To An Unsung Artist > IDEAS & IDEALS

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  IDEAS & IDEALS

To An Unsung Artist

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          Mostly we appreciate all the works of arts, great or not, with the title of the work and the name of its author. We cannot think of "Mona Liza," for example, without Leonardo da Vinci, nor can we separate Jean-Francois Millet from "The Gleaners" and "The Angelus." The same is true of literature and music, and of all the other arts in the world. "Don Quixote" is bound with Miguel De Cervantes, "La Boheme" with Puccini, and "Le Penseur"(The Thinking Man) with Francois Auguste Rodin. We feel something is missing or lacking when we confront a well-known work of art without remembering its title and author. Title and author in a work of art combine to enhance the value of the work and fqame of the aurthor. They complement each other.

          However, we cannot identify all the artistic works in the world with their titles and authors. We cannot simply remember them all. There are so many works, ancient and modern, whose authors and titles are unknown to us for various reasons. Unless we are a professional critic, scholar or commentator of the arts, we just enjoy artistic works without bothering much about their authors and titles, although we know we are better off or more comfortable with them. For most of us the works themselves come first and matter most.

          I have two pictures on the wall in my house painted by an artist unknown to the world and to me, although the painter's signature, G. Cherepor, is clearly visible at the left bottom corner. I have kept them hanging on the wall for the past 30 years or more. I bought them in the United States in 1972 when I was a graduate student at Villanova University, Pennsyvania. The simple fact that they have been with me for so long is a clear and strong testimony to my particular love for the works. I have moved more than five times since I came home in 1975, and every time I move, I have jettisoned some of my belongings deemed unessential, but the two paintings have always survived. Now with my retirement at hand I am moving to my final residence in a month, and so many memorabilia, books and wall-decorations in my office and house are in a steep competition for survival, but the two paintings mentioned above have already passed the screening test.

          I feel like telling you at some length how they came into my hands. On arrival in the United States to attend Villanova University, I found lodging in a house not far from school at $100 a month. Several months later, John, son of my landlady, a high school student, took me to a garage sale in the neighborhood. He said that someone was moving out to some other place and disposing of all their old things almost for nothing. Everything on display on the ground in front of the house were used items, but to me then they were treasures; cheap, of course, but treasures nonetheless. I bought some old toys and picture books for my preschool daughters back home.

          By the time I left the place my eyes fell on the two paintings among many knick-knacks. They were exactly in the same size, about 30 centimeters by 40 centimeters. The two looked like twins in style, color and technique. Evidently they were done by the same painter. They were just on chipboard and covered with transparent plastic, no frames around them. There was a small and shallow hole on the back for hanging on the wall. They were very light in weight. I looked at the price tag - just $1 each. I paid $2 and bought them all. I didn't care who painted them, nor what the titles were.

          From what I gathered from the trademark on the back, I presume with some certainty that the painter must be one of the award winners in some competition or contest, and a company called Champion Products must have bought the right to use the winners' works for their commercial purposes. They must have produced as many copies out of them as they could sell for the poor art-lovers like me. It had never occurred to me ever since that these two pieces could be great works of art. How on earth can anyone have a great work for a dollar? But I’ve liked them ever since I saw them.

          The two paintings always strike me with their dominating colors - yellow, brown, red and black - ideally combined to make me feel the mellow season of autumn in a rural and idyllic American village. Abundant yellowish-red and reddish-yellow leaves are on the old trees that are throwing long shadows on the dirt road, which is also covered ankle deep with the fallen leaves. In one picture, a farmer is leading a workhorse to the cart standing near the barn. There is a roofed wooden bridge across a brook. In another, an elderly man and a woman are helping each other move an old round table into an antique shop, probably for repair. It is evident that the painter had lived when the streets were not paved yet in the village, and cars were not yet invented or not spread to the country people. It was when life was slow and simple, and most things were done by hand, not by machines. I see and feel peace, quietness and beauty in them whenever I look at them.

          Discovering that time has worn and torn the plastic covering of the paintings, the other day I took them to an art shop and had each of them put in a new, elegant frame. Now they look much better and dignified. This morning, looking at the two pictures on the wall, I found myself thinking about the unsung painter of these two paintings. Most probably he or she would surely have been dead. Then, has he, with his uncommon talent, become famous and very successful as a painter, or as the fate of so many gifted artists in the world goes, ended his life with his high aspirations unfulfilled? I have searched his name on the Internet but so far in vain, to my great disappointment. Could he ever know that his two paintings had fallen into the hands of a Korean, crossed the Pacific Ocean, and have been loved, admired and cherished so much far away from his home ?
                                                                                                           (April 11,2005)

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Martha님의 댓글

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I, too, have a painting by G. Cherepor. It has a red barn, with a farmer in overalls leading a horse to the barn.
It has a wagon on the left of the picture and a white fence around the barn.
 
My father died a few years ago and this painting hung in his house.
I would like to find out more about this artist but don't know where else to look. Did you have any luck finding out about yours?

Thanks a lot. Martha Laws, Orlando, Florida.

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이창국님의 댓글의 댓글

이창국 쪽지보내기 메일보내기 자기소개 아이디로 검색 전체게시물 작성일

I am very surprised and delighted to learn that there is at least one more person who owns G. Cheropo's painting in the world. One of the two paintings I have matches exactly with yoiurs, according to your description.
It is very kind of you to let me know of this very interesting fact. In fact, I am very much thrilled. Very unfortunately, however, I have not succeeded in finding out more information about the painter yet. How I wish I could.

Buy the way, I wonder how this message of yours has come to me. I presume that you may have read my essay about this painter and his paintings published years ago in my newspaper column in the Korea Times. Or else? Please let me know.

Thank you very much.
Lee Chang-kook, Seoul, Korea.

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juchoo님의 댓글

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Professor Lee, I found that the artist's name is not G. Cherepor,
but George. Cherepov who was American painitng artist(1909-1987).
You can go and see Ask/Art Website at http://www.askart.com/AskART/artists/bulletin.aspx?searchtype=DISCUSS&artist=103245

I tried to search with the name Cherepor at Google, and I found that
your essay was listed with his wrong spelled name. You can see that quite a few people owned his paintings.

Take care.

ps) The following site will let your know a brief history of the artist.

Biography from AskART:http://www.askart.com/AskART/C/george_cherepov/george_cherepov.aspx?searchtype=SUMMARY&artist=103245

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