Friday, February 03, 2012

Dr. Seuss goes to Portugal

Saturday's post and the Twitter meme that gave rise to it testify to Dr. Seuss's literary influence.  A photo I took near São Bento train station in Porto, Portugal, in November suggests that his drawing style also has international reach:

© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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14 Comments:

Anonymous solo said...

On the subject of 'Nobody Knows Anything' the internet (a highly reliable source, obviously) informs me that the first Dr Seuss book was rejected by no less than 27 brilliant editors and publishers.

The alleged number of rejections is something of a moveable feast but they all seem to congregate in double figures. What were all those editors thinking?

Perhaps, they were like Henry James who declared Dickens and Dostoevsky to be second rate writers.

February 03, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I read a similar statement about Dr. Seuss before I put up my Seuss post the other night. I mentioned that I'd read -- sorry for my choice of words -- an anecdote about a producer who had turned down Star Wars. If my memory serves me well, he said something like the hits that he picked up that others had turned down balanced nicely the Star Wars decision.

February 03, 2012  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

Publishers probably turned down Seuss because they'd never seen anything like it before. It's still the case that far too many publishers/producers, etc. are unwilling to take chances.

February 04, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's a plausible suggestion. I wonder what publishers and readers were used to in the matter of cartoons and comic verse when Dr. Seuss's first work was being rejected. Ogden Nash would just have been getting started, and I think satirical cartoons were more popular than they are now, I'm not sure anything as fantastical as Seuss had appeared, though.

February 04, 2012  
Anonymous solo said...

A photo I took near São Bento train station in Porto, Portugal, in November suggests that his drawing style also has international reach

Have you read the Wikipedia entry on 'The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss'? It says:

he can probably be best defined as a combination of early forms of maximalism and cute formalism. This is evident not only in the visual aesthetic of his work, but also in his work ethic. In the maximalist tradition, his work is very bright, sensual, visually rich, and extremely detailed. He was also very conscientious, and his pieces are all very formalistic and work-extensive. All of his pieces also display a childish and playful nature, with a touch of femininity and a sense of ironic politeness, which leads to the assertion that he was a preemptive cute formalist.

I'm afraid this is all way beyond me. Work-extensive, ironic politeness? Clearly, this is genius tlking. Ah, but what I wouldn't give to be a preemptive cute formalist!

February 04, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't know what work-extensive means. I'd guess the writer means that Seuss covered every square inch of the paper with color and objects. I know what a formalist is in art theory, but I'm not sure what it would mean applied to a practising artist. "Cute" I can figure out, but "preemptive"? I haven't a clue.

I wouldn't mind reading the article, but I would guess that is not essential to anyone's appreciation of Dr. Seuss.

February 04, 2012  
Anonymous solo said...

I know nothing about art, Peter. Until he died last year, I had never even heard of Cy Twombly. If it's not too off topic, what do you think of Twombly

February 04, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I can't say I understand Twombly well. I haven't studies his work or seen much of it. It has that rough aspect that makes people say of Abstract Expressionst art that, "A child could do that," but he a had a nice eye for color.

February 04, 2012  
Anonymous solo said...

Feck, traffic lights have a nice eye for colour.

February 04, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm sure some Dadaist out there would call traffic lights art.

February 04, 2012  
Anonymous solo said...

Dadaist? Duchamp presented a toilet bowl as art, and he was no Dadaist. I'd rather be called a DuChump than a Dadist.

February 04, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, you're preaching to the choir to some extent. When I studied art history, I favored the Italian Renaissance, so I have fairly traditional tastes. If you can piss in it, it's not art (certain Baroque fountains excepted, of course).

February 04, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

As my teacher mary Holmes laid it down, art is anything that's made by human beings. The question to ask is not, "Is it art?" but "Is it any GOOD?"

I don't know how Suess made it to Portugal and somehow bypassed the British Isles.

February 04, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wondered that, too. The story could be even more interesting: the door gate on which the Seuss-like figure is painted is on a street full of shops run by merchants who appeared to be Muslims, or at least by their dress and appearance to come from Islamic nations.

With respect to Mary Holmes, I presume art and artisan share a root. So, yes, there can be good art and bad art. Do people who say, "Aw, that's crappy art" intend the same meaning as those who say, "That crap is not art"?

I don't know. I'm likelier to say, "That's crap," the adjective as the predicate, and thereby avoid the question.

February 04, 2012  

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