Friday, November 24, 2006

The Mystery Painting

This is a painting I inherited from my mom, who got it from my dad, who bought it from his mom, who was an antiques dealer. It now hangs nightly above the headboard of my bed. The signature is fuzzy, looks like Jeffers or Jeffords or even Jaspers, but the ink is quite faded. The number next just below the name is 29, and I assume that means the year 1929. That's all I know about the provenance of the painting, as they say on Antiques Roadshow. I can tell you that the oil paint is quite clumpy in some spots. Who knows, maybe the painting is of my grandmother herself, who was from Ohio and whose first name is escaping me at the present time ... Isca, Emma ... something old-sounding like that.

I would love to know who painted it, who the subject is, how much it's worth, etc. I would never sell for less than $100,000. Seriously. I mean, $10,000 is not nearly enough; that doesn't even pay the rent for a full year. Now, $100,000 is substantial. So know that before you start bidding on this Blue Boy-like masterpiece.

My grandparents lived in Flushing, I still remember the address even though it's been years and years, try 30 of them, since we last visited them. It was 42-08 Utopia Parkway, and visiting them was like taking a trip to the country in those days. We didn't even own a car, so my grandfather would pick us up on a Sunday morning in his Cadillac -- driving like a Cowboy, as my mom would put it after we were safely back home later that night.

Grandma was dying at the time from arthritis, but right up until the end she still used her basement as an antiques shop, covering every available space, including the pool table, with cut crystal, Chinese figurines, porcelain dolls, you name it. But it was this painting that always caught my eye, and I talked my parents into buying it one day, persuading them in my naivety that it was worth millions. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't... I'd like to find out either way.

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