Registry of "Mushrooms in Art"

Moselio Schaechter mschaech at
Wed Jun 27 02:19:37 EST 2001

Hi again, regarding the registry of "Mushrooms in Art."

A few responses I already received suggest that I need to clarify the scope
of the registry as it now stands.

I decided, rather arbitrarily, to avoid including mushroom "illustrations."
The distinction is not about artistic merit, but about intent.   For now, I
would like to limit the registry to paintings whose purpose was NOT
primarily to depict mushrooms.   The works I have in mind include mushrooms
as part of a natural landscape, a still life, a gastronomic presentation, a
market food stall.   As an example of what I mean, the paintings by the
great 18th and 19th century illustrators such as Sowerby, Curtis, Greville,
or those by  Jean-Henri Fabre or Beatrix Potter are undoubtedly art, but I
would not include them at present.

Let me tell you why.  Mushroom illustrations are quite numerous and they
would overwhelm the relatively few paintings where mushrooms appear more or
less incidentally.   Also, it would be hard to know where to draw the line
between  illustration that are "art" and the rest.  It may turn out to be
prudent to include all field guides that use mushroom paintings or drawings
(and why not photos?).   Excluding any of them would be at great risk of
life and limb.

I would appreciate any comments on this subject.  The registry is not a one
person's job but should be a community effort.   I would welcome the
participation of anyone interested.  By the way,  to date, the registry
consists of nearly 30 entries but in a somewhat crude form.  I would like to
wait before releasing it to the Internet.

Elio Schaechter
Author, "In the Company of Mushrooms"
Harvard University Press


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