Pier Pander, a Friesian sculptor, living 1864-1919, wrote: "Does one really need to be an artist to understand that art is nothing but creating beautiful things ...." "... and bringing that under the eyes of those who are able to enjoy it and thereby to enrich their mind ...". He sought in his art tranquil simplicity, no strong emotions such as Rodin's art. Well, all that is fine, but, in my view, his sculptural work is indeed very 'quiet' and in that way also a bit boring….
Why a work of art is appreciated as beautiful remains a mystery. During the 20th century there was considerable rejection of beauty by artists and philosophers alike. Postmodernism's was highly anti-aesthetics. It appears that in the aftermath of postmodernism, thinkers have returned to beauty as an important value. Some reaffirm the status of beauty as an important philosophical concept. Others also argue that beauty is related to justice, so to 'goodness' or to 'ethics'. So the debate on beauty is again alive.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is a famous saying, the perception of beauty is subjective. And yes, I think that beauty can be found everywhere, one only should be able to see it, to experience it, in nature, in cities, in the various forms of art. Pander has a reductionist or limited vision of plastic arts and the artist. If beauty is such a subjective category, than any artist may create beauty, and any beholder will be able to enjoy it. Probably this is not the way how Pander reasoned, his concept of beauty was his own, appreciated by a group of like-minded people….
I do sympathize with Postmodernist anti-aesthetics. Art cannot be reduced to aesthetics only. For instance the narrative is essential part. In some forms of art, like conceptual art, the narrative tends to dominate.