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T.H.T. [dates unknown]

[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock”, a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Spring of 2015]

Image

[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock”, a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Fall of 2015]

THT [identity and dates unknown] 

That sheep may safely graze

c1920

oil on canvas panel / 6 1/4 inches x 8 inches

Lapses in record keeping cloud the attribution of a few pieces in the Community Collection. “That sheep may safely graze,” for example, is signed “THT” but undated, begging the question: Can art have meaning without an identified artist?

An artist’s identity is so much more than a name; it provides context, continuity, content.The surname hints at ethnicity and origin—not always, these days—and the given name at gender. Taken together we can search databases and place the name in time and space: when and where were they active? A single work of art cries out for context, both his own—is it early or late?—and his or her contemporaries. It all matters. But absent these things, is there nothing else that can be said?

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