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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

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

by Jim Finlay
James Finlay Fine Art Appraisals
jim_finlay@telus.net

Chapter 14. The Case of Being: Under the Table with Thomas Anfield

The work had came up for auction upon the demise of the original owner, who was an important, well respected supporter and collector of Thomas Anfield's work.


Thomas Anfield, Me Under the Table, acrylic on canvas, (c. 1995), 43 x 43 inches, signed “Anfield ” front, lower centre

My client had purchased the painting and I was engaged to facilitate the appraisal for insurance purposes. Generally speaking, replacement cost, used to determine value for insurance purposes, the amount of money the client would need to replace the picture with a painting of similar size, medium and subject matter by the same artist.

On the back of the canvas in bold black lettering are the words “Me Under the Table”, and the artist's signature, “Anfield,” appears on the front, lower centre.

The title of the work, Me Under the Table derives from memories of childhood when as the young Anfield was fond of sitting under the family dining room table. Suggestions of table legs, floor surfaces, carpet, tablecloth and a loaf of bread form an illusionary space which invites the viewer to enter this voyeuristic other world. The placement of a central image of a stylized table leg may allude to a spiritual component as suggested by a crucifixion tableau.

The work references those recollections and in a more universal sense, suggests a whimsical association to "being under the table,” as in “I could drink you under the table”. The piece could also be read as a visual metaphor for the constant struggle artists in our present day society contend with in an effort to secure their daily bread – which is often above and perhaps just out of their reach.

In a conversation with the artist, Anfield mentioned that he viewed this piece as a very important precursor to his latest body of work, Paintings From the Invisible University, as it engaged some of the issues he is presently addressing, particularly those relating to memory and emotion.

In Mexico, Anfield had participated in several mural projects and was very impressed and influenced by the use of textures in the work of Mexican muralists, especially Rufino Tamayo.

This work is from the mid-1990s and the image size is approximately 43 x 43 inches. It is of acrylic on canvas with a textured ground created by adding sawdust into the middle layer of gesso. Gesso is the white primer used to prepare the canvas surface to receive and to separate the paint layer from the canvas to prevent the oils in oil-based paint from percolating into the canvas and eventually causing deterioration. It is also used to prime the canvas to receive an acrylic paint layer, however, due to the benign chemical composition of the binder (Rhoplex) used in acrylics, its separation properties are not as critical as in oil-based paints.

The addition of sawdust not only creates a textured ground but also reduces the reflective properties of the gesso by trapping more reflective light in the gesso layer, and thus helps to create the suggestion of a mural on a cementicious ground. Anfield's clever use of colour further helps to create the ‘presence’ of a mural.

Next: The Case of being at the End of the Storm with Loren Adams

 Fri, Jun 6, 2008