Wednesday, April 25, 2012
She looks like Wednesday from The Addams Family, right?
I bought this sterling example of Outsider Art—okay, we'll just call it amateur art unless I decide to sell it on ebay—at a revelatory sale tucked into a stuck-in-time enclave within one of my favorite midcentury hoods. I had no idea that a nondescript street off of a busy road would suddenly turn to dirt and wind up a vegetation-choked hill, with just a scattering of 1920s-era ramshackle houses, one of which even had the remains of a show-jumping ring in the front yard. Paradise! I love finding off-the-grid places like this still exist amid the strip malls, fast-food joints and KB Homes.
Not that I'm saying I'd want to live in this house, even though I dug its Chas Addams flavah, right down to the spectacular aviary—referred to as the "monkey cage"—in the middle of its multi-acre yard. Yikes—it was a total disaster. It didn't seem like the estate-sale company (a perfectly reputable one) even bothered trying to clean it up: it was jammed to the rafters and everything was coated with layers of dust/dirt/grime. Not for the squeamish estate saler. One of the former residents of the home was clearly a teacher (my favorite!) so I got piles of books and vintage teaching materials. (The cashier asked me the usual question: "Are you a teacher?" To which I gave my usual answer: "No, I'm just crazy.") On my way out, I found this painting teetering on a pile atop the piano. She's a cross between Wednesday and a Keene painting, though this is not a Keene painting—it's signed Robertson and dated 1963. Thinking I might sell it at my nonexistent antiques mall stall or etsy shoppe, I put it in the garage but then brought it out for Halloween display. Six months later, she still graces the picture rail in the dining room. Funny thing about those picture rails—the idea is that they give you the chance to rotate your art without putting holes in the wall. But I just end up finding new ways to squeeze another picture onto the rail without taking anything away. I'm certain that's a metaphor for something.