The art of the dealer


Kasmin (15 cms x 10 cms ink and watercolour 2016)

John Kasmin is an art dealer, small of stature (under 5’6”) but not of reputation, who is perhaps best known (to me at least) for launching the career of David Hockney.

He discovered Hockney at the Royal Society of British Artists’ 1961 show, Young Contemporaries, where he bought one of the painter’s most striking early works, Doll Boy, for a mere £40. Kasmin’s interest was unexpected as he specialised largely in American colourfield painters. “I liked the young Hockney’s cheekiness,” is how he described the attraction in a recent interview.

But why have I drawn Mr Kasmin naked instead of wearing one of his elegant suits? It’s the first tentative step in a series of drawings celebrating the wonders of the older body, both male and female. The media’s obsession with physical perfection – as well as causing all sorts of problems around body image among young people – means that the middle-aged and older body, even in art more often than not, is sidelined. Yet the body can be as revealing as the face in charting life’s journey and the curves and folds have a beauty of their own: our life stories are written on the skin.

I’m not the first to have had this idea, of course, and it might well remain in my head rather than on paper like my ‘plastic in the seas’ project. In case you were wondering how I persuaded a legendary art dealer to strip off, I must confess that Mr Kasmin’s chest is based on my own, drawn in front of my bedroom mirror.


19 thoughts on “The art of the dealer

  1. As usual A Certain Line gives great food-for-thought. I even followed the 3 related postings. One got me searching for a Krazy Kat album I remember from 45 years ago. Maybe it wasn’t mine or it’s still in a student bed-sit somewhere. How well I remember those off-the-wall crazy details in his backgrounds. I found Felix and Rupert Bear but no KK. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like this portrait very much, not least the lovely orangey stripe across his face which grabs the attention and focuses it on the features. Such a good idea, beautifully executed. (And I’m totally in favour of celebrating older bodies (without wishing in any way to be a model for such a project 😉 ). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great drawing Michael; it might be an older body, but it’s full of life and intelligence, very present. As I’m now into my 50s I appreciate this project very much; we’ve been around for a bit, and our bodies reflect that 😉

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s