100 Paintings Imagined by Authors

For their collaboration 100 Paintings Imagined by Authors artists Charlie Stein and Andy Best have taken key representations of visual art from literature and created versions of them in their studio.

Literature and art have had an intimate relationship since before the Modernist era. Interconnected social groups, the two creative formats have influenced key shifts in each other. A constant feature in the history of the novel, fictional artworks serve both for writers as key metaphors for the creative process, as well as serving, perhaps unintentionally, as the structural myths of the artist in society.

Here the product of earnest abstract painters, lovesick hobbyists, great creative geniuses, and failed artists – the full range of artistic stereotypes – are presented. All produced by the same artists’ hands, they question the idea of artistic style, and reveal the myths that are as strategies open to artists today.

These works were products of the writers’ recollections and imaginations, created in texts, rather than oil and canvas. Now presented to the audience within an art context, to be written about and recorded in biography, the works are returned somehow altered to their original source on the page.

Die Künstler Charlie Stein (Deutschland) und Andy Best (Australien) haben in Romanen imaginierte  Bilder zusammengetragen und im Atelier Versionen der beschriebenen Bildern entstehen lassen. Da Künstler und Schriftsteller sich historisch oft im selben Milieu bewegten, fungierten solche, in der Literatur beschriebene, fiktionale Kunstwerke oft als Metapher für den kreativen Prozess. Gerade diese, der Fiktion entsprungenen Künstlerpersönlichkeiten halfen auch dabei, die verschiedenen Mythen über die Rolle des Künstlers in der Gesellschaft zu schaffen. Hier werden die Produkte vom großen kreativen Genie, vom ernsthaften abstrakten Maler, vom liebeskranken Freizeitkünstler und dem gescheiterten Bohemian präsentiert – die ganze Bandbreite der Stereotypen, die heute noch auf Künstler angewandt werden. 




Dorothea as Santa Clara

Source:  Middlemarch, George Eliot

“Perhaps the beautiful bride, the gracious lady, would not be unwilling to let me fill up the time by trying to make a slight sketch of her—not, of course, as you see, for that picture— only as a single study.’ Mr. Casaubon, bowing, doubted not that Mrs. Casaubon would oblige him, and Dorothea said, at once, ‘Where shall I put myself?’ Naumann was all apologies in asking her to stand, and allow him to adjust her attitude, to which she submitted without any of the affected airs and laughs frequently thought necessary on such occasions, when the painter said, ‘It is as Santa Clara that I want you to stand— leaning so, with your hand against your chest—so—looking at that stool, please, so!”




Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 17.25.12Dora’s Flower Painting

Source: David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
“That was on the day when you were painting the flowers I had given you, Dora, and when I told you how much in love I was.”





Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 17.25.19Vronsky’s Portrait of Anna Karenina

Source:  Anna Karenina, Tolstoi
“He had a ready appreciation of art, and probably, with a taste for imitating art, he supposed himself to have the real thing essential for an artist, and after hesitating for some time which style of painting to select–religious, historical, realistic, or genre painting–he set to work to paint. He appreciated all kinds, and could have felt inspired by any one of them; but he had no conception of the possibility of knowing nothing at all of any school of painting, and of being inspired directly by what is within the soul, without caring whether what is painted will belong to any recognized school. Since he knew nothing of this, and drew his inspiration, not directly from life, but indirectly from life embodied in art, his inspiration came very quickly and easily, and as quickly and easily came his success in painting something very similar to the sort of painting he was trying to imitate.
More than any other style he liked the French–graceful and effective–and in that style he began to paint Anna’s portrait in Italian gown, and the portrait seemed to him, and to everyone who saw it, extremely successful.”




Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 17.20.33Facsimile (Black and White)

Source: The Killing Art, Jonathan Santlofer

“Back to the painting. The one completed image stripped down to essential black and white, no color necessary, the replication slightly skewed, a facsimile – like this life.”




Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 17.21.42Racehorse
Source: David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

‘I know it was near the bar, on account of the smell of spirits and jingling of glasses. Here, recumbent on a small sofa, underneath a picture of a race-horse, with her head close to the fire, and her feet pushing the mustard off the dumb-waiter at the other end of the room, was Mrs. Micawber.’




Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 17.20.44Elstir’s Flower Study 

Source: In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust

“It was a flower study but not one of any of the flowers, portraits of which I would rather have commissioned him to paint than the portrait of a person, so that I might learn from the revelation of his genius what I had so often sought in vain from the flowers themselves—hawthorn white and pink, cornflowers, appleblossom.”




Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 17.20.54You and me going down Grand Street

Source:  In the Night Café: A Novel, Joyce Johnson

Later, when we went home, you started a painting—two looming red shapes joined by a single mysterious gray stroke. You said it was you and me going down Grand Street.”




Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 17.21.05Purple Wave 

Source: In Search of the Lost Time, Marcel Proust

“And Elstir’s studio appeared to me as the laboratory of a sort of new creation of the world in which, from the chaos that is all the things we see, he had extracted, by painting them on various rectangles of canvas that were hung everywhere about the room, here a wave of the sea crushing angrily on the sand its lilac foam, there a young man in a suit of white linen, leaning upon the rail of a vessel.”




Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 17.21.13Imaginary Rothko

Source: Bluebeard, Kurt Vonnegut

“I don’t hate them,” said the cook…”they just don’t mean anything to me,” she went on. “I’m sure that’s because I’m uneducated. Maybe if I went to college, I would finally realize how wonderful they are. The only one I really liked, you sold.” “Which one was that?” I said. I myself perked up some, hoping to salvage something, at least, from this nightmare: a statement from these unsophisticated people as to which of my paintings, one I had sold, evidently, had had such power that even they had liked it. “The one with the two little black boys and the two little white boys,” she said. I ransacked my mind for any painting in the house which might have been misread in that way by an imaginative and simple person. Which one had two black blobs and two white ones? Again: it sounded a lot like a Rothko.”