Johannes Vermeer, Paul Cézanne, Vivian Maier, Claude Monet, El Greco are some of the many artists who only became well-known after their death. These artists fought for their beliefs, rebelled against the norms and ended up living in depression or scarcity. Ironically, their artworks are exclusive only for the super-wealthy, undermining the philosophy of the artists who did not want to commercialize themselves.
For the rest of us, museums and galleries have come up with non-profit gift shops where you can buy ‘Starry Night’ by Van Gogh printed on a tote bag or one of the self-portraits of Frida Kahlo on a pair of socks. In the past few decades, gift shops have become equally important as the exhibition itself. It’s ideal for the ones who cannot afford to buy their original artwork.
Unfortunately, low key artists who don’t have enough funds and resources have to wait for a long time to showcase in a gallery. Great artists of their time got no recognition and ended up in hardships in the past. Thanks to social media, artists now have an affordable platform to showcase their work. And us, the admirers, can purchase art from living artists rather than spending on overpriced commercial merch of a late artist.