Why Collect Art?

Children on the Seashore by Joaquin Sorolla, oil on canvas, 1903.
Children on the Seashore by Joaquin Sorolla, oil on canvas, 1903.

I was once again reading through my copy of the catalog for the 1989 exhibition, The Painter Joaquin Sorolla, and came across this 1933 quote by John Paul Getty in an article called Creative Collecting. Ever the opportunist, Getty had decided that since the Crash in 1929, the time was ripe for collecting great art for investment purposes on the cheap, and he set about hitting the auctions.

By that time, avant-garde art was on the rise and Sorolla's work was out of fashion and not on Getty's collecting radar. In a testimonial which, in our view, defines why some art is so powerful that its transcendent expression can speak to the soul of even the most tough-minded of business men, Mr. Getty explained why he bought ten Sorollas:

"In November 1933 I attended the Thomas Fortune Ryan sale at the Anderson Galleries in New York City. There I purchased a total of twelve pieces. Ten of them were paintings by the Spanish impressionist Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, who died in 1923.

Obviously his work did not fit into any of the five major categories into which I intended to channel my collecting efforts. However I was struck by the remarkable quality of Sorolla's paintings, being especially fascinated by his unique treatment of sunlight.

I am certain of one thing however. Although the purchase of these impressionist works was a major digression from my usual five-fold collecting path, my opinion regarding their beauty, appeal, and artistic merit remains the same as it was when I first saw these canvases at the Anderson Galleries. These digressions serve to illustrate that even the collector who is grimly determined to specialize or limit himself is highly likely to be led or lead himself down many detours and byways.

Although he may prefer one or a few types or schools of art to all others, his acquaintance with and understanding of specific forms of beauty cannot but help expand his aesthetic horizons. He cannot avoid, sooner or later, appreciating other forms, other schools, other categories of fine art. As his specialized collection grows, so grows his tolerance, his understanding and his appreciation—and so grow his depth and dimension as a perceptive, sensitive and well-rounded individual."

If anyone knows of a better reason to collect art, we'd like to hear it. Visit us at The Artist's Road for more great articles.

John & Ann


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John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

About John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

John Hulsey and his wife, Ann Trusty created the website, The Artist's Road - Painting the World's Beautiful Places.  The Artist's Road inspires with practical art tips and painting techniques for the traveling artist, video painting tutorials and demonstrations, workshop resources, artist profiles and interviews and remarkable painting locations.  The Artist's Road is an artist community for oil, watercolor and pastel artists.  Articles cover intriguing art travel experiences artists have had while painting the world's beautiful places. "I believe I must speak through my art, for the preservation of Nature and the natural landscape from which I take my inspiration and living." John Hulsey is an accomplished artist, author and teacher who has been working professionally for over thirty years. In addition to producing new work for exhibition and teaching workshops, Mr. Hulsey continues to write educational articles about painting for national art magazines, including Watercolor magazine and American Artist Magazine. He has been selected as a "Master Painter of the United States" by International Artist Magazine where his work was previously chosen to be included in the top ten of their international landscape painting competition. He was awarded residencies at Yosemite, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. "I strive in my art to celebrate the mysteries of Nature - the fleeting light on the landscape, the unimaginable diversity of creatures, the beauty of each leaf and flower." Ann Trusty  is an accomplished third generation artist whose work embodies the natural world and is created through direct observation and translation of her subjects into her paintings. She has found inspiration in the dancing light across the water of the Hudson River (where she had a studio for ten years), as well as the big sky and waving tall grasses of the open plains of the Midwest (her current home). Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, France and Turkey in both museum and gallery exhibitions, and has been reviewed favorably by the New York Times.