Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Wednesday Post

The Stamp of a Great Artist
Burne-Jones and Brauner bask in philatelic glory, and Broodthaers doesn't.

It depends on whom you ask whether Edward Burne-Jones was a painter who did stained-glass design for a living, or a stained-glass designer who also enjoyed some success with his painting sideline.  Two of the three postage stamps I've found of his work are glass pieces, including one of the British Christmas issue of 2009...

...and another recent one, from a series on the work of the William Morris circle (Ed and Bill were best pals).

His painting The Beguiling of Merlin is featured in this stamp, but the dude with the beard is Alfred Lord Tennyson, not Burne-Jones.

Burne-Jones, one of the most successful painters of the British Pre-Rafaelite school, left the Tournament in January with a tough two-and-out, losing by a single vote in both contests.

You know what painter gets a lot of love from his native country?  Victor Brauner, that's who.  As a highly visible success from a country that traditionally values the high arts and has never been shy about cranking out more postage stamps than are absolutely necessary, Brauner may be one of the most philatelic of tournament artists.

...even though he mostly worked in France.

Postal ephemera, even!

And a few years ago, this entire sheet of Victor Brauner stamps.

All this stampy adulation probably takes the sting out of leaving the tournament earlier this month, having gone 0-2-1.

Marcel Broodthaers hasn't been featured on a stamp to date, so far as I've been able to tell.  But conversely, he featured some stamps in his Lettre (ouverte), or Open Letter, a lithographic work from 1972.

Broodthaer's notes on this piece read, as do most of his pronouncements, like the more cryptic Monty Python sketches:
4. The artist's initials are placed on the left, on a small strip which is more black than the rest of the background serving as a label. The initials would thus be the essential element suggesting narcissism.
5. The initials also refer to a purely plastic interpretation as they are set apart from the describable subject (in the darkness of a fake passé-partout).
Well, sometimes you need a little narcissism to see you through, as when you are voted out of an interactive art tournament with a record of only 0-2-1.

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