Market dominance

Art has turned in a commodity as almost everything else, which in itself is not so strange. Market forces have always been present; somebody had to pay for the artistic work either the state as in the ancient Greece, or the Church which needed the embellishment of its cathedrals. Thus, the creations of art enhanced the religious feelings of the predominant ignorant congregations. Later on as clients the kings and aristocracy appeared followed by the bourgeoisie. This was anyway a relatively moderate market and the customers were more or less sophisticated. However the real expansion of the market occurred when the standard of life improved and the masses of employees started to make a good living and had enough means to purchase art objects at relatively cheap prices. The art objects were converted to wares, the market dictated the prices. In turn, the artists were trying to accommodate to the rules of market, rather than to their own artistic taste and intuition. People interested in art objects whatever the reason are following these trends. Those who purchase art, whose artistic values have been proven by time passage, need huge amounts of money tendency which matured during the 20th century is in a certain way related to the to be spent *; that is why instead of being judged by taste the art articles are judged as investment objects and purchased mainly not by art lovers but by investors. The investment value of art is something which appeared quite recently. This approach subordinates the artists to follow not their own creative impulses but the markets urge. The pop art, and all its current modifications, covering the huge world market trying to satisfy a multitude of clients, bears in its bosom inherently degenerative and suicidal features. This because both the sense of beauty and truthfulness are distorted. The tendency which matured during the 20th century is in a certain way related to the socialist ideology and the growing activity of the leftists movement. The latter rejects capitalist system, and considers suspicious science. It bears in its bosom the spirit of nihilism. These so called "progressive" intellectuals oppose the capitalist society and look for some kind of a new utopia. It is remarkable that the attempts to invent a perpetual mobile , or to discover a new utopia, are so deeply rooted in human mind that no evidence opposing it is accepted. (The word progressive used in this connection has been so many times compromised in the 20th century, out of political reasons, that it acquired a connotation of Orwell 's new language). Nowadays many artists just follow the current trend; the necessity to learn even their own trade - drawing- is not any more considered as important as the freedom of expression ** However one should not be blind folded by the market forces and the epigones trying to satisfy it. The life surrounding us is extremely manifold and the artists are trying to catch all its aspects and shades, whatever the means of expression. However the tendency of the simplification often looses itself in formalistic expression void of aesthetic content. Even in practicing the abstract and deformed way of painting there are artists who has discovered a healthy approach. The typical features of this approach is the satirical and ironical way to present events and persons as does Schemjakin. Although judged by the traditional views as distorted and ugly, his colorful paintings discover the hidden truth of the negative side of the human beings.
*)As a curiosity there will be given the purchase prices of some first class canvass of the great masters purchased during the reign of Catherine the 2nd . The information is found in the "Notes of fine arts in Russia by Jacob Schtelin" made in the middle of 18th century. The given prices are converted to the approximate current equivalents in US dollars. Rembrand "Neeman in front of the Prophets Elisee" for 4200 USD ; Rembrandt"Pontifare wife" for 7000 USD; Raphael "Maria with child" for 35,000 USD; Leonardo da Vinci "The saint family" for 70,000 USD; Van Deik "Salvator mundi" for 10,000 USD. I would not dare to asses the current market prices for such specimens of art but I can guess that at least a factor of one hundred times would hardly be enough.

**) Recently there was a short notice in newspapers, that one of the leading London museums tried to acquire a painting made by some banker, who was financially supporting the museum. His abstract painting, according to the opinion of some "experts", was considered both as original and artistic. Finally it appeared that this work of art was made in about 15 minutes by the banker and a child. Could something like this happen during the Renaissance times? In this respect his art is somewhat akin Goya's paintings. The emotional and even aesthetic appeal of this way of expression is not at all inferior to the classic approach. According to Schopenhauer our pleasure in nature, as in poetry or painting, is derived from contemplation of the object without admixture of personal will. "Art alleviates the ills of life by showing us the eternal and universal behind the transitory and the individual", by these words W. Durant summarizes Shopenhauer's views. Art, as it was already mentioned above, is by definition elitist because in order to discover and to present a new aesthetic value a great talent and even genius is needed. To produce mass articles an artisan is sufficient. The further simplification of art is hardly the way for the future. New approaches are needed but the goal of art is the same as it was defined by the urge to create aesthetically satisfying truthful images of whatever catches the imagination of the artist.

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