The Value of art
Printfest is so good at putting an art lover like me face to face with real artists; real people who expend effort making art. They are compelled to it; the intent is pure. I find this a wonderful, genuine, human experience. I connect with artists and with their art. Sometimes that connection is so strong that I want to buy the work.
And this is all very much in contrast with so much of my experience with the London art market – and the wider global market in art. So often it’s about money. Art here is about investment – a store of financial value or an object for speculation. Art dealers advise wealthy clients on investment pieces. And around all this bare money making is the froth of conspicuous consumption and fashion.
At Printfest I buy art and I am happy to pay the money the artist wants – and to stand in the queue to pay, with other people who have found a real piece of art that has so taken them that they want to pay a decent sum to the artist, to have it and enjoy it at home.
What’s going on at Printfest has value.
Listen to Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra is a baseball legend in the USA – famous as a catcher, a manager and maybe the most quotable American of all time: ’it ain’t over till it’s over’ is one of his. My favourite is this one: ‘You can observe a lot just by watching’. I think that’s the essence of what’s going on with me and art. I like to look – to be dragged into the story. To be made to think a little bit harder. I think you can see lots of people coming to Printfest going through that process. It’s cool.
From the Canter Holland Collection ~ Modern take on The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp by Rembrandt, very faithful reproduction of the characters involved in the original but now focussing on a car engine instead of a dead body! The Anatomy Lesson, Fine Art photograph by Freddy Fabris.
The Dutch Golden Century was art for everyone
I’m Dutch. We love art. When people think about the art of the Dutch Masters now they sometimes miss the truth of that work in our culture. Holland was the first Republic of modern times, We made ourselves rich by trade in the seventeenth century. And when the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker made money in that era in Holland, they bought art. The Art of Vermeer and Rembrandt was for everyone. Indeed many of those artists, like Rembrandt, were the ones who started the whole art print movement – making art that everyone could afford to hang at home or at work.
From the Canter Holland Collection ~ One of the office pieces, this one is by a Pakistani artist based in Islamabad and commissioned via Instagram. We sent money to Pakistan and hoped a picture would turn up, it did, shows you that you can trust humans! Untitled oil on canvas by Mohsin Shaikh.
Pleasure = value
We have a financial services business and I would put it to you very seriously that the economic value I get from art can be measured in pleasure. Human pleasure may be something you don’t place an exact value on – so what? We have various offices and art in our offices makes them spaces that I enjoy being in. It is a pleasure to buy the art and put it there – and a pleasure to see it.
From the Canter Holland Collection ~ This etching by Mychael Barratt hangs in our London office, you will find something new every time you look at it. Title: A London Map of Days.
Don’t be the richest man in the graveyard !
Why Canter Holland get involved with Printfest is not because we think we will get more clients for our business. It is because we like to be involved with something that is so very good at connecting good artists with people. And you know I think the moment when I, like so many other art lovers, take the plunge and buy a print, I think that we’re very clearly giving ourselves a pleasure, spending some of the money we have accumulated. The Dutch phrase here is ‘don’t be the richest man in the graveyard’.
From the Canter Holland Collection ~ This is a genuine quote by Warren Buffet and we got local designer Tommy Deja from www.visualetiquette.co.uk to play around with the way it is shown. I like the use of the permanent moss in the word ‘Growth’ which emphasises the longevity of the growth we seek.