> “Harry’s never been a salesman,” said Mary Bertschmann, his wife of more than 50 years. “He didn’t get his art out there for them to see.”
Like pretty much everything in life, it all comes back to marketing. In order for people to want a specific artist's art they have to know the artist exists and they have to be familiar with his work. The more people that know, the more people will want the art, and the more valuable it will be.
For example, a Rothko is worth millions, but if I paint a large fuzzy colored rectangle it's worth practically nothing. People know about Rothko, what he was doing, and why. His art has a well-known, proven track record of being a good investment and buyers already know this.
Even in art, it doesn't matter how good the product is if nobody knows about it.
Compare him to Picasso. Picasso never said "I had to pay the rent." He never considered earning money with anything other than painting. When he had no money he lived in friends' apartments. He faced and accepted poverty and hunger. Picasso did not compromise. Same with Van Gogh. Paintings on their own have no value. Buyers pay for the life story of the painters. The more heroic is your life the more expensive your paintings. Painter's job is to market himself in order to create a life mythology. This guy just painted. He did not create a myth around his life.
No wonder he's still struggling, his art isn't good.