“I never work with the idea that I might have any talent. There’s no such thing. Quite the opposite. I always feel that I’ve never done what I wanted. There’s always a doubt–and I always hope to achieve something one day. But I’m never sure that it will be this time or next time. I’m never even sure that I will achieve something one day. What’s more I never achieve what I want. I’ve always had doubts. Still have doubts today. But I do have a certain satisfaction of having done what I could. I’ve done as Van Eyck said…. ‘Man has done his best.’ And if it’s no good, too bad.” –Paul Delvaux
The above remark occurs in the last scene of the wonderful documentary by Adrian Maben, Paul Delvaux: The Sleepwalker of Saint-Idesbald that I’d highly recommend watching. The film doesn’t note his age when he made the remark but I’d estimate he was in his late 80s. There’s a point where Delvaux describes teaching art before the influx of American Art notions when the school he taught at was placed under the values of the American regime. Since the 1950s the American art elite had spread the bankrupt gospel that figurative painting was dead and irrelevant and therefore devoid of any legitimacy. Urinating in the bushes in front of a film crew was a more relevant activity than learning how to paint. But still, I was astonished to find out that even a painter of such spectacular genius as Delvaux being told by a Belgian academy that his services were no longer needed as superior American Art standards were to be locked into the arts curriculum. From what I understand these are by and large still in place today. Once a monied ruling clique establishes power and then attract the hordes of sycophants willing to play along with their farce it’s incredibly hard to see the disaster dislodged.
That Europeans bought into the American Schlock of the New never fails to astound me when surrounded by work of such depth and richness. To swoon before a silkscreen soup can? It boggles the mind. And, of course, it still grinds on relentlessly as money and power and death are the aphrodisiacs that excite art lovers of today. Romans 6:23 informs: “The wages of sin is death…” And there’s an inexorable logic to the corporate masters of the Universe throwing as much of their tainted money as possible away buying the thoroughly dead art of the Warhol/Duchamp mold, and artists bending over backwards to join in the nihilistic frenzy. What else would a dead culture collect but dead art? Fortunately, they aren’t burning Delvaux… Just continuing to maintain that what he did is part of a dead past…. Good luck to them keeping up their total delusion. Delvaux is just as alive as are the other painting masters that “contemporary art” relentlessly strives to destroy.