Sunday, January 06, 2008

Koi Carp by David Koster

This is by way of being a cautionary tale.....

My second son is a committed fisherman, and although he now mostly flyfishes for salmon, there was a time when he was an enthusiastic carp man. When, in 1998, I came across this reproduction in a magazine of one of David Koster's paintings, I knew instantly that I wanted to get a print of it for my son. However, I could not find an easy way of going about it (I did not have a computer then), and I am nothing if not lazy. But I kept the magazine picture.

Nine years later, searching the web for something I no longer remember, I came across an art gallery selling animal pictures on eBay, and there in the collection was Koster's Koi Carp, although the colouring was rather different in the digital picture. However, I thought it an improvement if anything, so I ordered a copy.

When it arrived it was yet another colour, pale and washed-out-looking to my eyes, and I was frankly disappointed. This third picture is my photograph of the actual print, but my camera too is misleading, as it shows more colour than is seen by the naked eye.

The moral of the story obviously is: if you are going to buy art, buy it in person, not through the medium of press, internet or camera. Also, the gallery did point out that Koster produces his own handmade limited edition prints, so that there is always the possibility of variations in the colouring.

The gallery was prepared to take back the print, but I decided to take a chance with it. I showed it to my son without telling him the story of my disappointment, and he instantly wanted it. Just as well - it wasn't cheap!

Footnote :: As for me, I like any of these three reproductions better than the original!


Avus said...

The difference is incredible. Personally I prefer the last one - but am I seeing it as it is?
(Indeed, do we each perceive the world through different lenses?)

Granny J said...

Those are certainly very varied koi. The neighborhood racoons recently decimated the outdoor koi pond next door. The big fellow had been with the family for maybe 15 years.