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CURRENT COLUMN

The Case of Dubious Due Diligence
The Case of Dubious Due Diligence

The Case of the Olympic Posters
The Case of the Olympic Posters

The Case of the Solitary Surrealist
The Case of the Solitary Surrealist

The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt
The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt

The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity
The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity

The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys
The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys

The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard
The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard

The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910
The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of the Archangel Michael Defeating Satan

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2

The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light
The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light

The Case of Leni and the Nuba
The Case of Leni and the Nuba

The Case of the Seductive Souvenir
The Case of the Seductive Souvenir

The Case of the Irish Surrealist
The Case of the Irish Surrealist

The Case of the Developing Dalí
The Case of the Developing Dalí

The Case of Nano-D Technology
The Case of Nano-D Technology

The Case of Dabatable Donations
The Case of Debatable Donations

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of the Long-tailed Monkey

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of Edgar Heap of Birds

Silent Song
The Case of the Silent Song

Aficionado
The Case of Alex and the Art Aficionado

Portrait
The Case of the Privacy of the Publicity Photo

Potter
The Case of the Potter's Portraits

The Case of the Coy Cornelius Krieghoff

The Case of the Political Portraitist

The Case of the Reconsidered Revolution

The Case of the Anabiotic Abbey

The Case of the Phoney Picasso

The Case of Setsuko Piroche

The Case of being on the Forest Edge with Vern Simpson

The Case of Being at the End of the Storm with Loren Adams

The Case of Being: Under the Table with Thomas

The Case of Wyland's Whales on Walls

The Case of A.Y. Jackson's Smart River (Alaska)

The Case of Red Fish with Blue Breasts

The Case of Looe Poole

The Case of Camaldoli

The Case of MS

The Case of the Misattributed Emily Carrs

The Case of the Doubtful Dürer

The Case of the Purloined Picasso

The Case of the Defrocked Duchess of Devonshire

The Case of the First Wife

The Case of the Dodford Priory

The Case of the Unknown Actor

Art Services & Materials


Confessions Back

Beatrice Findlay, Blue Shore

Beatrice Findlay, Blue Shore (1996), oil on canvas

Practical Art History
(or Confessions of a Fine Art Appraiser)

by Jim Finlay
Finlay Fine Art
jim_finlay@telus.net

Chapter 45. The Case of Cruise Ship Art, Part 2

Visual art as a form of cultural production speaks to the sophistication of a society that encourages and embraces the importance of art production.

Cruise ship art culture is vigorously promoted by cruise ship lines, as evidenced by the very popular on-board art auctions and the placement of original artworks throughout the vessels. In this way, cruise ship companies can demonstrate their commitment to the visual arts, using this as a means to attract customers who, for their part, seek to demonstrate their aesthetic appreciation of artworks as a reflection of their sophistication, good taste and often wealth. These works – “cultural signifiers” – represent an important element of a marketing strategy targeted at those presumed to be inclined to appreciate and purchase on-board artworks.

As an art appraiser, I should refrain from taking cruise ship vacations because, more often than not, I become enmeshed in “controversies” of my own making. Here is a case in point.

Recently, while waiting for an elevator on a cruise ship bound for Hawaii, I found myself standing in front of an oil-on-canvas painting. It appeared to be a diptych. A brass plaque mounted to the right of the painting identified it as Blue Shore by Beatrice Findlay. Most of the elevator lobbies and stairwells on board were enlivened with original artworks, mostly paintings by well-known artists. On closer inspection (I couldn’t help it; my professional curiosity got the better of me), I noticed that the painting was hung upside down: the artist’s name and the copyright symbol were clearly wrong side up in the top right-hand corner. As I was viewing the painting, the elevator doors opened and out stepped a group of people, among them a middle-aged woman who, on noticing me there, approached and said in mid-stride, “My granddaughter could do that with a bunch of crayons.”

“Oh, is your granddaughter an artist?” I politely retorted. She did not reply and just continued walking.

On my return to Vancouver, I emailed Beatrice Findlay, who I knew was born in Canada and lives in Los Angeles. I sent her a photo of the painting and inquired about it. (I also got her permission to reproduce the image here.) Findlay confirmed that Blue Shore was indeed hung upside down and that, furthermore, it had been cropped, losing about five inches across the top, likely in the course of being made to fit an available frame. The painting was one of several done for the cruise ship’s show lounge in 1996. The cruise ship line was sold to a competitor in 2002 – a new owner, it seems, with a perfunctory commitment to original artwork.

It makes one wonder about the value of visual culture. In this case, it would seem that cruise ship management sees the presence of original art as a means of enhancing the aesthetic aspect of the cruise ship experience, and therefore as a strategy for attracting customers. Yet, if that’s so, then I think the cruise ship company should, at the very least, make the effort to hang pictures in public spaces properly and to retain the integrity of the originals. Wouldn’t that honouring of the artists’ intentions demonstrate a commitment to the true aesthetic appreciation necessary to attract art-loving customers?

Next: The Case of St. Michael Defeating the Devil

 Sun, Feb 8, 2015