Editor’s Letter | Resolutions

Until Tomorrow by Michael Albrechtson,painting, Southwest Art
Until Tomorrow by Michael Albrechtson

By Margaret L. Brown

As I was writing this column in mid-November, I asked several members of the art community to share their New Year’s resolutions. While most hadn’t had time to think beyond the busy holiday season, I got an immediate and adamant response from Shirl Smithson, founder of the Oil Painters of America: “My resolution is to make a concerted effort to inform the American public of the sad state of art in this country,” she said, “and to request the display of works by today’s master oil painters in our major art museums.” Smithson formed the OPA in 1992 to promote traditional standards in oil painting. Her fervor is evident in an essay she wrote last year: “Unless the world realizes the seriousness of the possible demise of representational art, we will again enter a dark age devoid of the drawing and painting of the beauty of the human form and the forms of the natural world.”

Smithson’s comments reminded me of the opportunities that we all have—as art enthusiasts and collectors—to support representational art. Our advocacy can take many forms, from visiting a museum or gallery to reading a book about a particular artist to purchasing a painting or sculpture. So as you embark on a new year of collecting, keep in mind the importance of your individual support.

In the year ahead, Southwest Art will continue to focus primarily on representational art, with issues dedicated to landscape painting and still lifes, for example. But we’ll also keep in mind Arizona painter Harley Brown’s New Year’s resolution to “do something—anything—a little different each day” (or in our case, each issue). This month we present four “Artists to Watch in 1998”—Jim Knauf, Linda Raynolds, Tal Walton, and Dan Goozeé—as well as a portfolio of six artists in their twenties and thirties who are all on their way to establishing solid reputations, including Kansas painter Michael Albrechtson. Another article deals with the historic side of the art market, describing where to find affordable works by early California, New Mexico, and Texas artists. Historic works also appear in our new column In the Museums, which this month details a series of exhibitions commemorating the sesquicentennial of the California Gold Rush. Finally, our Collector’s Preview of 150 art sales and auctions helps you plan your art-buying trips in 1998.

Featured in November 1998