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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Coromo In New York, parts 1667 - 1670

1667. On the following day Coromo again waited on the mysterious Proctor Cronk, and the first thing he did was to admit that he was the painter of the pictures on the wall, and not his Uncle Thomas. He assumed that the next thing would be for his patron to purchase one or more of his works but that was not what Proctor had in mind. What Proctor said next was almost impossible for Coromo to credit.

1668. “I own three paintings remarkably similar to the paintings you have painted. My pictures are by an artist named Koromo. I have never met him. He lives in New York. He is an illiterate man who works as a janitor in a high school up in Harlem. He is elderly and lost his left arm in an industrial accident. Since he was left handed he began painting years ago as a form of therapy to get used to using his right hand. Like your works all of his pictures are on commercial canvas, and painted with oil paint.

1669. Suddenly Coromo had a revelation, and a great many isolated pieces of information came together in his head and he proceeded to say a remarkable thing the brilliance of which dawned upon him as he was speaking. “The one-armed Harlem janitor and my drunken Uncle Thomas are one and the same person in that they are  fabricated personalities of use in selling na├»ve works of art.

1670. He saw all in an instant that an imaginary character had been invented in both cases for the same reason: to sell things. He could see that it didn’t matter if the artist Wolfli lived out his life in an insane asylum, the point was that it was an interesting idea, something to tell people who want to buy something. He had discovered all by himself that it is necessary to attach an interesting story to a painting or the artist in order to make a sale.

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