Wednesday, November 17, 2010
To date or not to date
Here is a small update of the Italian soda bottle. It has a long way to go yet, but the layers of pigment are starting to give form to the bottle and the contents.
There are two schools of thought on adding a date to your artwork.
One says that it should never be on the front with a signature, but added as a piece of provenance beneath the paper backing or with a certificate of authenticity.
The other says that dates for work should be prominent and have as much importance as the artist's signature.
Art that is sent to exhibition or competition is often time sensitive with juries demanding work between one to three years old. I never quite understand that as the antiques side of me longs for date confirmation of items and paintings and the knowledge that sometimes one's best work could be 20 years old - or 100 years old. Otherwise why would experts be carbon dating, x-raying and inspecting old masters paintings for clues to when they were painted? There is obviously two sides to this debate.
Where did this need for current work come from? Is there a 'sell by' date on art? Do the buying public believe that only recent art is worthy of money being spent? What about the need for documenting the history of an artist's work and style over time? There is a thought that perhaps dated paintings, if older, are a sign that they have not been able to be sold. Galleries only want newer paintings and often artists do not date work purposely to ensure pieces are considered new.
To keep the sellers and buyers happy, I sign my pieces on the front then provide a month/year on the back along with title, medium and artist name on a label on the back for reference. How stable that little rectangle of information is over time I may never know. I recommend to buyers to write down the information and keep it catalogued, along with other works of art they may own for future records.
What is your thought on dating pieces of art?