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"The Day the Prozac Train Was Late"

Pieter Artschool

The Dutch school of Depressionism had many icons, but none as stellar as the aptly-named Pieter Artschool. Having fortuitously sent in his "Can You Draw the Bunny?" entry to a contest run by the prestigious Warehouse Academy of Sofa-Sized Art, he was thrilled to discover that, yes, he really did have what it takes to be a professional artist and earn Big Money.

Alas, after spending 6,000 guilders on art instruction he realized that he had spent all his own Big Money and had little more to show for it than an ability to copy other people's work, which is exactly what he did. Sneaking into museums under the cover of darkness, he would abscond with lesser-known artists' works, modify them enough to prevent recognition, then sell them as his own creations. The present canvas is an excellent example of his technique. The original was Johann Christian Brothel's "Peasant Festival", a merry work saluting the Dutch peasant's ability to live on beer, bread, onions, and beer and celebrate life by attempting to dance in wooden shoes after 12 tankards of home-brew.

By deftly desaturating the colors, turning all the smiles upside-down and repainting the brilliant blue Dutch sky the color of used mud, he transformed Brothel's canvas into this stunning Depressionist work. It hung in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam until it was spotted by a relative of Brueghel's who brought it to the attention of the authorities, and Pieter Artschool was hanged in the vacant lot alongside the museum.


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