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Neal Morse. Henry Moore & Picasso

This week, I've finished reading Neal Morse's autobiography, Testimony. Started reading The Drawings of Henry Moore by Andrew Causey, and watched a TV programme about the most expensive top ten paintings of all time. 

How on earth do you put a price or value on art ? Professional galleries do it all the time. I've had to do it myself.... put a price tag on my own work, or agreed a price with an art director, commissioning me to illustrate a book jacket. Can a painting, really be worth a hundred million dollars ?

Picasso, was one of those few privileged artist who became both famous and wealthy during their lifetime. But isn't it an irony, that one of his paintings, painted at the beginning of the 20th Century, whilst he was living in Paris, in dire poverty should fetch such a colossal sum of money. The other Picasso at the top of the most expensive list, a painting of Marie Therese Walter , hardly ever seen before, is now on loan to Tate Modern (not thankfully, hidden away in some bank vault). Who, buys these paintings, or has 100 million dollars to spare ? With that sort of money, you could help a lot of people, and save a lot of suffering. 

Which brings me back to Picasso and Henry Moore. Like a lot of people, I have my wish list. The one I have on Amazon is pretty moderate. My children dip into it on Father's Day, my birthday and Christmas, and spoil me. Men are very hard to buy presents for. Women seem to have endless lists of what they like. Men dither.

I'd love to own a Picasso. A small painting, maybe , one of his ceramic jugs.

But most of all, I'd like to have, one of his paintbrushes. The one that painted Guernica,1937 or Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907.

That's the difference on how we value art. Paintings, should not be cash cows. Or bank investments. The thrill of holding the brush that painted these paintings, is worth much more. A painter I knew, Chris Insoll, who I used to go out sketching with, had in his possession, the palette of Stanhope Forbes, and still used it. It's like passing the baton on. 

I saw an exhibition of Henry Moore lithographs at Lemon Street Gallery in Truro recently. I'd love to have had one of those too. The quality of them just thrilled me. I'd love to actually own a drawing by him. Unfortunately, being an art lover, with a moderate income, rules me out ! Instead, they, like lots of Picasso's sit in bank vaults, unseen, loved for their investment value, rather than their artistic value.

I've just finished Neal Morse's book, Testimony.  It was very moving, and very real. The struggles of an artist or musician to find artistic freedom, and recognition, and feed and provide a home for your family is a real problem. In the end, what motivates us is what counts. It can't just be about money. My spiritual mother, Anna Downing always said, " If you've got a shilling Steve, Use some of it to buy your daily bread, but use the rest to buy a rose !" What she meant was, that man, cannot live by bread alone. We have a spiritual need too. Music, Art, fill that need. The music, Neal Morse creates, lifts the spirit, tells a tale of hope, for us, just as paintings should. 

I read in the Psalms today, that if you took all the wealth in the whole World, it wouldn't be enough to pay for  one soul.

Yet, the price, has been paid, for us to have 'free' access to God. Christ paid the price, on the cross. There are somethings, that money can't buy!  


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