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Monday, July 3, 2017

Derold Page

Fat Marbled Cat, Derold Page
When we speak of Folk Art, people primarily (and perhaps exclusively) tend to think of landscapes. Moreover we also tend to think only of American Folk Art. Of course, virtually every country in the world has its own folk art. In fact, in some countries, it's virtually the only art they know. I've no idea if Folk Art is as popular in European countries as it is in the U.S. but I do know that it's not got the same "look" to it we've come to know on this side of the Atlantic. I'm not sure the designation "Folk Art" is really the best tag for such work. Some writers and critics have come to refer to it as "naïve" art or "untrained" (that is, the work of self-taught artists). Derold Page is British, completely untrained, and seldom paints the usual nostalgic landscapes from memory we're so used to seeing from his American counterparts.

Tinkle Cat, Derold Page
Artistic Cats, those which
write poetry and paint pictures,
By Derold Page
What does Page paint? Cats--big cats, small cats, fat cats, lazy cats, and sometimes, some pretty damned ugly cats as well (top). And perhaps the main difference in his work, and that of other such artists of the U.K. and the U.S. is that few folk artists in either country dwell on such content so consistently. He's even published whole books on them, each featuring his own peculiar visualization of his feline friends (above, left).

Derold Page's landscapes bear little or no resemblance to
those of his American Folk Art counterparts.
That's not to imply that Derold Page never paints landscapes. In fact, some of his first paintings (above) were birds-eye views of the English landscape so neat and tidy, as if "arranged" within it's hedgerows. To express this feeling, he ;arranged his part of Somerset in a favorite basket, which he tried to better show its care, and his affection for its beauty. Page's harmonious, highly-detailed, peaceful paintings are often philosophical metaphors, expressing his belief that all natural things are precious and that all are brothers, who should live together in harmony. He has also found a unique way of painting dreams, sounds, and ideas making his work highly personal.

Can you imagine, painting with cat in your lap (even a sleeping one)?
Derold Page was not born in England but in South Africa, and didn't take up painting until his mid-twenties. His first painting was a birds-eye view of the historic village of Pilgrim's Rest, located in Mpumalanga province of South Africa. A very astute publisher immediately bought it to sell as a print. It was an immediate success. It wasn't until 1976 that Page moved to England where he settled into a 16th-century thatched cottage in Somerset.

Instant success with an Italian accent.
Derold Page's first one-man show was not in England, but in Rome. Every one of his paintings sold. In 1985, the Bridgeman Art Library began handling Page's work. His prints are now published and sold all over the world--conquering the art world one cat at a time.

When you look like an owl,
it's easier to hunt them.

Hey, I'm a dog!
You mean Derold
paints dogs too?


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