The Importance of Art
There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.
– Georges Braque
Like all things in life, this painting has a story. Several years ago, I was staying at Doris Day’s famous dog friendly hotel in Carmel, The Cypress Inn, with my husband, Marshall, and Texas Pekepoos, Biff and Joey. While strolling Ocean Avenue, I saw dozens of paintings through the gleaming, spotless windows of the village’s vast array of art galleries. Although much of the artwork was of high quality, none of it made me pause. Then I saw a painting in a window that literally stopped me in my tracks.
I left my three companions outside and immediately sought out the gallery’s owner. German by birth and passionate about art, Eva Hart and her husband had recently opened an art gallery in Carmel. The couple enlisted Eva’s brother to scour Europe and Russia for provocative pieces to sell in their new gallery. As I studied the other paintings, I could see that the siblings had a good eye for art – all the work was compelling. But only the painting in the window instantly captivated me. Yet, I had no idea why.
Eva told me the painting was created by figurative artist Irina Korsakova, who was born in Moscow in 1960. Her compositions at that time primarily featured Russian diplomats and their wives and children in period dress of the 18th Century.
Irina Korsakova – Art Works – YouTube
I couldn’t afford to purchase the piece myself, but I still hated to pass up such an exquisite painting. Then I thought about my clients whose remodel I had just completed in Marin County. I typically didn’t present artwork to clients, as its attraction depends on the eye and response of the viewer. But I decided to make an exception, knowing my clients didn’t have the time or interest to search for paintings.
My Client Loved It
Eva brought the piece to the residence the following week to present it herself. The two of us met at my clients’ recently finished European country style home on a four-acre estate in Ross, an upscale town north of San Francisco. With her effusive passion for art, Eva did a spectacular job presenting the painting to my client, whose husband couldn’t join us that morning.
It looked fabulous over the elegant white marble fireplace in the living room flanked by cranberry and charcoal colored French toile window treatments. My client loved it. We left the painting in place for the couple to view together. Later that day, I got a call. “Linda, he hates the painting,” my client said.
Woman with Horse
Disappointed, I retrieved the 4’ x 4’ canvas in my SUV the next afternoon. When I arrived home, Marshall asked how it went, and I told him. He promptly walked out the front door and returned with the painting in his arms. We hung the beautiful artwork over the fireplace in our tiny cottage in San Rafael above the funky old recycled mantel I had found at a salvage yard. It looked spectacular. We decided in that moment we would figure out a way to buy it.
Woman with Horse has since made the move with us to our 1928 Spanish Revival home by the San Francisco Bay. In fact, a reader who remembered the painting from a 2007 issue of our newsletter featuring the Clorinda Avenue cottage recently requested to see it again. So here it is, complete with close-ups and master shots, as they say in Hollywood, from both of the cottage’s living rooms.
We Still Love the Painting
We still love the painting, and always enjoy our guests’ reactions when they see the mysterious lady in the opulent white dress and black hat gazing down at the tiny red toy horse in her gloved hand. The painting has appeared in our newsletters, magazine articles and my book, Architectural Interiors, and has elicited many comments from readers over the years. In fact, one client who’s a talented artist painted a copy of it for her own home.
I feel that art is one of the greatest expressions of the human spirit. A home is not complete without it. I believe oils, watercolors, monoprints, numbered prints, photographs or posters all qualify as art. Sculpture, textiles, ceramics and crafts of all kinds do as well.
How about the art you have in your home? Do you have pieces you love, that provoke memories or a feeling in time? Do you find the colors, shapes, textures, contrast or composition pleasing to your eye? Does it fill your home with beauty? Or, like Woman with Horse did for me, does it evoke something you have no words for, but you bought it because you fell in love with it? In the words of Jean Cocteau, “Art is the marriage of the conscious and unconscious.” It bestows endless beauty upon our lives.
I’ll close as I began – Art is important!
In the love of art,