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Pictor Ignotus


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

Pictor Ignotus [20th century]

Untitled Landscape


oil on wood panel / 8.5 inches x 10.5 inches

Many works of art are valued for the identity of the hand that created them. The name of an artist; the space-time context surrounding its creation; its provenance, all these contribute to the notion of value, economic and otherwise. This small work—not the smallest work in the collection—possesses none of that, yet it is still valued. Who the artist was, when it was painted, why she or he chose a blustery day in a coastal setting to record the intensity of the day aren’t required for us to enjoy its evocation of a moment shared. “Art is not a thing; it is a way.” [Elbert Hubbard]

This painting came to the collection from an estate sale in Omaha. Its circumstances, apparently, went to the grave with its last owner.

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