Wednesday, October 11, 2006
ONE LOVELY DRAWING, part eight
This lovely little drawing by Robert Fawcett appeared in Look Magazine in the 1960s. It was just a spot illustration, about 2 inches across. It is not likely to be reproduced ever again.
In the 1960s, illustration went wild. Innovators used psychedelic colors and bold new styles to create increasingly abstract work. Representational art was declared obsolete. Fawcett, who was trained in a rigorous traditional style, remained unperturbed. In fact, he was amused by the "misconception that abstract qualities are new to contemporary painting, whereas they have been the comparision of excellence since painting began."
Today, all those daring 1960s illustrations with the LSD-inspired paisley designs seem quaint and dated. But if you revisit this tiny little drawing by Fawcett, you will see art that is wild in a more lasting, meaningful sense.
Fawcett often drew conventional subjects using conventional media. He was known for scenes of cultured people in English libraries. But don't be fooled by his subject matter-- he drew them with a powerful, vigorous line. This little drawing is like a DNA sample of the pagan force in Fawcett's drawing. It remains far more wild and frightening today than much of the work that "revolutionaries" such as Peter Max or Bob Peak were producing with the "new freedom" of that era.