Monday 23 April 2018

Postcards from the Edge

The other photographs were of lesser interest, mainly postcards of his travels, souvenirs from which the original attraction had faded, and reproductions of favourite paintings, only some of which he had seen...
Anita Brookner, The Next Big Thing, ch. 9

It always surprises me that museums and galleries still sell postcards. Why do we buy them? Our own photos, on our smartphones, are often superior. Postcards not invariably get the colour or the lighting wrong. And we certainly don't send postcards any more. When was the last time I sent a postcard? I used, on my travels, to write them assiduously. And when was the last time I or indeed anyone received one? Answers on a postcard, please.

And yet I still buy them. I even collect them. I use them as bookmarks. I like handling them. They're real, solid; they retain something of the magic of foreign climes. I like to take them out and sort them by artist or by gallery. They form for me a little private autobiography. I find few from which the original attraction has quite faded.

(Eagle-eyed viewers will spot pictures by (among others and in no particular order) Schiele, Courbet, Klimt, Kirchner, Titian, Bruegel, Cranach, Watteau, Delacroix, Hammershøi, Aertsen and Delaroche, purchased in (ditto) London, Paris, Vienna, Copenhagen, Zürich, Cracow, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Florence. Several, as may be imagined, have Brookner connections.)

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