It also turns out that people overseas are interested in the phrase "Three is a magic number." I apparently titled a post this on Thursday, August 10th, 2006. I'd forgotten about it. Here it is again, with the interesting results of a poll that concluded the post.
According to John Canaday, "painting is a triple experience --visual, emotional, and intellectual." He wrote this in his Realism portfolio for the Metropolitan Seminars in Art.
Realistic"Harnett's The Old Violin is the kind of realistic painting the eager but unenlightened beginner encounters with relief. He knows that Harnett must be good because, after all, museums and collectors covet his work. But at the same time it is possible to enjoy Harnett without having to wonder what his art is all about. His pictures are guaranteed to be good, yet at the same time they are enjoyable at face value. In short, they are safe"
The Yellow Violin our hypothetical beginner may feel a little insecure. He may find the picture attractive enough in its way, but it doesn't look as if it had been hard enough to do. Still, it is not too puzzling. You can tell what the images are supposed to represent even if they are out of kilter."
Abstraction"But Braque's abstraction is another matter altogether. It looks confused, pointless, inept, and even unfinished."
I love this Metropolitan Seminars in Art Series. You can find the books (published in 1958) at yard sales all across America this weekend. These statements are from Canaday's splash page, his introduction. He is setting his readers up for an observation that I take for granted today: ". . .the two paintings that are closest to one another as far as the artist's approach is concerned, the two that can be enjoyed on most nearly the same basis are the two that seem most unlike to the layman. The very realistic Old Violin and the highly abstract Musical Forms are first cousins."