Collecting Twentieth-Century Painting A Guide and
It was in San Francisco, at one of our
clinics. I was working my way through a mix of interesting and, well,
not-so-interesting paintings -- brought in by people of all ages and
backgrounds, all eager to know what their works might fetch at auction.
A young couple stepped forward. He was holding a
poorly framed Picasso poster -- not a fine print, mind you, but a cheap
reproduction you might find at the mall. I drew a breath and tried to
think of a nice way to let them down easy. But before I could speak, the
woman said, "We're not here about the poster. It's just protecting
something we'd like you to see."
The man set the frame down, and I gently opened it.
There, between the back matte and the poster, lay a beautiful little
pastel by Edwin Siegfried, an obscure painter of California landscapes.
I was more than intrigued. "Where did you find
"At a neighborhood garage sale," replied
the woman. "We paid five dollars for it."
It was five dollars very well invested, as it turns
out. For soon after, we auctioned the Siegfried pastel for $2,500. Not
only did this sale deliver a tidy nest egg to the struggling newlyweds,
but it also allowed another collector to own an appealing 20th-Century
landscape, at a relatively affordable price.