Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blakes on the Block: Getty to the Rescue?

William Blake
"Death of the Strong Wicked Man"
watercolor on paper 1805

William Blake
"The Grave Personified"
watercolor on paper 1805

The recently rediscovered William Blake watercolors to be sold at Sotheby's in the spring should be bought by the Getty and the Tate jointly so both institutions can make the works available for scholars and the public. In Carol Vogel's piece on the rediscovered Blakes in the New York Times, Martin Butlin, a Blake scholar, expresses that breaking up the collection and selling them one by one at Sotheby's is "absolutely philistine. The seller has no regard for the integrity of works of art, only for money. As a group they tell a story."

The nineteen artworks are from a series of 20 watercolors that Blake originally created as illustrations for the poem, "The Grave," by the Scotsman Robert Blair.

With luck the William Blake watercolors could be showcased in an exhibition that moves between Los Angeles and London with a stop in Newhaven to reunite the collection with the missing 20th image which is now at the
Yale Center for British Art.

*Images from Sotheby's New York

Edward Winkleman is livid about the Blake affair. See Blake and the Bottomfeeders

Anna Conti also is upset about the breakup:
An Artist's View of the Blake Breakup

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