Thursday, March 20, 2008
Yesterday, I managed to track down one of my favourite enamel-on-canvas paintings. I wanted to buy it back. Its first owner, a good friend of mine, had sold it a year or so ago. He had kept it in flawless condition since I painted it, in 1999, even through various, long-distance moves to homes around the world. I rang a snippy-sounding, part-time art consultant, whom I'd seen in a photograph with the painting. She told me she had only posed in front of it for the newspaper article about her. She referred me to the gallerist who was selling the work, on consignment, for the current owners. He told me it was scratched. I was immediately upset. I've yet to see photographs of the damage that he has promised to email me, but the damage must be significant enough for him to feel he had to advise me of it.I'm a working artist. I sell nearly everything I create. I'm happy for other people to buy and trade my works, even though each is a part of me. I just don't understand how people can buy an artwork and not take care of it. It's not as if it's difficult to do. If they're buying for investment, then keeping it in good condition is common sense. And if they buy it because they like it – again, why wouldn't they take care of it? Especially my enamel paintings. They have a brittle, ever-new, glossy surface that's difficult, nearly impossible, to repair. Yet I've seen many carelessly scratched, dropped and dinged. A friend who's a highly respected framer told me of one to which some idiot had nailed an external frame – directly onto the painted wood surface – completely ruining the piece. Yet the same people who damage these now valuable works want to be able to sell them for the maximum-possible price – which is in the tens of thousands of dollars for a large work.I don't know if I'll buy back the work I miss so much. I want to, if only because I want to protect it. Then again, maybe I should just try to forget it. I can't change what's been done to it. I can't temper the disrespect it has already suffered.