The Art Gift It was, of course, the great Dada artist Marcel Duchamp who, in 1919, came up with the most perfect, not to mention wittiest, artistic gift. Living in New York at the time and wanting to give something to one of his closest friends and most significant patrons, the millionaire Walter Arensberg, the son of a Pittsburgh steel millionaire and a man who he saw as ‘having everything’, Duchamp had a Paris pharmacist empty a glass ampoule, originally containing serum and then seal it again once air had replaced its original contents. The coup de grace, so to speak, was to then entitle it ‘Paris Air (serum physiologique)’ and the one thing, in effect, that Arensberg could never ‘own’. That might seem a distinctly hard act to follow when considering the possibility of buying someone a work of art for Christmas but, it does seem to me, on reflection, to overcome what can often prove a real stumbling block when it comes to choosing a present for someone we like and know pretty well – what an earth can I give them this year that is different, that they don’t already have and that is personal and particular to us as either family or friend? For, when you come to think about it, art can work quite miraculously well at every level here, both for the giver and the receiver. As giver you have all the fun of going to a gallery, or galleries – or searching online if needs must – looking at, perhaps even handling things – when it begins to get serious! – not to mention all the delightful agonies of making the final decision. Finally there is, of course, always that wonderful, and quite genuine pleasure to be gained from the very act of giving, an act all the richer for knowing that what you are giving is unique or, at the very least, in the case of a limited edition print, one of a quite tiny number. In a world of materialist over-abundance and consumerism, a work of creative art scores on absolutely every single point. Indeed the only problem the following pages of gallery offerings presents, is the sheer range of excellent places to go and the quite marvellous and gorgeous things to choose from – glittering glass, sensuous ceramics, delicate watercolours, contemplative sculpture, exuberantly expressive canvases, subtle etchings, cutting edge digital prints, delicately crafted gold or silver bowls – and that part I really can’t advise you on. If you still need help though there really is no problem, because that is just where good gallery owners come in. They know their stock, and if you can't immediately see the ‘thing’ that absolutely clicks with you vis a vis the receiver, there’s usually a lot more out the back or upstairs – there’s an ‘iceberg’ element to most galleries in that most of what they carry is often not immediately visible! Oh, and one last point – value for money. When you look around you, just how many gifts can you identify that are still there, in daily use and giving huge pleasure, just a year on from last Christmas? Not that many I'll bet, and few if any, that come crafted with such imagination, skill and originality. For rather less than a case of wine you can make a gift for a lifetime – and you too can be a Marcel Duchamp of a kind! Nicholas Usherwood Fidra Fine Art w ww.f Our Winter Exhibition features a great selection of some of the best artists working in Scotland today. 12 x 2: 12 Artists x 2 Paintings. Dec 2-Jan 28. Lesley Banks, George Birrell, Dominique Cameron, Alan Connell, Matthew Draper, George Gilbert RSW, John Johnstone, Simon Laurie RSW RGI, Neil Macdonald RSW RGI PAI, Alice McMurrough RSW RGI PAI, Ann Oram RSW and Angela Repping. 45 Dirleton Avenue, North Berwick, East Lothian, EH39 4BL Sat/Sun 12-5, wkdays by appt t 01620 895057 m 07981 982464 Neil Macdonald RSW RGI PAI ‘First Light, Stromness’ oil on linen, 97 x 77cm on the Art Christmas cover: Joe Tilson Kore , painted wood construction, 2011, ed 30, 78 x 61cm, £3450 Goldmark Gallery 2 0th C. and Contemporary Art IAP Fine Art Our ‘Small Works’ exhibition displays smaller works on paper or canvas by Gollon, Hambling, Howson, Hockney, Picasso, Sutherland and Matisse. Previously based in London for 23 years, we recently relocated to Monmouth in the beautiful Wye Valley. We retain a viewing space in London and arrange delivery nationwide. 15 Church Street, Monmouth, Mons NP25 5DZ Thu-Fri 11-5, Sat 11-4 & by appt, t 01600 772005 t @IAPFineArt f IAPFineArt Chris Gollon (1953-2017) ‘Pretty Woman III’ 8 GALLERIES CHRISTMAS 2017