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BLUE
COLLAR
ART
A R T F O R T H E R E G U L A R G U Y
25
Artist, Turk
Artist, Berhardt
Artist, Chojnowski
Artist, Fraser
Art
Vigoré extends a special thank
you to this “Blue Collar” collector
for sharing this artwork collection.
Who do you think of when you think of an art
collector? Do you think of yachts and country
clubs, golf, champagne and tennis? Or do you
think of bowling, beer , sports and NASCAR?
While most people think that the world of
fine art is dominated by the blue blood crowd, you
may be surprised to learn that more and more blue
collar folks have learned to appreciate art. While blue
collar workers may not have the talent to paint or
create and often lack formal art education limiting their
ability to express art appreciation in words, that
doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate art. Many
local Chicago blue collar art collectors with a careful
eye and open mind collect fine pieces of art. What is
art? Art conveys intense emotions. Often art reflects
the life of the artist. Art is the freedom of thought
created in a tangible form. From the blue collar art
collector’s point of view, even breathtaking artwork
may remain unrecognized by the professional art
collector or dealer. While critics may call some art
work kitsch—art that is regarded as tasteless,
sentimental, or ostentatious in style—art—like
beauty—is in the eye of the beholder. An art collection
can start with one piece selected for one area in a home
growing into a large and diverse collection over the
years. Because of that diversity, it may appear that the
collector is struggling to find an identifying style. But
a careful inspection reveals the back story of each piece
of art—the humor, the brilliance it conveys—and the
pleasure the collector takes in every one. Water Lilies,
a series of 250 painting by French impressionist Claude
Monet, may be art to one person and a velvet Elvis
may be art to another. In fact, the signature “Dogs
Playing Poker,” nine dogs sitting around a card table,
may be more recognizable by more people than any
work created by the old masters—with the possible
exception of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” Art—
and the artists that create art—are actually fairly
modern concepts. Oil paint was first used for Buddhist
paintings by Indian and Chinese painters in
Afghanistan sometime between
the 5th and 9th centuries, oil
painting did not gain
popularity as a medium for art
in the West until the 15th
century in Italy. About that
time, the Italian artist and
biographer Giorgio Vasari first
coined the idea of “work of art”
a term that first included only
painting, sculpture, and
architecture. When works of
art were later expanded to
include music and poetry,
those five arts became
collectively known as “the fine
arts.” And it was during the
Renaissance that “the fine arts”
were raised to a loftier
perception and artists were
often afforded a higher social status. They were also
considered to be inspired by some higher power not
available to the masses. That then is perhaps the basis
for the idea that people who appreciate the fine arts are
also at some higher level of society. But consider
Alfonso Iannelli, the 20th Century sculptor, artist, and
designer. According to Tim Samuelson, Chicago’s
cultural historian, Iannelli who is best known today by
collectors and historians who rank him as a valuable
contributor to American art made in Chicago, wanted
to create art that people would experience in their
everyday lives. According to Sam Guard, Iannelli
believed that art is a public creation designed to make
all people’s lives better —whether they have blue
blood or a blue collar.
Every Artwork Tells A Story ...
Vigoré
Artist, Conger
Artist, Romine
Artist, Grabner