This morning I opened an email:
" I've recently acquired two large prints that are signed B Johansen Newman. After reading your Bio, I believe these may be your work. One is titled "Puppet Drama With Star" and is numbered 2/5 and the other is titled Halloween and is marked A/P (artists proof?)
My questions are; Do these titles ring a bell? Also, I'm not sure what medium was used, they appear to be pencil, charcoal, or linoleum block. If I were to send a picture do you think you would be able to tell? Lastly, if you do recall the prints, can you put an approximate date on when they were created?
Any information would be greatly appreciated, these are beautiful prints, I would love to know more about their history. Thank you for your time. "
And so, it would seem that someone was out junkin' or, in this case, at auction up in the Buffalo area, and came home with...ME! Or, at least they came home with my art work!
Yes, indeedy, these were two etchings that I had done in the fall of 1973. I never did a run off of these plates, so I believe that there were barely 5 copies of the one print, and there may have been only 2 copies of the other!! How did I let them go? Did I give them away? Did I leave them somewhere? Did I sell them? We were always pretty broke back then, so I am sure the money must have come in very handy if I did sell them--like being-able-to-go-to-the-laundromat handy for clean underwear. THAT is how broke we were. I do know that they were THE FIRST pieces I signed "Johansen Newman." I had just gotten married that September!
Apparently they came from an estate sale. Whose estate?
I so enjoyed getting this email because I collect art by unknown artists that I find in antique stores. I often wonder who these long lost artists are/were and how they must have enjoyed putting brush to paper or canvas. Many of the pieces I buy are from the turn of the last century, some are later. Where did these artists live? Who were they? Do they know that I love the fruits of their creative efforts? Did someone else love their work before I did? Who? And, if so, how did it come to be owned by no one in particular?
How nice it would be to Google them and find out answers.
And that is why it was nice have some Google me and tell me about these long lost prints.
As artists we like to think that the fruits of our labors have lives all their own. That somehow they outlive us and keep on going--to other people, to other homes....
I wonder where this art will end up next when it is sold. And it will be sold. The finder is also a dealer.
I'll have to ask about that.....
He has promised to send me pictures. I will post them if possible.
mmmm.....I think I will have to do some serious treasure hunting this summer....