In 2003, I assured myself and my husband a comfortable retirement when I invested in Art. And not just any old piece of art. Nope. I bought a Rembrandt.
You know Rembrandt, I’m sure. He painted wonderful stuff:
And some seriously cool self portraits:
OK, so now I am sure you know that I am discussing serious ART.
Well, I went to an auction in an affluent area here in NoVA the day before my husband, John’s, birthday. They were selling all kinds of things. Neat furniture. Life size sculptures of animals. ( I considered buying myself a horse, and there were some available. I like looking at horses; they are lovely animals. But I don’t ride horses, and pooper scooping for a horse, well, that never really appealed to me. Plus they bite. I don’t like being bitten by animals I am feeding.) But at this auction they were selling life-size horse sculptures. Sculptures don’t poop, so I seriously considered buying one for the yard when the bidding started. My niece, Jen, who was with me, held my arms down. Thanks, Jen. I was going for the pastoral look here at my house, but it was not to be.
The stuff that they were selling was pretty neat, actually. An amazing assortment of furniture was on offer. Sadly, none of it was furniture I was in the market for; and I couldn’t afford it anyway. Nevertheless, I bought my husband John a lovely desk, one that he wouldn’t have picked out in a million years. It was greeted with an unenthusiastic “oh, thanks.” It was a bargain. Unless you think of the fact that he didn’t really need a desk at the time.
But auctions are fun, and exciting. It is easy to get caught up in the spirit of raising your hand to “win” something wonderful – to take it away from someone else. Among the items that we could have previewed was a lot of art that I didn’t look at. We have tons of pictures here in our house. Way too many.
But the auctioneers were tricky. They mixed up the art with the furniture. And that, really, is how I came to own a Rembrandt. Because they said the magic words:
“The next item (No. 214) is by one of the greatest Masters. Rembrandt van Rijn!”
I looked around at the assembled crowd. They were all ooh’ing and ahh’ing at the possibility that they might today purchase A Rembrandt. Suddenly, I had to have it. The fact that I had no idea what it looked like was completely and totally irrelevant. It was a Rembrandt — a masterpiece. How could it be anything but awe-inspiring?
The auctioneer called for an amount I could never afford, but nobody raised their hand. The number went down. And down again. Still lower. Way down to about the cost of a nicely framed poster of a Monet.
My hand went up. For a picture I had never seen. A Rembrandt!
After I started the bidding, several people joined me. But by then, well, I had to have it; that Rembrandt was mine, dammit. And I won. For a ridiculously low price, I will add. I think. No, no, I’m sure it was dirt cheap. Positive.
I took the picture home and proudly presented it to my husband for his birthday the next day. Rembrandt is John’s favorite artist, and I knew he’d be thrilled to pieces to own a piece of his work.
John was truly delighted to know that he owned a Rembrandt. So delighted, in fact, that he decided that we should put it up in the one room in our house where no one ever goes.
You see, the picture is an etching of Rembrandt’s father. Who was seriously ugly. And so, as day follows night, is the etching.
But the frame is beautiful.
And some day, when our house is robbed, the burglars will follow the signs we have put up all over the house:
“Don’t bother taking the electronics! Upstairs is a Rembrandt. Take the picture of the ugly old guy. Please.”
Please don’t mention this post to our insurance company.
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Many thanks to Eleanor of How the Hell Did I End Up Here whose recent post reminded me of my, um, Masterpiece.