Ursus Wehrli got there first with this wonderful idea but I was rather disappointed that there are only nineteen examples of his artistic tidiness and really less than ten are worth a second look. Seurat's 'Models' is the best example I think, the painting is on the left-hand page and opposite is a photo of a big plastic bag of colored chocolate buttons, just brilliant!
Mondrain, Klee, Picasso, Heering and Lichenstein all get fascinating tidy versions and the Van Gogh (see the book cover above) is another winner. I was though, expecting to see many more like the Van Gogh, that is keeping the basic painting and moving objects within it. Too many of the examples are just moving one or two items, like the three apples in Magritte's 'Young love', placed in a triangular shape in the original with Wehrli's version just having the apples in a straight line. Why are there no examples of tidy sculpture?
'Tidying up art' is a great idea and the book is well printed and designed but I wish there were lots more examples of Wehrli's creative fun. Maybe a second edition is on the way.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
This is a delightful book that anyone with a modicum of intelligence and wit will enjoy. We bought a slew of copies to give as "wine" gifts -- you know, those times when you're invited to dinner, or when someone's birthday is coming up, or you want to give a small gift and all you can think of is a bottle of wine... It was very appreciated every time, and we looked so clever for thinking of an alternative to a "nice merlot."
Oh yes, we enjoyed it ourselves, too. We keep it on the coffee table to amuse our guests while we are mixing drinks or stirring the pot in the kitchen. Everyone loves it.
Ursus Wehrli is an artist & typographer & comedian...and now, an art critic. This 48-page picture book contains 19 comparisons. The image on the lefthand page of each 2-page spread is a painting or drawing that Wehrli deems untidy. On the righthand page is Wehrli's "improvement"--the tidy version.
The cover shows one of these comparisons. On the left is Van Gogh's painting of his bedroom in Arles. (It seems quite neat & tidy to me.) The bed is made, with the pillows neatly arranged. The few pieces of furniture are all placed against the walls. Clothing is hung up on hooks. The picture on the right shows Wehrli's" tidy" version, with the chairs & pictures stacked upon the bed & the clothing shoved underneath the bed--the out of sight & out of mind approach to housekeeping.
Rating = A few nudes (pp.10, 11, 28). No graphic violence. No bad language. Suitable for anyone who can take a joke about serious art.
For any one who has ever taken an art history class or spent hours at a museum studying fine art, this book is for you. The author takes familiar, iconagraphic works and rearranges the elements in surprising and unexpected ways. Wonderful!