And these wonderfully creative works have been in storage for years, and the fact I didn't know about storage is that things can get damaged while sitting still in a cool dark place. Like, just sitting there. Who knew?
Anyway, these massive painterly paintings also went through the notorious Northridge Earthquake of 1994 - you know, the one that split Highway 10 across all the lanes of traffic and jolted the west part of it up about 9 feet so that trucks and cars ran into a wall of dirt, gravel, sand and concrete like a wild slice of gritty Neapolitan ice cream. Ka-boom.
Well, in general the effect of jumping off a wall onto the furniture below has an expected outcome, and this case was pretty typical, plus some added damage due to the fact that some bozo hung two of the paintings up off the floor about 18 feet over a dining table and four chairs with pointy backs.
So, in order to sell them (or otherwise move them on to appreciative art-lovers), I had to have them spruced up a bit. And in that activity, there's the choice of options: have them restored, or have them conservationally repaired, or have them just painted over and done with it.
And cost is of course a factor, especially since the restorers and the 'conservors of art' have been through years of expensive schooling to learn the mysteries of their chosen field and that costs lots of money and time and all, so... they tend to be expensive. Like 50 or 75 bucks even before the work to just diagnose exactly how to fix the problem and then - whee! - things go up from there into literally thousands of dollars.
Add to all that confusing need-for-the-right-decisions, there were TEN paintings to be dealt with, so all the money was adding up to times-ten.
So, to make this convoluted story a bit more circuitous, I then had to find some artist (or artists) who had the skills to help me but also could work within my budget and still not be insulted by what I was able to pay and then would not feel as though someone's 'exploiting' them and their art. Literally, their art.
By the way, I was so ready to get moving on this project that I would have even been able to be persuaded to trade art (other art - or, wait... maybe even some of that art) with some artist who would have liked what I had to trade and didn't need the money to lay down carpet in his or her garret before the winter to avoid the fate of Mimi La Boheme...
So I interviewed a sleighful of artists and they all demurred due to a variety of reasons and excuses ranging from lack of insurance to lack of skill, until i was ready to just spray-paint graffiti on them all and call them L'Arte d'Tritus. So I went back to work and forgot them for a couple days.
Anyway, at that point who shows up but a great Russian portraitist who agreed to make them beauties beautiful again, and boy do they look grand, thanks to his profound expertise and enormous patience. Also, this wonderful painter - Dimitri Stroganov, of that famous aristocratic Russian family - works out of a studio in Sausalito (and he's available if anyone wants a portrait of their dog or a fine plein air landscape).
So here's what I got. The second set of measurements in each listing is of the frame. And pardon my poor photography but I really didn't think I'd be trying to put them up on a blog when I took those pics.
A little note here: these pics were taken BEFORE the renovation of these paintings... but now, far from being a bit haggard, they look great!
The first four paintings - and the next-to-last (Hell's Horizon) - will be on display at the Mom&Pop Gallery in Point Richmond, running from April 6, 2018 the the end of the month. The Opening Party will be Friday night, April 6. Please join us for viewing, conversation, wine & snacks.
Manuel's Still, 1964
Frankfurt November 1934, 1967
Hell's Horizon, 1970
And so that's my story... as usual, just trying to get to the next point, in a story that's been a series of next steps. Ah, the already-past steps... when I think of the amount of money I've spent just storing the dang things. But they sure look grand now!
And such is life, and (whether you think life's poorly made or not) it's still the best we've got at the moment. So stay steady, and practice sanguinity - and maybe you can join us for wine & art in April!