Saturday, December 22, 2012

Titles for Paintings, Part 1

American illustrator and teacher Harvey Dunn (1884-1952) said, “Always think of a title for your pictures. It will help you to keep up your interest. Give it a name that will stir you, a title that demands a good picture.”

This one is called “Prairie Drama.”


RenĂ© Magritte (1898-1967) preferred puzzling, literary-sounding titles for his paintings.
Instead of calling this one "Man with an Apple in Front of His Face," he called it “Son of Man” (Le fils de l'homme). 

Magritte usually didn't choose the names himself. He let his Surrealist friends come up with them. He explained, “The titles are chosen in such a way as to prevent my pictures from being situated in the reassuring region to which people’s minds would automatically assign them in order to underestimate their significance.”
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Magritte quote from Always Looking: Essays on Art


5 comments:

etc, etc said...

I interpret Magritte's explanation as a tacit admission that his paintings aren't visually interesting...surreal banality.

Scott Elyard said...

A man with an apple in front of his face isn't visually interesting?

Maybe I have differing standards for interesting.

Anyway, judging by the file names of images I work on, titles are usually a one-word descriptor of the subject matter (or "poster" or something). Actual titles come afterword, sometimes suggested by others.

L Benson said...

I like the idea of other people creating titles for your art. It speaks to the inherent interpretive nature of art as a "meaning generator" :)

thanks for sharing this

Anonymous said...

“The titles are chosen in such a way as to prevent my pictures from being situated in the reassuring region to which people’s minds would automatically assign them in order to underestimate their significance.”

That made me LAUGH! - mp

Diana Hilliard said...

A friend of mine took one look at a new landscape of mine and exclaimed" OMG Alice in Wonderland Goes Farming" I used the title, and it sold within 24 hours of being hung. I will always wonder if the title wasn't hugely responsible for the sale...