In the 1960s, a gallery tried to give away Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema's painting "The Finding of Moses," but no one wanted it. When the painting was offered by Sotheby's in 2010, it sold for nearly thirty-six million dollars - more than seven times its pre-sale estimate. This made it the current record holder for the sale of a Victorian painting at auction.
Many favorite 19th century artists at some point in their careers provided illustrations to the then-burgeoning field of publishing. As Modern Art took power over the art establishment in the 20th century, and the old guard fell out of favor, it was the illustrators who upheld the ideals and training of the previous generation of Representational artists.
Society perpetuates the idea that talent among artists is purely an intrinsic trait – either one has it, or one does not – and everything comes easily for the talented because they were born with their skill. Unfortunately, it follows that with this view of talent, effort is not required to make a work of art, and therefore, as David Bayles and Ted Orland said in their book Art & Fear, “the better the artwork, the easier it would have been to make.” But the truth is, art is hard.