Past Challenge: Art, Limit $10

Let’s just say ladies like us, put the fine in fine art. And just to prove how totally cultured we are, this week’s challenge is about lovely wall things.

Item 1: Benjamin Chee Chee Framed Print

  • Denise’s Price:  $7
  • Retail Price:  $225
  • Garage Sale

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Denise’s Story:

Benjamin Chee Chee (1944 – 1977) is one of my favorite artists. I’ve always loved the graceful lines and simplicity of his work. This 24″ x 21″ print is titled “Spring Flight” and was originally created in 1975. The gentleman selling this picture told me his aunt and uncle unknowingly bought two originals of Chee Chee’s work for $50 which were later appraised at $20,000.  No such luck here, but I’ll enjoy “Spring Flight” along with the other four Chee Chee prints I have on my living room wall.  We lost a great talent when Chee Chee died.

Item 2: Adolf Gottlieb Framed Print (The Seer)

  • Jackie’s Price: $2
  • Retail Price: $200 – $500
  • Garage Sale

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Jackie’s Story:

I admit it: I am an art snob. Whenever I see something so pedestrian as a Van Gogh print on someone’s wall, or god forbid an Ikea-brand poster of pastel flowers, I feel a smug sense of superiority. After all, why put the same thing on your wall as a million other people when you can decorate it with original art (pronounced Ah-rt in my head during such moments) like I do?

Of course, it helps that my dad is a painter and I haven’t had to pay a dime for any of it.

And so it was with great trepidation that I approached this week’s challenge. Good art, thrifted. It can’t be done!

I was wrong. Not only did I find a piece I love, but I learned a little art history in the process.

The framed print I found, hanging against a weathered fence in a Port Moody yard sale, is by Adolph Gottlieb (March 14, 1903 – March 4, 1974). Gottlieb, a painter and sculptor from New York, was part of the first generation of American “Abstract Expressionists.” Painting alongside artists such as Jack KufeldMark Rothko, and Louis Schanker, this particular piece is part of his “Pictograph” series. 

According to the original painting’s current owner, The Phillips Collection museum,  Gottlieb created this painting as part of a series strongly influenced by Native American art that sought to represent experiences beyond western culture,

“Concerned with the insular, conservative style of American regionalist painters…Gottlieb [wanted to] instill paintings with meaning not limited to particular cultures, times, or places.”

Basically, the dude was a groundbreaker and one of the first Westerners (Emily Carr comes to mind) to truly value Indigenous art.

It may not be the original painting, but maybe having a little piece of history is real enough.


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