More than 4250 Ducksters visited the Carl Barks page during the roughly 6-month period (Nov.'97 - May '98) that the "best painting" voting form appeared on this web site. Of that number 210 dedicated fans (not counting my wife, who feels that there is little doubt about the matter) actually cast a vote. The voting was well distributed and, I would say, representative. Here are the final results:28.6% -- This Dollar Saved My Life At Whitehorse (60 votes)
21.9% -- The Secret Safe (46 votes)
20.9% -- Who's Out There? (44 votes)
14.8% -- Spoiling the Concert (31 votes)
13.8% -- Danger, Tycoon At Play (29 votes)
So, the previous and widely held sentiment that "This Dollar" is the best Carl Barks oil painting is confirmed by this unofficial survey. Still, there were some surprises. Half or more of all votes were cast from outside the United States. Also, I am frankly surprised at the support for "Who's Out There." I was originally reluctant to include it in the voting, primarily for the lack of "joy" in its theme.
One other observation that may be of interest to the very wealthiest among you. One of these paintings, "Spoiling the Concert," is now being offered for sale. I have been authorized by the owner to act as his agent. I hasten to add, however, that he is looking for a price that is significantly more than the highest price paid for a Barks painting to date.
Comments Regarding the "Best" Barks Oil Painting
I think "The Secret Safe" is the best one!
My vote is "Spoiling the Concert." Why? It's very much alive and "cozy."
Definitely, "Who's Out There?" is the best. It is the painting in this group that most captures the drama and suspense, yes suspense, of Bark's fine duck work from over the years. (Who could think of a comic with more suspense and even elements of horror than the classic "Ghost of the Grotto", which is still one of my favorites from childhood). I think his best paintings are those that could be seen as a second from one of those great stories, pulled out for further enjoyment through their enhanced details and color. The scene from the above painting is an example of this. Some of the others in the group are either a) too corny or b) implausible as being a scene from a classic story. For example, while I do like the painting featuring the dive into the money, the composition is too contrived and cramped. (Everybody knows that Scrooge always swam alone in the old classics, starting with US #1. It seemed interesting to me that you mentioned as a plus this painting's inclusion of many popular elements from the duck mythos. However, I think that in this case, too many of these elements are combined, resulting in a cramped composition that does not seem in the league of the other great scenes from the Barks classics. A close second would be the "Secret Safe." Although I too do not care for the one-dimensional lighting in this work, it does seem a plausible scene from one of those classic tales.
One vote for "Terror of the River." Although not on your list. Magnificent painting, primarily because of the action and lighting effects. ... Carl said he would never paint one like it again because it was so time consuming with the shading of the light of the moon and lanterns on the water and the immense detail involved in the water action.
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