February 7, 2003
Now that New York has survived another blizzard, the sun is shining and the
snow is really quite pretty. It will remain that way for 15 minutes or the
first time a car happens by, whichever comes first. By the by, when
choosing stories for this newsletter, I have to read scads in order to get
three or so that I can use. You would not believe how many stories I reject
that have to do with people performing some really stupid feats in order to
get themselves into the Guiness Book Of Records. And they all come from
India. What is in the water in that country, anyway?
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF SOMEBODY MUST SURELY BE COMMITTING HARI KARI THIS
A few days ago Shinwa Art Auction of Tokyo valued an unsigned painting at $75 and scheduled it for sale. However, two days before the auction, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam identified the painting as a previously unknown work by Vincent Van Gogh. Shinwa has now announced a pre-sale estimate of more than $22,000 for the painting. The oil painting, a dark profile of a frowning middle-aged peasant woman in a white bonnet measuring 14 inches by 16 inches, is believed to have been restored twice in the 1950s, which degrades its value. Yoichiro Kurata, president of Shinwa said, "We didn't think it was the real thing." But, the piece resembled several other known peasant woman paintings by Van Gogh, so Kurata sent it to the Van Gogh Museum last month, and got a faxed letter back saying it was an original painted in 1884 or 1885. The Van Gogh Museum says X-ray tests showed it to be extensively painted over, obscuring much of Van Gogh's original trademark brushwork. So, it's a Van Gogh, but a lousy Van Gogh.
WHY SOME PEOPLE HAVE BEEN AGITATING TO ELIMINATE FUNDING FOR THE NATIONAL
ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS DEPARTMENT
It's tough to make a case for artistic freedom when you come upon stories like this one: A German artist is planning to serve food made from urine and breast milk. Karl-Friedrich Lentze, a 54 year old artist, has applied for permission to serve stews "enriched" with urine and pastries made with breast milk in a restaurant in the town of Euskirchen. He says there are plenty of people who would be interested in trying his urine-goulash and cakes called "mommy's muffins". Don't you wonder who his suppliers will be? Will he go out into the market every morning to check what the local farmers have to offer? He said, "I plan to run the restaurant as some sort of club with registered members. Everybody who goes there knows what they will be served." Just don't order the meatloaf.
GUESS THEY'RE PRETTY CONFIDENT WE'D WIN
Speculation over a US-led invasion of Iraq has prompted an unexpected surge in sales of vacation guides to the country. Bradt Travel Guides of Buckinghamshire, England, which specializes in books dealing with unusual destinations, has been forced to order a second print run of its publication on Iraq. The company even received a call from a member of the US State Department earlier this week requesting a copy. Office manager Janet Mears said a lot of the buyers "will be armchair readers." Since not many of them have been lining up to go there and fight, that's probably true.
So, Accumulators, time to make Artie some guacamole, and some scallops with
pesto sauce. He Who Is The Light of My Life is a well-fed man, at least
when I'm in control of his food. Tomorrow, it's off to the country house,
probably to dig out all over again. HWITLOML is a swift man with a shovel.
Have a great week, Accumulators. The dead of winter is a great time to
visit antiques malls and shops - they all have heat, you know. Happy hunting!
© 2003 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #207
U.S. Library of Congress
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