Wednesday, August 19, 2015

AN AFFINITY FOR PRETTY THINGS

Although I fancy myself to be a procurer of fine art, I am, in actuality, only a woman who is fond of very pretty things. I was gifted the very first piece of artwork that adorned the walls of my first apartment.  It was a print by Norman Rockwell, his classic The Problem We All Live With, an image of 6-year old Ruby Bridges being escorted into a New Orleans elementary school by US Marshalls in the 1960’s.  It was a wonderful accent piece in the corner where it hung and provoked much thought and conversation in my home.  But it was an image that I saw so many times, in so many places, that many years later it influenced my decision to only buy original pieces of artwork.

Because the purchase of original artwork proved to be a very expensive venture I began to seek out up and coming artists whose talents had yet to be discovered and whose price points were more budget friendly.  Fast forward and I am still buying, sometimes blessed with a bigger budget and sometimes not, but still only buying originals and frequently from artists who are just beginning to make their mark in the art industry.  In the last thirty-odd years I’ve amassed quite a collection and have even had to acquire wall space to showcase some of it.

Despite the multitude of advice I’ve received over the years about how and what to purchase, the admonishments that I should now be buying for investment sake only, I have yet to be convinced.  What I’ve discovered over the years is that I am very particular about the work that will hang on my walls.  My tastes have evolved with maturity and the artwork must now speak to my spirit and tell me a story.

These days I find myself buying less abstract art and more folk art.  I was once partial to oil paintings but my last few purchases have all been watercolors.  My purchases have been determined by my mood of the moment and I am known to barter services for a piece that has captured my attention.  I discovered my last acquisition, a watercolor by the late Gail Henderson Weinerth, two years ago, hanging in an antique shop, clearly out of place.  At the time, there was no budget for artwork and I had to leave the incredible piece behind.  It was a work of art that haunted me for months. Fast forward and I was amazed to rediscover that painting propped in a dusty corner while strolling through a country store.  After some serious haggling, I brought The Violinist home, delighted by the imagery that gave me reason to pause.

When asked, the only advice I have ever given about collecting is to make sure any piece you are considering is a piece that you love.  If there is an art to collecting art, I imagine that I have yet to master it.  Because for me, collecting art, has always
been about my affinity for pretty things. 

2 comments:

Kimberly Kuncl said...

I am not sure what made me google my mother's name today; but I did, only to discover this post which has brought joyful tears to my eyes. Your post and most of all your love for my mother's work is such an incredible gift to me today, as I am missing her. She loved to paint so much and she just wanted to paint something that would evoke something in someone. She would be so pleased that The Violinist is being taken care of by such a loving curator. I wish she could paint you something else. She would have loved that! With much love and gratitude! -- Kimberly Weinerth Kuncl

Deborah Mello said...

Kimberly, thank you so much for reaching out. Your mother was truly a talented woman and her love for her art and how she so masterfully drew you into her paintings was a gift to us all. I was sorry to hear of her passing but I know that she touched so many of us during her lifetime and through her artwork continues to speak to our spirits. The Violinist is prominently displayed in our home and has been the subject of many discussions and the muse for some of my writings. I consider it a blessing that it came into my life when it did. It's a piece I will treasure forever. Blessings to you and your family! - Deborah Mello