Amazon just got into the art game, partnering with galleries around the world and highlighting art market newcomers like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, and Salvador Dali. Just kidding! Those guys are famous, but there are thousands of less well-known artists whose work is now waiting to be discovered and sold through 1-click shopping.
While the emotional impact of a painting is diluted through online imaging, there are many pieces on Amazon Art that still successfully convey their gloomy state of mind. Below is a list of what I think are the most bummer artworks on Amazon Art. Taste is subjective and while these images make me sad, they might make you really happy. Sad isn't always bad. Sad music is a necessity and sad art makes us feel something, for better or for worse.
Donald Martiny, Toward, 2011, 2011
This crusty black stick, for example, made me really sad at first glance. Who would pay five grand for an object that looks like discarded junk found next to the train tracks? Turns out the stick is 60 inches long, quite a substantial piece by Donald Martiny, who works with thick applications of pigment, but it's still a downer. Its red counterpart is a little more cheery, and a little more expensive.
Purvis Young, Drawing from the 1990s #119, circa 1990
This drawing by artist Purvis Young was listed in the outsider art section and is simply titled, Drawing from the 1990s #119. He lived in Miami, and on his list of inspirations is, "the abundance of pregnant women populating the neighborhood." I read more about Young and discovered that he was a beloved artist who made hundreds of small drawings like this one. He saved them in a shopping cart and later glued them into books. Young passed away in 2010. His collector base is vast and his paintings are terrific, but the low-quality photo of this tattered sketch of what could be a funeral isn't the happiest piece of art on earth.
Damien Hirst, Picolinic Acid, 2012
The spot paintings by Damien Hirst are accessible and plentiful, and they reference the pharmaceutical industry. For some reason it makes me sad to think of someone buying this piece, Picolinic Acid. I picture them wearing a t-shirt that says, "I bought a Damien Hirst and all I got was 1.5 spots." Amazon Art graciously provides an "in room" view of its art, superimposing each piece onto a living room wall so you can see what it would look like next to your West Elm furniture.
Randy Beckelheimer, HPS-35, 2011
I love this oil painting by Randy Beckelheimer. The lighting and industrial background of this "desolate landscape in Hunters Point," is moody, but I would happily live with it.
Elliot McDowell, Flying Horse, 1978
Flying Horse by Elliot McDowell immediately brought to mind a vintage Exxon logo scratched into a puddle of oil, and considering the oil industry's impact on the environment, it could be considered a bummer.
Ivana Jurna Lipska, Beloud Arabove, 1989
Ugh, these horses looks so ragged. Ivana Jurna Lipska was using color to play with highlights and shadows when she made this painting in 1989, and she is clearly talented because horses are hard to draw and paint. But, for some reason, these poor beasts look sickly, down and out.
Dale Johnson, Early Morning Fog Bank, 2011
Dale Johnson uses a modified toy camera lens to shoot his painterly photographs. This Early Morning Fog Bank is reminiscent of those gray San Francisco mornings where we bundle up and head to work through the pea soup that constitutes our summer climate.
Charles Marburg, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 2011
Charles Marburg describes his paintings, including this Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as "a conduit between my stumbling efforts and the pale flicker of my unconscious." Here I am, I imagine him saying, a cold blob falling out of the frame. The hint of chartreuse gives it a kick, but the piece still looks to me like a portrait of dull pain.
Michael Cole Manley, Super Sad, no date listed
Like many of the works on Amazon Art, there is no specific description of this painting, which is aptly titled Super Sad. Created by MFA student Michael Cole Manley, this painting certainly is super sad, but the red figure in the corner reads like a tiny beam of hope in this otherwise abandoned scene.
Harris Johnson, Sad Movie Woman, 2010