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From great art comes civilization

Date published: 11/4/2013

From great art comes civilization

I am responding to Froma Harrop's Sept. 30 op-ed titled "What makes art valuable, really?" It discusses why fakes and forgeries that are often indistinguishable from or better than originals are decried, demeaned, and valueless, while the masters' original works are expensive to priceless.

Her commentary is frivolous and without merit. I went and saw the "Mona Lisa." "So what?" is a question bespeaking no insight nor education above kindergarten. What good does that column do for the readers?

Fine art, and a lot of common art, is a sine qua non of what we may be pleased to call "civilization."

Both great works of art and much common art is preserved in galleries and museums because their achievement bespeaks civilization among refined and representative forms of imagination.

Collections of great art are made possible in the first and the "nth" instances by the surplus of man's economic activities. Surpluses are the basis of wealth and of aristocracies, which, then and now, finance the creations of art and its collections. From surplus initially, thence from wealth and aristocracy, comes and continues civilization.

James T. Westwood