In the gallery of the printmakers workshop, Alfons, who is in charge of the etching department, was showing me and a couple of other printmakers an expensive reproduction of a renaissance painting of a clutter of overlapping pictures, sketches, objects and bits of still life that had all been stuck to a wall. I had a feeling that it was by Cranach the elder, but I wasn't entirely sure. Alfons pointed out that the picture was incredibly lively, given that it was mainly just a painting of scraps of paper, and that, in a way, it represented the beginning of a trend that would eventually culminate in the great achievements of modern collage. I wondered to myself whether it would be possible to do something similar in an etching, but just at that point, Alfons ridiculed the idea that etching could never equal the vividness of oils.
Then, he asked us whether we liked his new work and pointed to a crude hat stand in the corner of the gallery, on which was hung a camel-coloured duffel coat. I couldn't quite believe that it was meant to be a work of art, but Alfons was very serious. He drew our attention to what he considered to be the most inspired element of the piece: the two novelty goggling eyes on springs that he had attached near the top.
Notes for Freudian Analysis
Late last night, just before I went home, I was bragging to a friend about how I've sold three copies of an etching that I have up in the printmakers workshop gallery at the moment. Three of them! That means that, in the space of two weeks, I've almost doubled the number of works of art that I've ever sold and am, consequently, feeling rather proud of myself.
During the day, I read a long essay about Whistler and Picasso that traced the current emptiness of modern art to the sort of rejection of classical ideas about painting that those two typify, in their different ways. Very interesting but probably wrong.
I can go for months and months without thinking of Cranach the elder, which suggests that he doesn't represent himself in this dream. Might I suggest that it is therefore probably the "elder" part of his name that is important? I know it sounds a bit flimsy but, honestly, that's the sort of thing that could set Freud off for pages and pages. It might further support this view if I mention that the only picture of Cranach the elder's that I know properly is called "The Fountain of Youth", which I have an essay about at home. I have no doubt that Freud would suggest that that points to a possible suppression of age-related or generational issues -- in other words, problems with my father. He's quite reliable in that way, Freud.
Is Alfons some sort of father substitute in the dream? Possibly. In that regard, I have to note that the dream rather unfairly makes him out to be a buffoon. Alfons is a hardcore etcher with a strong belief in the importance of graft and craft in art. There is simply no way that he'd make some conceptual art bollocks with a duffel coat.