Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Why I collect art?

 To be totally truthful, I can't answer this.

But there is some history and a flash point I can share.

I've grown up among artists and always enjoyed walls, cabinets, shelves and lawns full of art. My parent's friends and my grandparents all had amazing collections or were creators themselves. So there was always lots of art around. Not only did it tone the atmosphere of the settings, but a surplus lay stacked under beds, lined racks in the basement and moldered in rolls up in the attic. 

Then there was my Selina Trieff moment. 

I was 20 years old and living in Boston, and it was a weekday I had off of my gallery job. Suddenly, with no plans, I took the Provincetown ferry out to Cape Cod. Strolling along the shops, I found my way into the Berta Walker Gallery where there was a show of oil and gold leaf portraits by Trieff, a mysterious artist who lived and worked from 1934 to 2015. Looking at the picture above, a painting I eventually had to buy, I had a visceral reaction: shivers on my limbs, a spinning in my head. I left the gallery for fresh air and spent the rest of the afternoon looking at other pieces of art in other galleries. No matter what I was looking at, this painting of Trieff's kept floating in front of my eyes! I had to have it. I had fallen in love. Negotiating with the gallery I set up a plan for installments and soon was able to bring her home. It has been almost 40 years and 4 homes since then. I love looking at it everyday. I wonder at the texture and the mark-making, the way her dark shape fills the frame. I wonder at the character, "what is she thinking?". I marvel at her hat. And the eyes! The eyes still look deep inside me and seem to ask me, "what are you thinking?"

This Trieff piece has been joined by a second one, given to me as a gift by one of my sisters, who also owns a delightful sleeping pig painting by Trieff.

Look at the attitude of that Goat!!

There is a movie, Their Lives in Art:Robert Henry and Selina Trieff, available for schools and institutions through, that I would love to see someday.

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