The news about the incredible life of Mr. Gurlitt has just passed by my window. To quote The New York Times, For Son of a Nazi-Era Dealer, a Private Life Amid a Tainted Trove of Art.
I expect that the general opinion of his life and behavior would label him odd at best. But I would offer an alternative way of perceiving him, as a monastic or visionary, one who gets the substance of life through the contemplation of the divine, someone so captivated by that spark, the human world held no interest to him, or meaning. It is one of the residues of art making, the ability to see the divine in a material form.
A strange life yes, but one that could be a movie, slant your perspective a little, he could have been a monk.
As artists we are always outsiders in the world, and many of us are outside the world of art too. Anne Truitt an American sculpture, who was always defined as a Minimalist abhorred definitions and tags, especially about herself. It seems though that without them the broader world has no way to categorize us, and I feel that is the issue here to. That he could spend his life contemplating the work of artists instead of engaging in the mundane world feels right to me. It should be an option, a life of contemplation instead of engagement, isn’t that what the divine was all about? That he could live that in a world conflicted by spiritual values seems a miraculous thing to me, that he was totally unaware of the events of that world reinforces for me his contemplative life as not someone who shunned the world but as someone who found the world in art.