- Historic Sites
The Perils Of Immortality
For centuries the Newport rich have been commissioning portraits of themselves—and sometimes getting a surprise when they see the results
July/August 2000 | Volume 51, Issue 4
SOCIETY PORTRAITISTS TEND TO SEND VALENTINES; AVANT-GARDE ARTISTS MAKE NO PROMISES.
The possibility brings us back to that uneasy relationship. Society portraitists who are insiders tend to send valentines. Avant-garde artists of international standing make no promises, and a sitter who chooses one of the latter takes a chance. It is hard to look at the Dali portrait without thinking he’s having a little fun at his friend’s expense. It is impossible to gaze at the Rivera painting without falling in love with a work of art that resembles no one but speaks to everyone. Sometimes art triumphs and the patron still comes out ahead.