Jonathan Fineberg

I started thinking about child art already in high school. My freshman year of college I took a seminar in dynamic psychology in which I wrote about children’s art. Children’s art was perhaps the single most important connection in my life long friendship with Rudolf Arnheim. He was my professor in college but soon became my collaborator as we both studied the art of the child. Discovering Child Art: Essays on Childhood, Primitivism and Modernism was an offshoot of my work for my book and exhibition The Innocent Eye: Children’s Art and the Modern Artist. It began with my asking why the absurd cliché that “my kid could paint a (fill in the blank - Picasso, de Kooning, Kandinsky, just about any modern artist)” should be so pervasive. I discovered a common interest in child art by modern artists that art history had ignored. I uncovered the original collections of child art belonging to such artists as Kandinsky, Klee, Picasso, Miró, the CoBrA artists, opening a deeper view into the projects of each of the major artists through their particular interest in child art. When We Were Young: New Perspectives on the Art of the Child is the most recent outgrowth of this line of inquiry. It includes a discussion of giftedness in children, an essay on the dynamics of visual thinking, a historiography of the literature on child art, and a colorful survey of images of children’s drawings from around the globe, including the childhood drawings of famous artists.
All images and text herein © 2013 Jonathan Fineberg, All Rights Reserved Worldwide
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