Court Painter, amid cheers from his sadly compliant “studio team,” booted portraits of Jody and Jane from the privileged ranks of the Court Painter plethora of political celebrity subject sale items. They have been excised, exiled and ejected. As one always reliably tasteful observer put it — “the boil has been lanced.”
So what does all this mean, now, for Court Painter, who under the more congenial moons of 2015 put much of the world’s press and QE2 in the kind of swoon normally served up only for alumni of Survivor or Lady Gaga epiphanies? Well, it means those days are gone for good.
It’ll be a while before Time or Vogue comes calling again. Or Vanity Fair, oracle of the yuppie woke, teases out such spellbinding headlines as “Let Court Painter in His Long Johns Brighten Your Monday,” followed by the beautiful kite tail of a sub-head “Not all art superheroes wear fig leafs.” Which is shorthand for saying that the “stylishness” component of the Court Painter brand, the meretricious appeal of the artist as celebrity, is done and gone. The charisma of celebrity as opposed to the celebrity of painterly accomplishment or real pigmented achievement, is always a thin halo, and can vanish with a tweet. Once evaporated it never returns.
The charisma of art celebrity … is always a thin halo
He now walks the ground like every other humbled portraitist, as pedestrian as the rest of them.
These are just fragments of the fallout from Court Painter’s studio purge, but they are emblematic. The progressive brand and Court Painter as its most alluring symbol is no longer his to claim. But ever optimistic he quipped “A day without art is like a dog without a bone.”