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Friday, March 31, 2006
  Pro Hart - The art Mafia doesn't like me
This week the Australian artist Pro Hart died, so there has been quite a bit about him in the media. Most reports seem to highlight the fact that he was never collected by any important art museums in Australia.
My personal opinion is that Pro Hart should of been happy with the commercial success he had. He painted quirky, folksy type popular images of times past. Old Australian bush scenes that verge on the corny were how he became so popular. He knew it too, and repeated himself to become a reasonably wealthy man.
I couldn't find any decent collection of his paintings online, but a Google image search brings up a few Pro Hart paintings.
Alan Dodge from The Art Gallery of Western Australia told the Australian newspaper "He is one of the most delightful illustrators of the Australian folk idiom, but let's not use the word art anywhere. He's incredibly popular and there's nothing wrong with that."
He probably deserves some kind of slight mention in the history of Australian art, but a very minor one (no pun intended - he was a miner before becoming a painter). He was a folk artist and that's how he should be categorized. It's not a good or bad thing, it just means he's not in the same room as other Australian artists like Brett Whiteley, John Olsen, or Fred Williams.
>> Art News, Famous Artists
BgArt News Blog Comments:
Sounds like he is in a similar situation to Thomas Kinkade in America. Plenty of popular appeal, but no respect in the art world.
Only history can really judge them. In 500 years people may not even know the name "Andy Warhol".
in a very short time we wont even remember the art critics....we will remember pro hart.
let time and people that spend monies to have his art, be the judges,not short term critics that only have one goal in mind, gaining puplicity for themselves.
It takes a heart to see the art in a Hart.
Mr Dodge…what are you avoiding?
The fact that he was a miner before an artist should add to his significance. He helped bring art to a new audience and also diversified the art world. This was exactly what Australia needed and still needs today.

I know an "artist" who is scathing of outback residents because they don't appreciate art. Then when it is shown that they do, people like Dodge just say it is not art. For them, "art" is something like an artist's name in italic letters or a boot in a gallery.
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