David Bruce: The Funniest People in Art — Collectors, Comics, Cartoons, Crime

From Bruce Anecdotes


• A rich American wanted to buy a Rembrandt, but he owned no other paintings. Lord Duveen refused to sell it to him, saying, “I can’t possibly sell a Rembrandt to a man who owns no other pictures. The Rembrandt would be lonely.”

• Even after Impressionist painter Edgar Degas’ eyesight grew bad in his old age, he still collected works of art. One day he bought a painting at an auction, then asked a friend, “Is it beautiful?”


• Did you know that the comic book heroine Wonder Woman was created for the purpose of serving as feminist propaganda? It’s true. William Moulton Marston — the man who invented the technological basis of the lie detector — created Wonder Woman in the 1940s. He explained, “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world. There isn’t love enough in the male organism to rule this planet peacefully. … I have given Wonder Woman this dominant force but have kept her loving, tender, maternal, and feminine in every other way.” In other words, according to her creator, the purpose of Wonder Woman is to help brainwash young male comic book readers into allowing women to rule them.

• Al Capp for many years wrote and drew the comic strip Li’l Abner. At a cocktail party, his hostess introduced him to a VIP. She said, “Mr. President, I’d like you to meet the famous comic strip cartoonist Al Capp.” The President asked, “What comic strip?” After answering the President’s question, the hostess then said, “Mr. Capp, I’d like to introduce the President.” Mr. Capp asked, “What country?”

• One of the things that Stan Lee did to make Marvel comic books interesting to the reader was to write entertaining credits for the stories. For example, “Written with Passion by Stan Lee. Drawn with Pride by Jack Kirby. Inked with Perfection by Joe Sinnott. And Lettered with a Scratchy Pen by Artie Simek.”


• When George Balanchine’s Four Temperaments was premiered at Ballet Society’s premier performance (a doubly historic event), everything was a smash success — except for the costumes, which had been designed by artist Kurt Seligmann, who neglected to design costumes that did not obscure the dancing. Mr. Balanchine was aware of the problem, and after the premiere, he asked Mr. Seligmann, “Can’t we modify and cut away fabric? Costumes are blocking choreography. No one can see steps.” Unfortunately, Mr. Seligmann objected, “If we cut fabric and change costumes, yes, we will see choreography, but then no one will see the designs. No one will see Seligmann!” For a while, at least, the costumes stayed.

• When artist Marc Chagall designed the costumes for ballerina Alicia Markova’s performance in Léonide Massine’s Aleko, he occasionally sent notes to Ms. Markova. He once drew a heart, then signed his name inside it — and he told Ms. Markova that he was sending his heart to her.


• On April 22, 1911, the security guards of the Louvre Museum were busy, and someone stole the Mona Lisa by simply walking out the door with it. For two years, it was missing, until finally the thief contacted Alfredo Geri, a Florentine art dealer. Mr. Geri in turn contacted the police, and they recovered the famous painting, which had been stolen by a house painter named Vincenzo Peruggia. He had worked at the Louvre, and he had stolen the Mona Lisa because he felt that its true home was in Italy. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louvre, where it can be seen today.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


The Funniest People in Art — Buy:

The Paperback




Smashwords: Many Formats, Including PDF

Music Recommendation: Bloods — “I Hate It”


Music: “I Hate It” from the EP SEATTLE

Artist: Bloods

Artist Location: Sydney, Australia

Info: “Sydney’s favourite rockers Bloods shower us with a hefty dose of 90’s-inspired pop-punk with the release of their EP Seattle. An ode to the city in which it was created and an unapologetic honoring of female triumph.”

All songs performed by Marihuzka Cornelius (vocalist), Dirk Jonker (drums) and Mike Morgan (guitar, bass, and backing vocals).

Price: $1 (USD) for track; $5 (USD) for six-track EP

Genre: Rock.


Bloods on Bandcamp