Serendipitous For Sure: More Mystery Art

I’m a thrift store lover. When it comes to vintage and antique goodies, estate sales, auctions and antique stores are fine, but most of the time, the wares are pretty clearly labeled and they know what they have. But thrift stores are an adventure. You never know what you’re going to find.

My local Salvation Army is a great example. Any piece of furniture that looks “old” (i.e. from before about 1950), gets priced at $299. Sideboards, vanities, dressers, whatever. I once saw a mahogany dresser with handcut dovetails on the floor on sale day (Wednesdays are 25% off) for that same $299. Someone had just snapped it up or I would have found a way to get it home even though it’s not really my period and I need another dresser like I need a hole in my head. 

Take this original oil painting. I saw it from all the way across the store. For one thing, it’s bright and it’s over 3 feet high, which makes it hard to miss. But there’s also something urban and violent about it that’s just so compelling. 

As David Lackey said about my Herman Kahler vases at Antiques Roadshow, this is not a first attempt.

It’s signed Wade, though I haven’t been able to identify an artist. Unfortunately, so much online art research is dependent upon auction records. An amateur or regional artist might not turn up all that often, if ever. My personal favorite sources are AskArt, Invaluable (formerly Artfact) and liveauctioneers. Even if you don’t have a subscription, you can still get a lot of information and as I mentioned in this post, many museum and university libraries allow public access to these sorts of databases.

What’s amazing is that it works perfectly in our office. I think it’s even better than the Bjorn Wiinblad print I designed the room around. Oh, and just $80.

Serendipitous, for sure.

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