GALLERIES/Dominic Fine Art
William Fuller Curtis (1873-1938)
Two Women in Profile, c. 1893
Charcoal on paper
240 × 538 mm. (9 ½ × 21 ⅓ in.)
Dominic Fine Art was established in Plymouth in 2022 with the aim of unearthing fresh talent and of repairing the reputations of forgotten masters. Botticelli, El Greco and Vermeer were once forgotten and though few artists can expect a similar revival, the road from 'forgotten talent' to 'academic reassessment' to 'museum acquisition' is best begun in small steps.
"I suspect that artistic decline can be accidental, that ability is not always aligned with the right temperament, and that there may simply be more geniuses than we can recognise."
Forgotten Masters | Enduring Images – Part II
A second look at artistic reputation: the reasons that some painters rise whilst others fall. The exhibition focuses on the 19th century, on the worthy artists caught between the decline of traditionalism and the rise of modernism. It remains an overlooked and undervalued area of the art market, but one of the most researchable. Dominic Fine Art seeks to unearth fresh talent and to repair the reputations of "Forgotten Masters."
Why the 19th Century?
Perhaps unlike any other period in Art History, the 19th century offers a compromise between the quantity and quality of available material.
The literature of the period, though plentiful, did pass through the filter of the printing press and was subject to the prohibitive cost of photography. Such Limitations would lessen in the next century, culminating in the sprawling internet, where information proliferates to the point that it is not only unmanageable in quantity, but unselective in quality. By contrast its scarcity in previous periods leaves few possibilities for revisiting the lives of these misunderstood and long-dead artists.
The 19th century is therefore unique, in that it isn't burdened with a surfeit of information, but it is plentiful enough for a researcher to traverse new ground.
This is also true of the artists practicing. More people are painting, because more people can afford to buy paintings, and though talent is unlikely to go unnoticed in an intimate market like the renaissance, it can be overlooked in a congested one. Thankfully the 19th century is sufficiently crowded to allow for the possibility of finding "forgotten masters", but not crowded to the point that they are impossible to recognise.