Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Who Did That?

Albrecht Durer’s monogram

via imprint

“Anon, short for anonymous, is as common in art history as Smith is in American telephone directories. Yet for a specific work to have its maker buried in an unmarked grave in history’s Potters Field is a sad epitaph indeed.

Credit implies ownership and accountability. Around the eighteenth century art became more commonly a function of individual creators who received credit. The term Anon is less commonly found in art histories of this era. In fact, the signature became an important component of a work, even for lesser artists.

While not on the lowest rung of the art hierarchy, illustrators and cartoonists of the nineteenth century started signing their wares as much for their personal satisfaction as for the recognition it afforded them in an increasingly competitive marketplace. And not only did the illustrator’s signature appear, so did the engraver’s and printmaker’s — akin to the lengthy acknowledgments found in contemporary graphic design annuals...”

Read the rest here.

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