Thursday, March 4, 2010

Art appreciation

Everyone's heard of those folks who picked up a piece of art at Goodwill that later fetched millions at auction. Those stories make people like me salivate with envy.

I've had the moments of wondering if I've tripped on the work of a master myself. I found what I thought was an original Rousseau at a thrift store, and it looked legit, down to the ornate signature of Henri Rousseau on the lower right corner.

It turned out to be a pastiche.

But it was so interesting, the process of researching the artist, wondering if I had something worth millions in my possession. That process was well worth the 6.99 I paid for the faux Rousseau.

It was a lesson I had to learn. So when I found the painting posted above at the Goodwill on Broadway for 14.99, I was hardened to the reality that it was nothing more than a pretty painting.

There's no signature on the painting. It's very obviously an oil painting, and it's obviously quite old. Check out the back....

The frame is chipped and worn, and the painting itself has corners of very old wood to support the canvas. There's a label of the painting's framer, or so it seems. You can vaguely see the label on the wooden part of the picture's back, on the left side. The label confirms it's very old, and all searches for the company came up with a big zero.

But I'm not going to go crazy-OCD attempting to find out who painted this beautiful bouquet. I love looking at it, wondering where it's been before its landing place on my living room wall, who owned it before me, how they felt when they admired how beautifully each petal was created, how the artist had an obvious appreciation for shadow and light.

It's a masterpiece to me, without the legwork and mind games associated with wondering if this painting is the piece that might put my kids through college once it's sold at auction.

I like it. The painting adds something amorphous and captivating to my world.

Sometimes value is found in appreciation more than outcome.

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