Monday, March 7, 2016


The Met Breuer on Madison Avenue and 75th St.
At the MET Breuer's exhibition "Unfinished: Thoughts left Visible,"it is interesting to observe hat many great artists and some lesser known contemporaries, were often confronted with the dilemma, "When is a work of art truly finished?"  
     The answer is really quite simple. Often an artist loses interest in a subject, and abandons it for another day or never takes up the brush again. Maybe the individual died before the work was completed or worse was not paid for the commission.  The complex reasons may not be as simple as all that, but the concept reminds me that even inventors and other brilliant minds as well as private individuals sometimes lose the fortitude of perseverance and leave works unfinished and do not complete the work in progress, leaving others with stronger conviction to finish the job and reap the benefits.
      The Metropolitan Museum of Art invites the public to celebrate the opening of The Met Breuer with three days of special programs inaugurating its new space dedicated to modern and contemporary art.  UNFINISHED presents over 190 works from the Renaissance to the present and opens to the public March 18th through September 4, 2016. It takes place in the former,  Whitney Museum building, that has been renovated and restored with architect Marcel Breuer's original design vision.
WHY DOES UNFINISHED MATTER?  A portrait was a significant way to record important events for posterity. Case in point; Unfinished displays, in a framed portrait. a major historical event in the founding of our country. This brings to mind the unfinished copy of Benjamin West's portrait by an unknown artist of the American Peace Commissioners (1782). This is a significant painting as it depicts John Jay, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Henry Laurens. the American Peace commissioners who posed to commemorate the major event that signed off from British rule--"The Treaty of Paris" formally ended the American Revolutionary War, and launched the world's newest nation--- a story that is depicted and written about in my book, The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York 1785-2015: A History. published by History Press. April 2015. The figure behind Franklin is his grandson William Temple Franklin who served as secretary. But not the blank unfinished portion of the portrait. As for the two missing individuals, two British counterparts, one refused to sit and another claimed to be ill. 
      Then there is Anton Raphael Mengs' portrait of Marianne di Silva y Sarmiento (1740-1794). Mengs was a prominent painter in his time---papal commissions and so forth---and it isn't clear why his wedding portrait of the Lady with ghost dog and blurred face wasn't finished, except that one might surmise that the lady may have changed her mind or the commission wasn't paid for.
Pablo Picasso's "Harlequin" UnFinished
One wonders why Pablo Picasso did not finish the portrait of The Jester and why some masters intentionally left works unfinished in an aesthetic pursuit. Some of history's greatest artists explored such a premise among them Titian, Rembrandt, Turner and Cezanne. And one finds Unfinished in contemporary artist such as Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Janine Antoni and others.

     The Met Breuer will host a special family day on Sunday, March 20 (10 a.m-5 p.m.) with special programs and events for visitors of all ages.
     Ta ta Darlings!!! There's a fascinating predicament in UNFINISHED, and it poses the question "Just when is a work of art complete?" Similarly that is a question that we often are confronted with in your daily activities, "When is the project we are working on finished, or did we abandon the project because we lost interest or worst "Did we fall ill, or was payment not forthcoming." These are dilemmas that face not only artists but anyone who is involved in the creative process. Fan mail welcome at  Visit Polly's Blogs at and click on the Blog in the left hand column that resonates with your interest.

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