August 23, 2011

"To be survived by sculpture in bronze — what a responsibility!"

"Bronze is so very indestructible," said Edgar Degas, whose "Little Dancer" is the subject of questionable casting.
One idea being bandied about among the Degas scholars and those collectors who have spent millions of dollars on Maibaum’s sculptures is to convene a symposium that will allow all sides of the debate to air their views in a “litigation-free zone,” if you will. “I’ve encouraged people to get over their litigation hang-ups,” Beale, one of the Degas experts, told me recently. “The concern for litigation is beyond the pale.”
Discussion in a litigation-free zone... what a concept! As if, in some later lawsuit, a judge would exclude evidence of these statements under some new "litigation-free zone" privilege.

These people are tied up in knots because some art is a reproduction of the original that the artist worked on directly. For commerce purposes, there needs to be hierarchy within the reproductions. The indestructibility of bronze may have bothered Degas, but these buyers and sellers today are tormented by the endless reproducibility of the thing that is not bronze. (It's wax!)

9 comments:

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

Bronze sculpture immediately causes scales to rise before my eyes. Little is less interesting than a big, brown lump of metal that someone else cast. I'd rather see the wax or the plaster.

Anyway, bronze sculpture eventually gets turned into cannon in difficult times. For real indestructibility, go for some common stone. It says a lot more about one's abilities as a sculptor as well.

edutcher said...

Litigation-free zone?

Not in this country.

Palladian said...

And I hate the "Little Dancer", from her snotty little face and spindly little legs, to her creepy Miss Havisham-like decaying skirt and ribbon.

Henry said...

The indestructibility of bronze may have bothered Degas, but these buyers and sellers today are tormented by the endless reproducibility of the thing that is not bronze. (It's wax!)

From reading the article, I think the really controversial claim is that Degas authorized plaster casts to be made of his wax original(s). But if not, do the plaster casts date from the 19th century? That's what I find most curious.

John Burgess said...

I'll cancel out Palladian. I like bronze very much, whether as a pure, alloyed metal or as sculpture.

If I could--and had a car engine that could cope with it--I'd drive a cast bronze automobile.

gerry said...

Degas is dead.

He can't care what anyone is doing with stuff he once touched.

I think I'll go get plastered tonight.

And I agree with Palladian. The scuplture in question is ugly.

traditionalguy said...

They all need to move to Texas. Problem solved.

The White House can be made larger, and a National Church erected with pomp and circumstance filled rituals appropriate to the new King of Kenya-America.

As for bronze statues, who knew that the world's largest owner of T-Bills wanted that Chairman Mao Colossus to be erected on the former sight of Mt Vernon which they had recently purchased.

Third Coast said...

Oops, thought this was a thread about the new mayor of Chicago.