David Bruce: The Funniest People in Art — Money, Mothers


• In 1962, Andy Warhol exhibited his paintings of Campbell’s soup cans at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, California, charging $100 for each painting. An owner of a different, nearby art gallery saw the exhibit, was amused, and purchased several cans of Campbell’s soup that he sold at his own gallery. The price of three cans was sixty cents, and a sign at the gallery advertised, “Buy them cheaper here.”

• James McNeill Whistler gave his paintings names such as Arrangement in Black and White. The secretary of his London club, wishing for Mr. Whistler to pay his long overdue membership fees, sent him this letter: “Dear Mr. Whistler: It is not a ‘Nocturne in Purple’ or a ‘Symphony in Blue and Grey’ we are after, but an ‘Arrangement in Gold and Silver.’” Mr. Whistler paid the money he owed.

• Mary Cassatt sometimes bullied her rich friends into buying art. One day, as she and multimillionaire James Stillman were looking at a painting by Diego Velasquez in René Gimpel’s art gallery, she told him, “Buy it. It’s shameful to be rich like you. Such a purchase will redeem you.” He bought the painting.

• As a movie producer, Louis B. Mayer was always interested in the bottom line. Once, Gottfried Reinhardt wanted to make a movie that Mr. Mayer felt had no commercial potential, so Mr. Mayer said to Mr. Reinhardt, “You want to be an artist, but you want other people to starve for your art.”

• Pablo Picasso often painted over the white walls of the apartments where he lived, turning them into works of art. Early in Picasso’s career, an angry landlord forced him to pay to have a wall painted again. Years later, Picasso said, “What a fool. He could have sold the wall for a fortune.”

• Wilson Mizner once owned a store that sold reproductions of masterpiece paintings. After being offered $50 for a reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper, he replied, “No, sir. It’s worth ten dollars a plate, and I’m charging a hundred for the whole thing.”

• Before World War II, Lord Sandwich visited an art gallery owned by Lucy Carrington Wertheim. He liked what he saw very much, but remarked that although he would like to buy some pictures from her, “Alas! I’ll have to wait until I’ve paid my income tax.”


• Cathy Guisewite, creator of the comic strip Cathy, became a successful cartoonist partly because of her mother. Ms. Guisewite used to send cartoons to her mother, who was so impressed that she researched a list of syndicates for her daughter to contact. Ms. Guisewite was afraid that her mother would contact the syndicates if she did not, so on April 12, 1976, she mailed a letter and some cartoons to Universal Press Syndicate. The executives there looked over her cartoons, discussed them, and 90 minutes after opening her package decided to syndicate her cartoon. Later, Ms. Guisewite joked that she had been “forced by mother to send humiliating drawings of my miserable love life to Universal Press Syndicate.”

• When world-famous window dresser Simon Doonan was four years old, he threw his mother’s bras out the window. When she asked him why he had done that, he replied, “Because they flutter.” (Young Simon was effeminate and gay and interested in fabulous fashion. At the circus, he saw some ladies wearing fabulous and glittery costumes with plumes and asked his mother, “Why can’t you dress like that?”)


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


The Funniest People in Art — Buy:

The Paperback




Smashwords: Many Formats, Including PDF

Music Recommendation: The Delstroyers — “La Tarantula”


Music: “La Tarantula” from the album DIABOLICAL!

Artist: The Delstroyers

Artist Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

Info: “The Delstroyers are an instrumental surf band from murky Seattle, WA USA that worships things like Fender Reverb units and creatures that go bump in the night. In 2017, the band has teamed up with producer Johnny Sangster (Mudhoney, The Posies, The Supersuckers) on their first full-length album, DIABOLICAL!”  

All songs by the Delstroyers.

pnw_kook, a fan, wrote, “This is a ‘must have’ album. absolute perfection of a genre. Three-piece bliss. Favorite track: ‘Karate Surf.’”

Price: $7 (USD) for 13-track album. Tracks cannot be bought separately.

Genre: Surf Instrumental


The Delstroyers on Bandcamp




“…only there, in the silences of the painter or the writer can reality be reordered, reworked and made to show its significant side…” — Art of Quotation

“…only there, in the silences of the painter or the writer can reality be reordered, reworked and made to show its significant side. Our common actions in reality are simply the sackcloth covering which hides…the meaning of the pattern.” Lawrence Durrell, British, novelist, poet

via “…only there, in the silences of the painter or the writer can reality be reordered, reworked and made to show its significant side…” — Art of Quotation