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Old 03-07-2018, 09:11 AM
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Date?

I have an odd question. What date do you place on your work-- not necessarily written on the front of the piece (we've discussed this many times on WC), but in your catalog. In other words, if a gallery or a juried competition only wanted to see recent works, specifically, only works done for 2017, but you are a slow worker and it may take as many as 3 years to finish your artwork. So, if it took 3 years to finish your artwork, would you use the start date, or the finish date on it. For instance: works: 2018 might actually be something you had going in 2015, but were not finished with yet.

So in my catalog, I might have a painting called "Street Scene" and then put the date 2018 on it, however "Street Scene" was complicated and I actually worked on it from 2013 to 2018, finishing it in February 2018. (This is a hypothetical painting, and does not exist).

How would you categorize this by date?
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Old 03-07-2018, 10:59 AM
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Re: Date?

Date completed.
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Old 03-07-2018, 12:51 PM
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Re: Date?

I prefer to no longer place a date my pieces. A customer sometimes is swayed by the age of a painting. For exhibiting purposes, when curators ask for current work only or recently completed work without specifying a year, the date on your painting may disqualify what you consider "current" or "recent".
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Old 03-07-2018, 02:43 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Date?

I use the completion date as "The Date" for all pieces but doe not put the date on the actual artwork, only in my catalog.

No need to read below this line unless you are bored....
----------------------------------------------------------------

I never date anything on the actual piece. I also sign it very small and in a color that is hard to spot, on the front. Almost nothing ruins a nice painting in my opinion, more than a bright and large signature with or without a date. I assign a catalog number to every painting that is written in permanent ink on the back. I keep notes and date records in a database. On the back of every piece I also add any pertinent information that would help the new owner or an art conservationist in the future such as the type of support material, the type of adhesives used if any to attach the support material to a panel, the medium used, title, sometimes some brief descriptive text and whether or not a protective finish has been applied.

Unless you are dead or very famous - an old date on a painting can be the kiss of death to a buyer or a gallery. If you don't ever plan to sell your work, then the date on the front, or the back if preferred, would not matter either way other than to suit your own personal likes / dislikes.

Last edited by contumacious : 03-07-2018 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 03-08-2018, 03:39 PM
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Re: Date?

Oh yes, I believe in your system of not dating (contumacious, and artbymdp). I also think dates on paintings and other art look High-Schoolish, and somehow amaturish. Okay. I would only date in my catalogue or database. I asked because I have a whole slew of sculptures that were abandoned because I was getting my graduate degree, and then nearly died and took a year and a half to get my strength back-- so all that time they just hung out gathering dust. I am back to finishing them up now, and will be showing them and trying to sell them etc., starting soon. Within the next 3 months. But, since they have been on the burner for 3-4 years, I was uncertain about how to treat them in the catalog. I would consider them "recent."
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Old 03-08-2018, 06:42 PM
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Re: Date?

Sorry. But I title, sign and date every watercolor painting I do. In my eyes that looks professional, and ethical about when the painting was completed.

I don't subscribe to the "no date" philosophy as a means to get around exhibitions with "last two years" entry criteria. To me it's an ethical issue.

And I could care less about the marketing jingo that "old paintings won't sell". It that was true the Mona Lisa and all of Monet's work would be worthless. That approach is simply silly.

If someone won't buy one of my paintings because the date is more than 6 months or 2 years old, it doesn't bother me a whit. Quality work is quality work. The date (or no date) on the painting doesn't affect the quality one iota.

Every artist is free to do what they wish when it comes to dates.

I choose to be honest and ethical.

Everyone else may do what they wish.

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Old 03-08-2018, 08:15 PM
Harold Roth Harold Roth is offline
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Re: Date?

Quote:
Originally Posted by virgil carter
I choose to be honest and ethical.

Everyone else may do what they wish.
People who don't put a date on their work are not therefore unethical and dishonest. I don't put it on. I keep it on file for myself and that's it. I don't not put a date on it because I want to skirt around some exhibit rules. I just don't see a reason to put it on, especially because nowadays I see artists actually putting a copyright symbol in front of the date. I don't even sign with my first name.
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Old 03-09-2018, 03:34 AM
marksmomagain marksmomagain is offline
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Re: Date?

I sign and date everything. I want that information noticeable yet somewhat subdued. On the back goes that again, along with any pertinent notes and/or comments. I find that people want this information and appreciate it, especially as the years go by and the work ages or gets passed down in the family.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:55 AM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Date?

Quote:
Originally Posted by virgil carter
I choose to be honest and ethical.

Everyone else may do what they wish.

Sling paint,
Virgil

I am with Harold on this one. Not dating a painting is not even remotely dishonest or unethical in my opinion, as long as it isn't done to skirt around some rules. Anyone who wants to know when it was painted can certainly ask the artist.
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:07 AM
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Re: Date?

So Virgil, the question was about a piece that had taken 3-4 years from start to finish. It is not about being honest or ethical. How would you date that?

The consensus is to put the last date (finished product) as the date.

That is also more or less smoothing out that big chunk of time and communicating that it only took a few months to do. For example, if an artist put 2018 on a piece, you would think it was done within the 12 months of 2018.

The art competition thing came up because I have seen terms of applications to shows state that the work must be recent, and then they give some sort of timeline (must not be older than 2 years) or something. So then, is it the finished date, or the working date (work in progress). Watercolor does not seem like something that takes a long time to do, so this problem probably does not come up often.

It really makes no big difference in the long term. No one will ever write a book about me, so how long I worked on the piece (or left it to collect dust) is beside the point.
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Last edited by Use Her Name : 03-09-2018 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:51 AM
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Re: Date?

Some artists work slower than others. As with buildings, books, movies, and any long term art project "recent work" refers to the date completed.
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Old 03-09-2018, 03:59 PM
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Re: Date?

"...So Virgil, the question was about a piece that had taken 3-4 years from start to finish. It is not about being honest or ethical. How would you date that?..."

I think the answer is easy. I'd date it when I finished the painting, and that would be the date I'd use.

In my view, a painting is finished when the artist decides to stop painting. Not a big deal.

Sling paint,
Virgil
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:09 PM
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Re: Date?

Just wondering, why do exhibits care that an artist shows only recent work? If the work is quality what is the difference when it was made. I find it silly that ethical even enters this conversation.
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:59 PM
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Re: Date?

I've often wondered myself. Every exhibition and show is different, but this is an all-too-common requirement, IMO. Some shows state that it's to ensure "recent work", but why is a mystery to me.

Quality art is quality art. A date doesn't make art more so or less so.

But shows are what they are, and if you want to participate you have to play by the rules. Their rules. Even silly ones.

The reason that "ethical" enters the equation is that there are indeed painters and teachers who counsel to not date their work purposely so that they can enter their work where they choose without regard for a show's rules. Like it or not, you can find this sort of conversation in just about every discussion on dating or not dating one's work.

Sling paint,
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:16 PM
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Re: Date?

I really don't remember. I read it one time on an application and thought of it as I was writing this post. Apparently, it is a "rule" of some contests. When I was getting into a gallery, "recent" work seemed to mean quite a lot to them.

Show's rules are neither ethical nor nonethical. When I see the cheating that many people did to get where they got, suddenly abiding by the rules no longer is very important to me. People who follow rules get pooped upon. Those who can sneakily circumnavigate the rules generally get farther in life. I would love to write a book about all the people who got jobs who lied, cheated, stole their way into them. All you have to do is read Autobiography to see a ton of these people. So other than killing kittens (which I shall not do) everything else is fair game.

(Although I state this in this emphatic way, I really follow rules as much as it conveniences me. I've lost a lot of jobs and scholarships that way)
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