Friday, January 16, 2015


Shore Leave # 3 Oil on Canvas - whereabouts unknown
My daughter calls them ‘Dining-Out Stories,’ entertaining anecdotes to tell at dinner parties. Having lived a long and somewhat interesting life, I have no shortage of dining-out stories.

Several posts ago (#30), I described how a wealthy friend from Greenwich had died and unexpectedly left me 1% of his estate. He was heir to a brewery fortune and owned houses here and in Southampton. I figured he had to be worth at least a couple mill, easily, an unexpected windfall to say the least. But as time passed, my expectations dwindled; every conversation with his executor resulted in a lower number in my head. The check arrived a few weeks ago (minus legal and accounting fees, Federal and local property taxes in arrears and money borrowed from the family trust with interest, etc, etc.) leaving me the tidy sum of just under $2k. However, since I never expected to inherit anything, $2,000 will do just fine, especially when you consider I didn’t have to lift a finger to earn it.  Never look a gift horse in the mouth they say, especially when you can get a good dining-out story out of I, a girl from humble origins, became (an) heir to a Greenwich fortune. A purely American fairy tale: rags to (almost) riches

Shore Leave # 2 Oil on Canvas - whereabouts unknown
A couple of days ago, I came up with another great Dining-Out Story, although, as yet, it has no conclusion. In Post #22, I wrote about a painting of mine that I thought was forever lost. I had lent it to a friend, a chef I knew who was moving from Norwalk to New York City to appear on TV. He assured me that by hanging my work in his apartment, the rich and famous who came to his parties would clamor to buy it.

When I tried to contact him several years later to find out what happened to the painting he borrowed, I learned that he had gone to London to open a barbecue restaurant in Notting Hill (reportedly a smashing success) and had put the contents of his apartment into storage. According to his story when I finally reached him, he was a few days late with a payment and the storage company “mistakenly” turned everything over to an auction house. He was, he said, filing a lawsuit to get reimbursed, but I never heard from him again. No money, No recourse. No painting.

Shore Leave # 1 Oil on Canvas - 47 3/4" x 66 1/8"

About two and a half years ago, a friend sent me a photo of a painting she had just seen for sale at one of the South End antiques centers for $800. Although it was unsigned, she said it looked like one of mine. Yes. It was my missing painting. I rushed down to claim it, but by the time I got there, it had been sold. The shop’s owner who handled the transaction, sensing trouble, claimed not to know who bought it, said it was an “unknown picker from the Midwest who paid cash,” although I heard a rumor that it was a dealer from a nearby center who wanted to “stage” her booth. I filed a police report and forgot about it until last week when someone else reported seeing it for sale at still another antiques shop where the label described it as “mid-century fun and fabulous.” No signature. The price had more than tripled, so I guess it’s a good sign that my work is increasing in value. I’ll check in with the police in the next few days, but I’ll probably never see a penny or get the painting back, If nothing else, it makes a perfect ‘dining out’ story and that’s probably as good as it’s gonna get.

Shore Leave # 4 Oil on Canvas - whereabouts unknown
P.S. The irony is that after the painting disappeared from the gallery, I used the photo I had to create another version. While I didn’t like it as much as the original, it wasn’t bad. A friend set a high price on it and put it into a fancy Estate Sale in Purchase, N.Y. where it was sold “by mistake” for a pittance to another unknown buyer. She is now suing the woman who ran the sale for “giving it away” without her permission.

I think it’s time to move on.

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