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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

Howard Behrens, Seaside

Howard Behrens, Seaside

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

by Jim Finlay
Finlay Fine Art
jim_finlay@telus.net

Chapter 42. The Case of the Seductive Souvenir, or Cruise Ship Art

Yes, I must admit, my wife and I are part of that demographic that favours the convenience and relaxed atmosphere of cruise ship travel. The opportunity to visit exotic locales, explore island environments in sunny climes and interact with different cultures – all without the trouble and malaise associated with airline travel – is especially appealing to many of us.

I have, on occasion, in the company of my ever-patient and long-suffering wife, attended onboard art auctions. These I have found to be little more than an excuse to involve passengers in an activity designed to give them the vicarious experience, however modest, of the notoriety and excitement associated with being involved in the high-priced world of art auctions.

Those who supply artworks for sale at onboard auctions and in onboard art galleries seem to have taken a lesson from the marketers of work by “souvenir painters.” They are the artists who specialize in rendering urban scenes of some of the great cities of Europe, among them London, Amsterdam, Madrid and, especially, Paris and Venice. Souvenir painters have long produced, and continue to produce, works that are designed to evoke “joyful nostalgia” – those feelings associated with a visit to a particular locale and the enjoyment that one presumably experienced there as an enthusiastic tourist.

To accommodate this “joyful nostalgia,” it appears that operators of some cruise ship lines have extended their portfolios to enhance those souvenir buying opportunities by marketing paintings of similar nostalgic composition and intent in onboard auctions or art galleries. To supply the increasing demand for such images, some artists have set up studios in well-frequented cruise ship destinations, such as Capri, Saint-Tropez and Santorini, where they focus on painting village scenes and the surrounding environment, almost exclusively to target the cruise ship tourist market. Most of these images follow a particular compositional format and stylistically evoke an Impressionistic technique – one that incorporates the use of bold, bright and regionally familiar colour. Artists such as Howard Behrens, Barbara McCann and Steve Barton, to name only a few, are likely familiar to regular travellers on the cruise ship circuit.

These images are sold as signed and numbered limited-edition serigraphs that have been “hand embellished,” meaning that paint (usually acrylic) has been added to highlight certain areas of the image and to give the serigraph the look and feel of a finished painting. The piece shown here, by Howard Behrens, is marked “AP 43/75”. This means it is an artist’s proof, numbered 43 from an edition of 75 artist proofs. One wonders why there are 75 artist’s proofs when usually artist proofs number five or so.

Essentially, what this approach does is marry two different media (the serigraph and the painting) with a directed marketing strategy, with the intent of satisfying the need for joyful nostalgia documentation.

This practice, of course, seems to work well for the targeted audience, for whom both nostalgia and memory are important.

Next: The Case of Leni and the Nuba

 Sat, Jun 7, 2014