As an artist, I am always more obsessed with what goes on the front of the canvas than anything else.
Recently though, my Ma purchased one of my paintings and brought something to my attention. I had signed and dated the front, but had written the title, name, and date on the stretcher.
Why is this bad? Because Ila McAfee, a prolific painter from Taos, and one of my relations, has many paintings she has left behind that have no title or date. Some even have no visible signature.
For curators and art galleries, this makes it difficult to determine the value of the art. For private collectors, this can be detrimental for insurance, future sales, and even proving the art is genuine.
In a perfect world, artists would remember to catalog an image, title and date in one place. But even the perfect catalog could be lost or destroyed. And even though I often write the title and date on the stretchers of my canvases, I now realize that those can be destroyed and lost (even if the canvas isn’t) too.
So. I am thinking of the future, hoping that I can be as prolific as McAfee, and pondering methods that go with the art to name, date, and my name in addition to vowing to do better about cataloging my art.
To all the artists…leave the peices of your heart and soul with their names, your name, and the date of their “birth” where they are less likely to be lost. They are your legacy.