Saturday, February 4, 2012

instant ancestors

I went to my favorite auction last night. Early on the prices were crazy high, but toward the end of the evening a lot of people left and I got a few things. 

 I had to have this hand colored photograph of a little girl in her sailor dress.

 The dreamy-looking woman drew me to this chromolithograph, but I was also attracted to the sweet pink flowers. It looks like something out of a fairy tale. The color pictures in some very old books were chromolithographs.

 There are pots of small flowering trees, and soft greens and pinks that don't appear to be quite a carpet or the ground--sort of mysterious since one of the little girls shoes disappears into it. The window and curtain tell us that she is inside. The delicate colors and rendering of the background contrast with the dark formality of the sailor dress and the pose.

The woman is holding a bunch of lilacs, and there is another on the ground, though there are none growing in the picture.

Here are some portraits I've collected that have shown up on this blog before, but I think it's nice to look at them together.

 A steel engraving of two little girls, titled The First Lesson.

 A pastel of a sweet and solemn child.

 This print sold quickly, but there has been little interest in the two pictures shown above it.

 Formal family portrait. I'm sure there are clues in their clothes that would tell where they are from and when this was taken.

She looks like a Native American, and I like the hint of a smile. I haven't put her or the family portrait above in the store yet. I have a couple more of a similar style, and will hang them together--I think they will draw more interest that way. Auctioneers often call them "instant ancestors".

Oil on canvas.

When I re-do the store this spring, I am going to put a focus on the art, which is my favorite thing to collect.



  1. That's such a great idea to focus on the art Jen. Your new pieces are great!
    See, the picture that sold would have been the last one I would have wanted and so I would be no good at pleasing the public.

  2. you make me want to haunt auctions again, jen. such wonderful finds. i think you'll do well filling your store with art. i love the look of crowded walls with every bit of area covered in pictures. it's like a maze that you creep into and can't go home without a piece of it. wonderful wonderful!

  3. I loved looking at the great photos Jen
    such great finds.
    Thannks for posting.

    Hope that all is well with you and your family

    I am busy playing catch-up
    but being honest don't think I will ever catch up on all I have missed!!

    Glad to be back reading your lovely blog.

    Fiona x

  4. You had fantastic weekend as usual, Jen. Collection is a creative matter and it's fun to do and to see as well.
    I have not so much corective things, yet I love to see drawings, cups and so on.

  5. Rubye Jack--Thanks for the encouragement. The whole business of choosing things I like that I also think people will buy is tricky. The piece you mentioned is very decorative and "safe". It doesn't surprise me that you have less conventional taste. :)

    Chasing...If you can find the right auction they are a blast! What you describe--walls completely covered with art, is what I'd like to do.

    Fiona--Nice to "see" you--thanks for your kind words.

    Haricot--For me to continue this business (the store) it has to be both creative and fun.

  6. Hello Jen

    I like the last portrait, the angle is beautiful and holds interest.

    Thanks you for visiting my blog and your comments are always welcome
    Helen xx

  7. lovely pictures. I like the olden artworks and photos too. Love historical and anything with a hint to our past.


  8. Oh Jen! I love the things you pick! You are really good at this!

  9. Lovely, Lovely paintings, we have an auction house here, but they go for ridiculous prices also, but love the old photos, makes you wandering where they hung in somebody's house and then just end up as lost souls, looking for places to live!. Julie xxx

  10. Hello Jen:
    We do like the girl in the blue sailor dress. On the wall of our bedroom in Budapest we have an oil of a boy in a sailor suit, the same sort of outfit. We call him our 'Blue Boy' rather like Gainsborough's!!!!

    Your gallery of portraits does look very fine. some very interesting characters amongst them. What fun it will be to focus on the Art when you reorganise the store.

  11. Helen--that portrait is very compelling; it's rare for me to find such a well done antique oil portrait at the auctions I haunt.

    Kat--It's those hints of our past that makes me love them too.

    Thanks Demie--I really appreciate it.

    Aunt Jane--I am lucky to live in New England where there are many auction. It took a while to find ones that were right for me, in terms of goods, prices, and atmosphere. Thanks for stopping by!

    Jane and Lance--I could not stop looking at her. She was my # 1 choice in the art work available. Her personality seems to jump out of the picture. Maybe she would have been friends with your Blue Boy. I am really excited to reorganize the store--I hope I can pull it off.

  12. My dad used to run an auction house. I loved being able to look at all the stuff up close, as it came in, before it got auctioned off at the end of the month. He also put old frames and prints together. He was very good at it and almost all of the pictures hanging in my house were framed by him. He doesn't do it much any more. Your posts take me back to those wonderful times and make me feel right at home. Thanks for sharing!

  13. wow, you have some real treasure there! can't wait to see how the store will look like once it's done :)

    happy monday my dear xx

  14. I like the woman with the flowers!

  15. Congratulations!!! What a cliff hanger of a game.

    xo Jane

  16. Great finds! I love the native american looking lady, that smile is something special. The frame on the sailor girl is elegant and the girl herself. That lady in the flowers is such an eye catcher. I think you did very well!


  17. These are wonderful! During my stay in London I visited the National Portrait Gallery! I was fascinated at all these people of a long gone time. They seemed to be so alive, it was incredible! I think you are on a good track with these! xxx Christa

  18. the old photos are so intriguing, and i love the mysterious smile on the native american lady's face1 But the last painting of the woman is my favorite, its lovely1