"Between Burka & Nun" 2007
The New Yorker cover

Conversation overheard between two art lovers in the elevator at the Metropolitan Museum, New York City:

1st art lover:  Did you see that fantastic fine art painting this week on the cover of “The New Yorker”?

2nd art lover:  Man, that wasn’t a painting, that was an illustration!

1st art lover:  So, what’s the difference?

2nd art lover:  Try two things.  PEOPLE AND MONEY!  Half a million people see “The New Yorker” magazine covers weekly versus the much lower number of visitors who come to the Met to see the fine art.

1st art lover:  And what about the money?

2nd art lover:  Hey, artists never have any money.  When they were young, Toulouse-Lautrec did posters, Renoir painted porcelain china and de Kooning was a sign painter.  Gilbert Stuart, who did the famous portrait of George Washington on the US dollar bill, played the organ at weddings!

1st art lover:  Can you believe it?  Their brilliant fine art paintings wouldn’t pay the bills!

2nd art lover:  Oh, and one last thing.  Illustration can be first class, but it has no mystery; no need for guessing what it means, cause it spells out the story.  Fine art only suggests the story and makes us ponder.  We have to use our imagination.

1st art lover:  Girl, I have one thing to say about all of that.  WHOOO CARES?!  Fine art vs Illustration.  This is a debate that’s been going on since the discovery of the cave drawings.

Let’s just enjoy the art!

"Woman with Hat" 1905
Matisse (Fine Art)

"Easter Parade" 1996
Maira Kalman (Illustration)

"Vitruvian Man" 1487
Leonardo da Vinci (Fine Art)

Medical Illustration
Frank Netter, M.D.

"Red Number 2" 1994
Fritz Scholder (Fine Art)

"The Last of the Mohicans" 1919
N.C. Wyeth (Illustration)

"Kiss V" 1963
Roy Lichtenstein (You decide)

You decide. Is this fine art or illustration?

Send us a comment with your choice (select “Leave a Comment” below) and we’ll get back to ya!

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