Reactor

People Can’t Stop Looking at Art

by Jillian Steinhauer on May 6, 2014

Here are some people looking at art in 1865:

Honoré Daumier, "Eh! bien en regardant ce tableau de près on finit par y découvrir des qualités, on voit que la couleur est bonne." (Well, if you look very closely, you might end up finding some quality! The color seems to be good.) (published in 'Le Charivari,' June 16, 1865), lithograph (image via Brandeis Institutional Repository)

Honoré Daumier, “Eh! bien en regardant ce tableau de près on finit par y découvrir des qualités, on voit que la couleur est bonne.” (Well! If we look at this painting closely, we might end up discovering some qualities, we see that the color is good.), published in ‘Le Charivari,’ June 16, 1865, lithograph (image via Brandeis Institutional Repository)

In 1900:

Georges Gaudy, "Societe Nationale des Aquarellistes et Pastellistes" (1900), lithograph (image via auctionzip.com)

Georges Gaudy, “Societe Nationale des Aquarellistes et Pastellistes” (1900), lithograph, 23 1/2 x 35 3/4 in (59.7 x 90.8 cm) (image via auctionzip.com)

In 2008:

(photo by Flickr user Cleavers)

(photo by Flickr user Cleavers)

And in 2013:

#BanksyNY in Tribeca (photo by Hrag Vartanian)

Banksy in Tribeca, October 2013 (photo by Hrag Vartanian)

We may have moved from magnifying glasses and paper brochures to smartphones, but otherwise not much has changed. That’s part of why I love going to see art: even when the work itself is boring, the people watching tends to be excellent. Especially at art fairs.

A side note, for those who don’t know him (he was new to me): Georges Gaudy (1872–1940) was a Belgian artist, poster maker, and champion cyclist — the proto-hipster, you might say. The wonderfully whimsical Art Nouveau poster shown here came to my attention via Poster Auctions International, which sold it this past Sunday. Here are a few more examples of his work.

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  • Jillian Steinhauer

    Great texts, both.

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