Anyway, IF I got to the point of asking if I could buy the drawing of me I'd definitely do it carefully and wouldn't push if there was resistance. But if I don't want it, I won't even ask.

Consensus here so far seems to be mostly no, except for engineer. (It really is fine art, he's a serious talent. Talented in music too though and went that way, career-wise.)
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 02:11 pm
@ehBeth,
I'm the near opposite of ehBeth on all this.

Not a point in ehBeth's post, most of the paintings up in my house are by definition for sale - on my to do list is a new series of photos of them to send to art dealers around here.

I haven't been in many paintings myself, but there was one big one (that one not a nude, heh - I finally tossed the nude self portrait that was a class assignment, something like 3' wide and 6' tall pastel on paper, and I never did hang it anywhere...). The big painting, 4 x 5 feet, was done by my business partner in my first gallery back in the seventies. A few months before she died (she knew she was terminal) she asked me if I wanted it and I said no. We had a tiny house, I hadn't fixed up the garage yet, it was not a good storage place, yadda yadda.) Now I'm sorry I said no, dammit. Not because I want it, even now, but because it would have meant something for her for me to have it. Dumb I was.

I've done a few paintings of friends, one in particular I like from a photo I took at a girlfriends' birthday party type lunch where the one throwing the party told us about this new dance step, the hustle. So we all learned it, thus the photo by me of three of them dancing. I can still hear that music in the background. That's on one of my bedroom walls and isn't at all creepy to me.
On my bedroom walls - two big nude portraits from my advanced painting classes; two small paintings of friends including the one I just mentioned; and.. now this is a little creepy, but it amuses me, an old photo of my grandmother in, probably, the 1890's. It all pleases me. I put paintings anywhere I want, and often change them around. And on photos, my hallway is chock full of photos from my life, both of people and of landscapes.. plus a little art work.

so, I think we're all different - and I would not be freaked at seeing a portrait of someone in the house in the living room. From comments on a past thread, though, perhaps by Boomer, I remember a lot of people are uncomfortable about that.
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engineer
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 02:40 pm
@sozobe,
I had another thought. If there are several works of you out there, you could mention to mom that upon seeing that spectacular work in her living you wondered if your artist friend had any of you in storage he would be willing to sell you. That establishes that you value the painting and that you are willing to pay for it. If she decides she wants a change, that should let her know you would be interested without freaking her out. Who knows, there might be a similar piece in a shed somewhere.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 02:45 pm
@sozobe,
Have you considered donating it or auctioning it for charity?
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 02:52 pm
@tsarstepan,
I don't think soz can auction off a drawing that belongs to someone else (and is in their living room).
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 03:01 pm
@engineer,
Interesting idea, engineer.
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Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 03:19 pm
Only people who have an ancestral hall should hang portraits:

http://www.capesthorne.com/my_media/hall/Hall-2-L.jpg
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 03:24 pm
@Green Witch,
Sozlet might really value that portrait years down the line in her ancestral hall.
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 03:31 pm
@sozobe,
I have mixed reactions. On the one hand, it can be seen as somewhat narcissistic. On the other, good art is good art.

We have family portraits made occasionally, and we hang them on the wall in addition to putting up pics of our kids. Then again, none of these portraits are "giant" or "huge".
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 03:49 pm
I've another bias.. I love big portrait paintings, and by big I mean several feet by several feet. I don't think of soz's example as particularly large. On the other hand, where such a thing could go would depend to me on the room, the colors, the circumstances. An outstanding portrait in my memory is Velasquez' Pope Innocent X, which is installed in the Doria Pamphilj gallery in Rome in a small room. It's big, the colors are rich reds, the room is, if I remember correctly, kind of a light greyed blue green. Even the floor in that place is gorgeous.. Anyway, big portrait, small room. Some of the artists who showed at our gallery did big portraits and they can be wonderful paintings. Whether one goes in a featured place in a living room, at the focal point at the end of the stairs.. or a nook - depends on the painting and the place. Hmm, I'll have to dig out photos of my old palisades park series. One, of two older women sitting talking (was it 4 x 5 or 5 x 6?) sits on a wall by a big piano... (I used to ask people to send me photos of a painting in its new home).

Again, a matter of opinion. I'll just say, own your place, even if you rent.
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tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 03:54 pm
@sozobe,
If not for you, perhaps it will make a lovely historical heirloom for your great grand children and their grand children and so on. You should try to obtain it if it's as amazing as you make it out to be.
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sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 04:57 pm
@engineer,
Do you really think asking would freak her out? It seems fairly normal to me to be interested in a piece of art with yourself as the subject -- I mean, people pay a lot of money to get portraits done. I definitely wouldn't put any pressure on her, so where is the freaking?

If I did it (again, IF), it would be something like:

"Hi ___! ____ contacted me recently [some general chatter]. She mentioned that you have a portrait of me by ___ -- is it that big pencil drawing?"

I was going to write more but really that's where I'd start I think -- general chatting and then finding out which portrait it even is, and more general chatting. That'd start a dialog and I could get a read on where she stands from that, probably. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if she offered it to me if I brought it up (but wouldn't count on that either). (If it's hers to offer, which I also don't know.)

One thing I'm more likely to do is contact the ex (we have a sporadic correspondence) and ask him if he has the photo that the drawing was based on -- I have hardly any pictures of myself from that stretch and the photo itself was nice. (And something like 5"X7".) Could also ask if he has images (computer images, jpgs) of the various pieces that I modeled for, just to have 'em, not to display.

I don't generally have a problem with people-as-art though, I have some favorite sozlet pics (as in, not just cute but visually interesting in some way) up in public places.
 

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