Talk like an Art Head: the Remarque


RL Guarding the Post Remarque


When I started working at Eduardo Alessandro Studios three months ago, I thought I knew a thing or two about art. I’d taken an art survey class at university and my father is a Hungarian art critic. I’d grown traveling around the world from New York’s MOMA to Paris’ Louvre. So yeah, I knew I wasn’t a hot shot on Scottish contemporary art, per se, but I still thought I had my vocabulary down.

So imagine my dismay when I swaggered into the gallery one morning and my colleagues were excitedly discussing the new Ron Lawson remarques.


I hadn’t even understood the word, flowing effortlessly off my colleague’s Scottish lips. As my boss explained that we would be selling these re-somethings, I was asked to make notes for my other colleagues. I duly wrote down the price details, the prints that had these re-whatevers, and how many were available of each. But since I was writing this note for my co-workers, I had to ask…

“And what is a re…” I asked airily trailing off in my most nonchalant tone.

“It’s a little sketch in the margins of a print,” Sandro explained, “A doodle.”

Aha! I knew what a doodle was and so I faithfully titled my note, “Ron Lawson Doodles.”

The next day I came in to discover that someone had crossed out the word “doodle” on my note and replaced it with “Remarque.”

I looked around sheepishly, thankful I hadn’t been there when this correction was made.

Now I studied this mysterious word closely, noting the “qe” for some real sophisticated flair.

That’s when I knew for sure that I was no Art Head. Though I could discuss the theoretical breakthrough that happened when Cezanne started experimenting with perspective and geometric simplification, or when Duchamp entered a urinal into a fine art exhibit, I still had some serious learning to do – especially when it came to knowing something a little more practical about art.

But I’m a history geek! I can’t help it! I had to learn what the origins of the Remarque were. Not because any of our customers were likely to ask but just because. Just because it’s interesting. Come on, aren’t you even a little bit curious? Just a wee bit?

Well lucky for you, I’ve done my research.

Originally, a Remarque was a little sketch drawn in the margins of an etching to help an artist test his tools on the printing plate. This sketch, which was related thematically to the print, was removed before the print’s publication.

Then some enterprising individual came up with an idea: why not sell these remarques? With these exclusive sketches, they were considered even more valuable. And so the Remarque as a collector’s item was born.

Now, remarques are added to a select number of prints after an edition has sold out. As each Remarque is hand sketched by the artist, it truly adds an original element to each Remarque print.

Ron Lawson’s Remarque sketches were snatched up overnight. While Ron is busily working towards his next show, these remarques were a chance for his fans to get their hands on something original while they await his next exhibition at Glasgow Art Fair.

So there we have it, all you need to know about the Remarque to keep up with your artsy social milieu.

But no, there’s actually much more to know. I’ve just spent the last half hour reading articles from the early 20th century on the history of etching – which is quite fascinating! History geek, I know, but really, this stuff is good. And you’re not going to read it yourself (come on, are you?), so you’re better off getting it from me.

But you’ll just have to wait for another edition of ‘Talk like an Art Head’ for these fine art insights.