When I'm visiting California's artsy Carmel-by-the-Sea, I seldom fail to scoop up a copy of the pocket-sized Carmel Gallery Guide, a publication published every season or two. The current (Fall/Winter 2010/2011) edition has an interesting addition. Besides lists of galleries and artists, it now lists genres and which galleries offer such items.
Exactly what a genre is and which paintings belong to it is a matter of judgment. Nevertheless, I thought it might be interesting to post the genre names and the number of galleries claiming to sell examples. Bear in mind that a gallery can stock paintings in more than one genre.
Here is my tally (data first, categories as listed in the publication, my comments in brackets):
Carmel is a conservative place so far as painting is concerned, not at all like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Probably not like the USA as a whole, either.
- 3 -- 19th & 20th Century European
- 7 -- Early California & American Historic
- 11 -- European Contemporary (Landscapes, Cityscapes & Figurative)
- 31 -- American Contemporary (Landscapes, Cityscapes & Figurative)
- 1 -- Marine Life [Wyland Galleries only for this one]
- 13 -- American Modern, Abstract Impressionism [not Expressionism?!?]
- 4 -- European Modern and Abstract
- 7 -- Plein Aire Artists (Contemporary)
The American Contemporary category was tops, at 40 percent of the instances. American Modern and European Contemporary had 17 and 14 percent, respectively. Modernism, if tightly defined as American Modern and European Modern and Abstract held a 22 percent share.
Even given the not very precise and sometimes confusing categories, modernism doesn't seem to be hugely popular in Carmel galleries according to these very rough statistics. Nevertheless, it tends to confirm the impression I get strolling around town that hardcore and even soft-core modernism is not strong there.