I Bought the Most Beautiful Antique Painting Ever
I sometimes feel like art comes loaded with special powers. I think some people are MEANT to own certain pieces, and it's almost like the artwork puts out some sort of magnetic energy to pull in the right people. I had stopped at the Salvation Army just to get a belt. It was meant to be an in-and-out, girl with a purpose, quick thing. Of course, isn't is how all thriftscore stories start? I should go shopping with this sort of casual attitude more often- apparently it works for me. 15 feet inside the door I saw this:
Surely that's a print, I was thinking.... I considered just walking the other way because it would be so silly for a REAL Victorian painting to be just sitting there right in the front among all the 80s hotel art. From the door I was so certain that it would turn out to be a grainy faded 1960s print. Well, I thought, I'm a professional. I must investigate, just for the sake of my own education. I'll look at it, confirm my suspicion, and never make that mistake again. I walked over to it, and was astounded. Real. Totally real, totally gorgeous. It's even signed in the corner, and dated 1887.
It was $50, which I had not budgeted for... BUT, one of the key lessons I've learned since I started dealing in antiques and vintage is that when you find something that speaks to you - directly to you - act! Don't live with the regret. If I had to walk away from this one, how often would I think back on it? I started looking over my shoulders to make sure I wasn't being stalked by other treasure hunters. Paranoia sets in when you've discovered thrift store gold... my preciousss... Looking around, nobody seemed to notice that I was holding a masterpiece. I didn't really want anyone to notice though... Just a lady with a painting here, move along. So it came home with me.
Once the moment of pressure had passed I realized that this one was made for me, and I absorbed all of its special details. It's a larger painting, 33 inches across, on canvas, in a gilt frame with a rope molding. I love that the background is black - what a bold choice! The roses are in varying states of bloom, and are the softest tone of pink. The artist has given special attention to the greenery, including bare twigs, thorns, and turning leaves with russet accents.
Floral still life painting was an acceptable Ladies' Art in the Victorian era. Your frivolous flowers didn't ask the "big questions" that the male artists of the day were free to explore in their works. But I do wonder what these flowers meant to this artist. Was there any symbolism behind that black background, or did she just like how it made the flowers "pop?" It's so romantic - SO, so romantic.
Of course, I brought it home and realized that something of this type is not for everyone. When I showed Khris, he agreed that it was a good buy, and a great piece of art. And also, "So Granny." haha! Yep, definitely not for everyone! "Pleeeeeease, not in the living room," he said. So with Khris' blessing, it got a prime spot in the bedroom. I hung it from a length of old black millinery ribbon topped with an antique button. I tried to keep with the Victorian theme without going overly girly to save my dear husband's sanity (oh he is SO patient with me!)
One day in 1887 Ms. Lida P. B. put the last brushstroke on her canvas, signed her name, and called her rose painting done. This is a piece I will treasure.