- LONELY, LONELY LUDWIG ZUMBUSCH In the Frye's #SocialMedium experiment, no one has voted for this painting.
What is the matter with this painting? Too dull? Too depressing? Is it the scythe? It's the scythe, isn't it?
Is poor Ludwig Zumbusch's Harvesters really that much worse than all these others? Because every single other painting on the page? Because all the others got at least one vote of confidence, but Ludwig Zumbusch's scene was the only one to get a fat zero.
Today is the last day to change the fate of the late Ludwig Zumbusch. It's the last day of a competition the Frye Art Museum is hosting that will result in an exhibition opening September 27. It's called #SocialMedium. People vote on their favorite paintings from the museum's collection, and those paintings will go up on the walls, with some of the comments left by voters in the process. One voter called Sin—the highest-ranking painting on that page—"Seattle's Mona Lisa." That will probably make it onto a wall label.
Meanwhile, the survey is interesting, even though it could also be dismissed as, well, meaningless. The group of voters is self-selecting, and most are voting on the Internet. They're picking JPEGs, not paintings. What other explanation could there be for the fact that this painting, which has inspired generations of artists (a few of whom even voted for it), receiving only 22 votes to Sin's 54 and Here I Am's 51?
Here I Am is by Leopold Schmutzler. (You couldn't 'make these names up.) A funny thing about the apparent internet-based popularity of Here I Am is that it closely resembles another painting by the same artist, of the same woman, around the same time (circa 1910): Woman in Costume. But Woman in Costume has received only 38 votes. If you want to nerd out, try to figure out what it is about this woman's two similar expressions that people like better and worse.
Voting ends today.