'Tique Talk ~ About Antique Collecting ~ by Marianne Dow

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Do You Hear the Call of the Old - or Are You A Memorist?

For those of you who may have read my recent post, Antiques Collectors Buy More Than Memories, here is a postscript/addendum.

While you may not think about coming back to a post to see if there are any comments or replies added, I have found that sometimes the most interesting part of the post is in the conversation that follows.

My original post discussed Harry Rinker's comment "There is no collectability without memory." I want to share with you the comment that artist Dave Dubet (of the Old Paper Art site) wrote, along with my response.


MrCachet said...

Okay. I have to toss my two cents into this thing, simply because - I do.

I have no idea who Mr. Rinker is and had never read his column until this AM. I would have to agree with you Marianne, and strongly disagree with him.

I too am now hooked on old paper. It has gone beyond my desire to make art. When I first began seriously looking for old paper in February, I had one thing and one thing only in mind - putting my art work on it. There were products and advertising from my early youth that carried strong impressions and real memories - but they were images. I had no idea why I was attracted to them. Those, I think are the memories of Mr. Rinker.

I'm now going back even further looking for old paper which talks to me - products I know nothing about, but their names are intriguing. I realize that some of the images I'm now chasing (like packaging) will be rare finds. That has not stopped me from buying some of the paper I'm buying! I have more than enough to keep me busy for thirty years, but find myself returning again and again to eBay or local dealers who may have a piece of paper that I simply must have.

I too am hung on early litho because I know (and knew) the process involved in getting the image onto the paper. Those colorful images were originally attractive to me from the artist's perspective in me, but they had already passed into history by the time I came on the scene. By the late 40's, advertising was no longer illustration but had lost out to the quicker process of photography. I won't say that there wasn't still illustration being used (Coca-Cola for instance, or Post Magazine covers), but for the most part - illustration was dead. I have no memory of Zu-Zu the Clown or the Uneeda Biscuit Boy. Those are images I discovered only recently, and came to understand why they were attractive and why they sold their products.

So - on this one I think Mr. Rinker is dead wrong.


October 21, 2009 5:23 AM

Marianne Dow said...

Dave - thanks for taking the time to write such a great comment. While I certainly understand the attraction of old paper, I hope it doesn't distract you from your wonderful art! The search for buried treasure is addicting.

You mentioned the way the old lithos were made. When I started collecting cigar box labels, I learned about the stone litho process, which is incredibly detailed - I am in awe when I think of how they drew those images, the artistic talent that went unsigned. I have seen several cigar label stones, but never one for sale. Yet!

I popped an email out to Mr. Rinker, and he wrote back a nice note. Here's a bit of it:

"...[My]writing has always been designed to get people in the trade to think -- something my most recent Ruby Lane blog has done since I received several e-mail from readers. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. --Harry L. Rinker

PS: One final thought -- beware of considering yourself typical when you may be atypical. ..."

Well, I don't think I am atypical, based on several comments and conversations I have had. But there certainly are many people who collect just to buy back their childhood memories, or to create their idealised childhood.

I guess I just objected to Rinker's saying there was the one definitive collector, when there are plenty of both types of collectors - "Memorists" and those of us who choose to hear the "Call of the Old".

Ms. Dow Antiques Blog 'Tique Talk is published by msdowantiques.com

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