A surprise acquisition

Twenty minutes after seeing this painting by Charles Matton, I bought it. I will try to explain my thought process in this post.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

P1290034final

The same photo flipped upside down:

P1290034ud

$_57

2

22$_57

After turning down three solid candidates this month, I had my heart set on bidding on this wonderful portrait by John Graham-Gilbert of his wife:

134-2014613171027_original

This portrait is incredibly well executed–the star attraction of this painting–and throughout the canvas are interesting passages of brushwork that brought to mind Gilbert Stuart. I was preparing to accept the fact that this is a very large painting at 40″ x 50″, and that it is on stretched canvas. I thought that this one was plenty good enough to justify its size, unlike the triptych in the post below. However, like the Mater Dolorosa that I compared it to, this Matton portrait just demanded my attention, for the following reasons:

  • The price was fixed and in US dollars, and very affordable compared to what I was preparing to pay for the Graham-Gilbert portrait at auction in Portugal.
  • The painting was on my favorite material, oil on wooden panel, and more in line with paintings that I usually buy: small, intense works that demand close viewing.
  • Matton was from the middle of the 20th century, a period I felt that I was sorely lacking appreciation for. The brief research that I did before making my decision impressed me the more that I looked into what he did–movies, paintings, drawings, dioramas, and even a close friendship with Jean Baudrillard, who wrote a number of prefaces to Matton’s exhibitions. \
  • I suppose the kicker was that this work was documented as being in a series of three on Matton’s website in the period of 1951-1956 (the nude on the right sold at auction several years ago), and is probably in his retrospective book, Enclosures:

Picture 2

image

All of this meant that, while Graham-Gilbert’s portrait is beautiful, Matton’s portrait is beautiful, mysterious, challenging, and essential. By the way, when I first saw Matton’s painting, the first thing that popped into my head was this portrait by Michael Hussar:

michael-hussar-03

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s