Art Lost and Found
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  • Post published:26/03/2022
  • Post last modified:26/03/2022

Often beauty is before us but on occasion we just don’t see it.  The synergy required to reveal that beauty sometimes has more to do with where we are in life or what we are looking for – or at.   Some of us grew up in homes whose walls and shelves where devoid of art and others grew up in homes where the art was ever present or constantly changing.

For those of us that were surrounded by art, many of us had positive or complex relationships with the objects that our parents surrounded us with be it the image on a record album, a dark painting we couldn’t figure out, a vase that didn’t hold flowers, or a sculpture that was out of context.  We forget the elegance of a simple form we touch or the strength of an image when it is viewed constantly – the relationship changes and when that relationship changes, the art can slip into the obscurity of the dark wall, the basement, the garage, the thrift store or even the dumpster.  From elegant and powerful pieces of art to simple understated art pieces, many unique treasures are overlooked.

Dandini – photo courtesy of Diana Costello

For 60 years a painting by Cesare Dandini hung in the Holy Family church in New Rochelle, NY.  Viewed by parishioners for decades, this painting done in the 1630’s by the Italian master but somehow overlooked.  The small 16” x 16” preliminary sketch for Picasso’s 1919 Ballets Russes, what became a massive 20’ x 19’ curtain backdrop for the ballet, was found in the closet of a home in Maine by the man whose great aunt had bequeathed him the home.  When the family of parents who had passed away in New Jersey asked a local auction house to comb through the house contents little did they know that in the basement was a painting done in 1624 or 1625 by the teenage Rembrandt.  The $5 painting by Jackson Pollock that Teri Horton a former truck driver picked up at a Thrift store in San Bernardino to cheer up her friend became the subject of the movie “Who the F*** is Jackson Pollock”.  

Jackson Pollock – Credit: Vaughn Youtz/ZUMA Press/Alamy Photo

When Paul Beaty found two original piece of art one in oil and one in chalk – images that are iconic and have been reproduced over 1 billion times on everything from clocks to candles and calendars, little did he know that they were originals of Warner Sallman’s “Head of Christ”.  

Warner Sallman – photo courtesy of Catholic Supply

The $5 painting acquired at a surplus sale in South River near North Bay Ontario painted by David Bowie is just another example of how unique pieces of art slip way. Maude Lewis who commonly sold works from her home in Digby Nova Scotia for $2-3 each in a naive style is now considered to be one of Canada’s great folk art painters.  The sorters at the Mennonite Thrift store in New Hamburg Ontario pulled a Lewis from their donations bin and now it has a new life.

David Bowie – photo courtesy of CTV

The point of all this is that original art and it’s beauty is all around us.  The art that gets tucked away in the basement, the attic or garage or is sent to the thrift store needs it’s light.  If the beauty of the piece no longer speaks to us, then let it have the chance to speak to someone else.  In real terms we are just the custodians for art while the pieces move through their own lives.  Art can brings tears of joy and transport us through a world of memories or visions.  Let’s give those tucked away pieces of art new life and new light.

Photo Credits

Dandini – photo courtesy of Diana Costello
Jackson Pollock –  Credit: Vaughn Youtz/ZUMA Press/Alamy Photo
Warner Sallman – photo courtesy of Catholic Supply
David Bowie – photo courtesy of CTV

Guest Author Bio
Sean Clazie

I grew up with artists and developed a passion for art in its many facets, from paintings to industrial design.  Throughout my life I have collected, researched and sold many creations.  My business, Leeder Tresors, focuses on auctions of paintings ranging from modernist pieces to post impressionist works.  I welcome consignments from personal collections and estates.

Website: Leeder Tresors



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