This Day in Death

11.25.13: Diorama Painter Fred F. Scherer – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:55 pm December 11, 2013

FRED_SCHERERScherer, seen in the background doing art. You know, art; the thing with the assholes wearing the berets?


If there’s one key human advancement that we witnessed in 2013, it’s that we’ve finally made the scourge that is art completely obsolete. Van Gogh? More like Van Get the hell out of my modern society, you pompous, one-eared Dutch freak. Oh, you spent a month painting a picture of a starry night? Yeah, I have the same picture; I took it with my phone and added a “Post-Impressionism” filter while I was eating a Swiss cake roll and waiting for the bus. It took me five seconds, and it didn’t have to be commissioned by the Sky Pope, or however shit gets done in the Netherlands. No, here on Earth we’ve advanced beyond the need for art. Who are you to tell me how a thing looks, anyway? I can already see in on Google Street View, don’t try to tell my retinas that that redwood’s bark is a burnt sienna when it’s clearly more of an Aztec brick. My eyes work just fine, thanks. It’s like I’ve always said: the visual arts are only useful for the blind. Those guys could use a leg up about that kinda thing.

It may’ve been art’s impending death that caused Fred F. Scherer, diorama landscape painter for the American Museum of Natural History, to pass away last month, a poetic synchronization with the loss of the form that, in many ways, gave him life to begin with. Or it could’ve been because he was 98. Or it could’ve been the result of being in confined spaces with open cans of Benjamin Moore all day. I’m not a theologian/doctor/painter.

…[T]here has to be a lot of depth and substance to the airspace of the picture — an illusion of odors, bugs and many miles of air currents in the 20 to 30 feet between the back wall and the spectator’s glass. Mr. Scherer was a master of all those illusions, especially air, [museum artist Stephen C. Quinn] said.

In an interview with The Brattleboro Reformer in Vermont, Mr. Scherer gave a summary of his technique: “I would juxtapose warm and cool colors to give it more airlike qualities,” he said. “It’s painted that way to vibrate like air in the distance does.”

“Find a way to paint more visible air into this landscape” sounds like either a zen mind-clearing exercise or the insane demand of an eccentric billionaire art collector, but Scherer managed to pull it off. Some of his dioramas looked so realistic you could be living inside one right now and you’d never even know it. It would definitely go a long way towards explaining these “American Midwestern Lonely Blogger” information plaques I keep finding around my apartment.

Source: The NY Times

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