Some people who think artists
are temperamental (or any other conflicting character manifestation)
look for explanations in genealogy.
an artist with conflicts in his/her heredity, they say, and you’ll
find the makings of a great, turbulent artist. The idea is mostly
hokum, but some examples are worth considering.
the case of Antonio Guansé (b.1926), whose military experience
we touched on in last week’s “Moments in Art.”
Guansé has been touted as an heir apparent to the
Franco-Spanish mantle of Picasso and Miro.
father gave him the Catalan’s scornful distaste for authority,
which tends towards anarchism and a dogmatic need for liberty.
On a large scale, this is seen in the struggle for Barcelona to have
more independence from Madrid.
mother, on the other hand, was Aragonese, a Spanish strain noted for
contemplation and adaptation to realities.
vigor of Guansé’s oils indicate that the Catalan is
Antonio Guansé, Earth, Water, Sky, small oil, ca. 1960
d’Estienne (1915-1983) was one of the few women to be made a
Chevalier in France’s coveted Order of Arts and Letters. Her
fine etchings have been exhibited in museums all over the world, and
she has won many medals and honors.
our conversations, Madame d’Estienne was quick to emphasize her
own inherited character struggles. Her father was of Flemish descent.
Professionally he belonged to France’s elite government cadre,
the Polytechnicians. He was an historian, mathematician, and
musician. His influence on Christianne was, she says, “clearly
mother, who came from the Avignon region of Southern France, was just
as clearly Latin. As a result, Christianne found both forces in
her art–cool, rational intellectuality from the north and warm,
gesticulating exuberance from the south.
late Arnold Friberg (1913-2010) is known to many of us because of his
powerful illustrations for The Book of Mormon, although that was only
a tiny portion of his voluminous output.
father was from Sweden, his mother from Norway (exactly the same as
my great grandparents). I discovered in my northern travels that the
Norwegians and Danes do not like the Swedes very much, shadows of
ages-ago conflicts. I found the Norwegians to be reserved, almost
taciturn. If you ask a question, you get a very compact, direct
answer that comes without the volunteered information that might make
your quest easier. The Swedes seemed more open, voluble. On that
unscientific basis, I would find Arnold’s work more Swedish.
The Prayer at Valley Forge is the Arnold Friberg painting most familiar to non-Latter-day Saints.
years ago, President Thomas S. Monson was sealing a couple in the
Salt Lake Temple. My wife and I were there, guests of the bride. The
mother of the bride came from Italian stonecutters who settled in
Vermont. President Monson is Scandinavian. Cautioning the bride and
groom that they came from different traditions and would need to
learn how to adapt, he offered this parable:
Scandinavian is walking on a sidewalk and sees there is a party going
on a few doors down on his side of the street. He has not been
invited. Not wishing to intrude, he crosses the street and walks
along on the other side.
Italian walks along the street. He sees there is a party. He has not
been invited. He does not cross the street. When he gets to the
party, he goes in to join the festivities.
members beware. This was a simple parable, not a doctrinal
artist is a product of many forces. Powerful among them are the genes
that make him/her in many different ways. Artistic gift is just that,
a gift that either pops out spontaneously at the beginning or is
discovered in the suite of experiences. More people live on the
planet than ever before. Just on statistics, we should expect to
discover the world has more good artists today than it has ever had
in the past.
Lawrence Jeppson is an art consultant, organizer and curator of art exhibitions, writer, editor
and publisher, lecturer, art historian, and appraiser. He is America's leading authority on
modern, handwoven French tapestries. He is expert on the works of William Henry Clapp, Nat
Leeb, Tsing-fang Chen, and several French artists.
He is founding president of the non-profit Mathieu Matégot Foundation for Contemporary
Tapestry, whose purview encompasses all 20th-century tapestry, an interest that traces back to
1948. For many years he represented the Association des Peintres-Cartonniers de Tapisserie and
Arelis in America.
Through the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the American Federation of
Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, and his own Art Circuit Services he has been a contributor to
or organizer of more than 200 art exhibitions in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Taiwan.
He owns AcroEditions, which publishes and/or distributes multiple-original art. He was co-founder and artistic director of Collectors' Investment Fund.
He is the director of the Spring Arts Foundation; Utah Cultural Arts Foundation, and the Fine
Arts Legacy Foundation
Lawrence is an early-in-the-month home teacher, whose beat is by elevator. In addition, he has spent the past six years hosting and promoting reunions of the missionaries who served in the French Mission (France, Belgium, and Switzerland) during the decade after WWII.