This collection is called Prairie Textures and it comes with two interesting stories. The first is about the unframed canvas. It is a watercolor study of a calf and I think it is wonderful. Unsigned but wonderful. Such thick cottony paper. Such expertly mixed colors. I admire the confident brush strokes. And the economy of brush strokes as well.
I bought it from the estate of a gentleman who had sold the family's dairy farm to move to the Big City, meaning Milwaukee. He lived in a loft apartment down in Bayview and his place was kitted out like a 1960s bachelor pad. Swanky barware, Danish teak furniture, a stunning collection of Blenko blown glass, stacks and stacks of vinyl, very expensive audio equipment, and really good lighting. Not at all what I expected from a former dairyman.
It was the farmer's city neighbor who told me about his former occupation. He and I stood together in knee deep snow and bitter temperatures for well over an hour waiting for our numbers to be called. That is a whole other blog post -- how often I've seen acquaintances of the deceased show up at an estate sale to, I don't know, confirm what they had always suspected went on behind the front door? It cracks me up. Mind your p's and q's people.
Anyway, scattered higgledy-piggledy in the loft apartment were vestiges of farm life like seed catalogues, a stack of almanacs, county fair posters, and even an old journal with daily entries measuring rainfall and weather. (His neighbor snagged that, damn him.)
And the watercolor study of a calf. I supposed he valued this art as a connection to the farm and its creatures who once might have seemed burdensome at times. I also purchased these pencil portraits of quarter horses. Perhaps it is the same artist. I haven't yet listed these.
Interesting story #2 is about the woven basket which is photographed on its side. It is Native American and supposedly from the estate of a serious collector of Southwestern art. I happened to notice on the underside of the basket three initials: JCH. So Google and I got together and it turns out there is an expert and author of books on Native American basketry who goes by those initials. He is currently the curator of North American collections at the British Museum. I have sent him an email asking if he took basket weaving classes while studying the Native Americans or if he perhaps used a felt tip marker to write his initials on his finds. We shall see!
In any case, I listed the collection last night and it sold this morning. It was purchased by someone who got a sneak preview of it through my first email newsletter. I will close this week by urging you people to subscribe! Either to the shop or here on the blog. (See that box to your right?) I don't email a lot and when I do, it is with something that will make it worth your while to open. You just know that it's only a matter of time before I post something that you will want. You also know I only ever find ONE of something, so you'll be glad you got first dibs.