Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Know Good Kitsch When I See It*

In the summer of 1978, when Rick and I were impoverished newly-weds, The Ideals Publishing Company liquidated a great deal of its original art. I insisted on going to the sale - just to have a look at some of the pictures from my favorite Christmas picture book. The paintings were large and impressive and only selling for about $750 each. Where are those paintings today? I have no idea. We certainly didn't purchase one.

Why am I thinking about this book in October? Besides the fact that a certain section of my brain (labeled: WORK) is already sweating Christmas, a reissue of Jolly Old Santa Claus had popped up in my amazon recommendations. I already have an abridged version in board book form, which I am sure I will be sharing with Lily this year. Seeing how much good condition vintage copies of this are selling for makes me regret, if only for a moment, all the wear and tear my sister and I put on this. And then there were all the years the kids and I would study each whimsical scene from Santa's workshop... (The story? I don't think it has that much of a plot. Santa delivers the gifts that the elves have made. Mrs. Santa runs a tight ship. Everybody is pretty exhausted by December 26.) In the realm of secular Christmas books, this is still my fav. And I'm flattered that amazon thinks I would like it. Some of the other recommendations worry me...

*trust me, I majored in Art History.

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St. Isidore Foundation

I cannot live under pressures from patrons, let alone paint.
-- Michelangelo, quoted in Vasari's Lives of the Artists

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