Prior to my divorce, during the worst of times, my husband at the time was having the time of his life, traveling, meeting people, and spending money like we were rich. On one such trip to San Francisco, he returned with an original oil painting he had bought at a gallery there. He gave it to me saying he knew how I loved street scenes. It was beautiful. But I was angry. He'd spent an outrageous sum of money on it. We aren't people who own artwork that costs that kind of money! (That's how I thanked him.)
I was sick. Our savings were dwindling fast on episodes like this. I had no appreciation for the beauty, only how it was further adding to what would surely be financial ruin for us. I determined not long afterward to file for divorce, with plenty of grounds, not the least of which was self-preservation. I decided the painting must be sold. But it stayed in my house through the separation and divorce.
It was an unframed oil on canvas. I finally had it framed and determined to have it appraised. One gallery I took it to said it was a fine contemporary work and could be of interest to collectors of Russian art, of which there are a number in our area. A good friend who is an accomplished painter himself examined it and gave me his opinion of a value about 25 to 40 percent higher than it's original price. Still I didn't try to sell it. I kept it in a padded slipcover I had made for it to keep out dust and prevent damage while transporting. It now leans against the wall in my office.
Here's what little I know about the painting. There is an inscription written by hand on the back of the canvas in a language I don't recognize, even in a different alphabet. I asked my friend from (Republic of) Georgia who also speaks Russian if she could translate if for me, and luckily she could. It is in Ukranian and similar enough to Russian that she could make it out. She told me the artist is Ukrainian artist V. A. Demchak. I can find nothing on the internet about her, but I know only she is a woman who has a gallery in San Francisco. The inscription says “Old Lviv, Stock Exchange on Akademichniy Street, (2004)". Lviv (also called Lvov) is a city in Ukraine. The inscription also says 60 x 90 cm (unframed) which we determined was the canvas size (I think framed it's about 24" x 36").
I've included some close ups of parts of it so show some of the fine details. The photos here don't really do justice to the sharpness of the fine lines.
Nicholas' post today at Intelliblog inspired me to show this and write about it. It is interesting for me to see how my feelings toward this painting have mellowed. I managed to survive financially and am doing just fine. The money spent on the painting and many other things is long gone and can never be recovered. But I do have a painting to show for it. And it is lovely.
Now I may not sell it. Not right away at least. I suppose there is no harm in owning one piece of very fine art. Since I own it, I may as well hang it up and enjoy it. And I know where it will be. I'm moving my hutch out of my dining room to the empty space between living room and dining room, and the bare wall that remains will feature this painting. It will be lovely when my remodeling is done.
Click images to view larger. In some of the close ups you see the grain of the canvas due to reflection of the camera's flash.