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Poll Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh and the concept of "the mad genius".


Somerset Maugham has a novel “the Moon and a penny”. In it, under an assumed name Poll Gauguin - the artist left for Polynesia and becoming one idols of postimpressionism is represented. Recently, its picture has been exposed on large auction for the great money (alas, to the artist died in poverty, from it neither it is hot, nor it is cold).

Gauguin's life has developed originally enough. Its artist has worked the most part ‘in office’, and only being already ‘for forty’ has thrown all (including family) and has devoted itself to art in which it was the layman.

Maugham the good writer, but short stories go right to it better, than novels. It is possible to tell and about “the Moon and a penny”. The writer divides here typical stamps of time about “the ingenious unknown artist, the innovator worth outside of morals”, etc. Not clear, as such primitive barbarian whom Gauguin is written by Maugham, could before kind two ten years regularly goes to office, be engaged, carry out all formalities, and to be quite ‘the successful person’.

The idea of ‘the mad creator’ has enough eaten into our consciousness though recently it is superseded glamour by type of the successful artist (more likely - the designer). However there is prospering type of the swindler in avant-garde selling not his picture, but his brand. Just he need for legend of ‘the mad genius’ and for this purpose he is ready to bark a dog.

It is difficult to name non-figurative art by ‘avant-garde’ as it is old as the world. Before hunting man represented wild animals, quite realistically, but in the ritual purposes to provide success of the future enterprise. Meanwhile women decorated utensils and clothes with an ornament. So, probably, division of art into "realistic" and "decorative" has appeared. And, down to present time, to the first direction, as a whole, men are more inclined to the second women.

At 20 centuries distinguishes absence of a rhythm from an ornament. That is the given direction represents a certain hybrid of realism and an ornament. Also there was it, as some kind of "mutation" during very intense historical period on the eve and during the First World War and Revolution (though its occurrence was prepared by all development of the fine arts in 19 century). Then existence of avant-garde has been understood, as expression of time spirit.

Now (actually, since the fiftieth years of the last century) a picture other. The represents of avant-garde are stimulated is artificial, by the most powerful advertising support and great financial injections. Without it the avant-garde would decay very quickly, and the overwhelming majority of its adherents would engage something to another (but too bring profit). It is clearly, what presently to speak about avant-garde as nonconformist art it is possible only due to a misunderstanding.

Some historical details are interesting. During the post-war period, Japan has achieved sensational successes in development of the hi-tech industry. Accordingly, the Japanese elite has got fantastically grown rich. But on the country there was a brand of the defeated aggressor. To erase it and enter in world (more precisely, western) elite, it was necessary to divide its values, including from area of art taste.

Japanese have addressed to the western critics, those have advised to buy up Van Gogh. Naturally the price for pictures of the mad Dutch have sharply jumped up. The last decade we had pleasure to observe an amusing incident. Japanese have got Van Gogh's picture "Sunflowers" for the record sum on those times – 22 million dollars. And, soon, like it would be found out, that she was written not by the unfortunate madman (who did not dream such honorary) and the doctor treating it, also playing about painting at leisure.

To the unbiased person it is completely clear, that everybody for she does not represent any art value could write a similar picture. Van Gogh was reclaimed posthumously, as ‘the modern history of arts’ was written at that moment and the Dutch has been built - in it in quality of ‘the forerunner of avant-garde’.


Alex Fantalov.


Richard Wagner and “The ring of Nibelung”.