Monday, October 23, 2006

That's some donation

Did you hear about this? Somebody anonymously dropped off a 1923 watercolor by the American artist Frank Weston Benson at a Goodwill store. Goodwill auctioned it off on its website last week. The winning bid was $165,002.

The Goodwill press release is here. It has a picture of the painting, and also a link to a website about the artist.

At the website, by the way, is a plea for help finding paintings that are known to have been painted by this artist, but whose location is currently unknown. There are, apparently, hundreds of them. (Benson seems to have been prolific as well as popular.)


Anna said...

Can you imagine finding a painting like that in your attic or at a garage sale?! There was one of those stories on "Antiques Roadshow" where a woman had bought a pretty lousy painting because she liked the frame and behind the painting was an original by a famous painter (I can't remember who it was). She had picked it up for a few dollars and was worth thousands!

Kathryn Judson said...

Anna, I enjoy Antiques Roadshow (both the American and British versions) - but sometimes I have to take a break from it because it can get reaallly hard to keep plugging away at your day job when you see stories like that. You know? ;)

I have to wonder if, in this case, the donor had any idea at all that it might be valuable. If not, I hope he's a good sport and knows how to laugh at himself. Could you imagine thinking it was junk and finding out in a newspaper article that it wasn't? Ouch, even.

johng said...

I would be happier if parents took the time, as one homeschooler mother does, to make children (others, too!) aware of the beauty of Western art.

I suspect one reason we don't really look at paintings is that art is a little revolutionary. When one looks at a Rembrandt, as U.LeGuin once said about poetry, the artist looks back at you. It can be pretty invasive.

We attach dollar signs to something that really can't be bought. You can, however, share the world which the artist laid on canvas.