March 7 2010
Some readers may have noticed that AHN has been rather 'feast or famine' of late. I can only apologise. Partly this is because I've been traveling a lot, in connection with some new television work. But it's also partly because I've been trying to navigate some rather stressful circumstances to do with what we might call my day job. I'm not at all seeking any sympathy by writing this. But it's best to be straightforward, and since my relationship with AHNers is something I value greatly, I wanted to explain (at least to the extent that I am able to) what has been going on.
Ever since I started writing this blog, my aims have been as follows: to make the history of art as welcoming and accessible to new audiences as possible; to share my passion for Old Masters and the stories behind them; and to be as frank and fair in adding my own opinions where relevant. Since the blog went live in December 2010 there have been 4,452 posts, which have been viewed over 2m times. All AHN content is free, and I have never taken advertising. It takes quite up quite a lot of time. But I do it for pleasure, for the pictures, and for anyone who cares to take an interest. I am grateful every day to those of you who come along for the ride.
However, AHN pays neither the mortgage nor the school fees. The day job is my work as a dealer, or rather, as someone who tries to unearth lost and interesting pictures, and to occasionally sell them on for a profit. A difficulty arises, therefore, if AHN impacts on my ability to do the day job.
The problem comes in part because what we might call 'the art world' is quite small, at least in my Old Master niche. In writing AHN, I am delighted and flattered by the number of people who appreciate the result. It's really very heartening. But at the same time AHN also makes me a significant number of, well, 'enemies' is not too strong a term. Every walk of life has its Salieris, but in the art market there are an awful lot of them. And recently they have been out in force, eager to cut me down to size. I don't mind admitting that I have found it all quite distressing.
So I'm afraid I need to reassess whether I can continue to do AHN justice. And this requires a time out. I hope you'll understand that I must put my family first. Probably in a day or two I'll delete this post and carry on with renewed vigour. But until then, adieu.
Update: The Deputy Editor says thank you very much for all your emails.