Friday, March 13, 2009

Why You Should Buy Art Friday: Family Heirlooms

Do you ever watch the Antiques Roadshow? Someone trots out a little oil painting that was bought by her great grandfather in a Quebec studio in 1854 and how dearly they treasure this little family relic?

I know I've seen this scenario played out time and time again. Usually the dollar signs start lighting up the viewers eyes as we wait for the appraisal value to ring up on the screen. I want to back up for a moment though - I think there is something important that is commonly missed.

Lets look at the this with the monetary value removed. Someone comes, sometimes a great distance. They wait in line for hours, clutching their item, braving inclement weather. They approach the expert in whatever field their antique is categorized as and they get the chance tell the story of how they came to own the piece.

Usually the story involves a relative from long ago. There may be a romantic component because the piece was given to mark their love for another. Sometimes it cost a month's wages, sometimes they got the item for a song. Usually there is a "and it was left sitting in the attic for 20 years wrapped in linen until my aunt Mabel stumbled across it". Little letters or references to famous people may be produced, all in all this is great television.

Even beyond that, lets think about this - this treasure matters to this person. They may have never met the long lost relative that purchased it, yet there is a connection. There is a pride in the past and the provenance of the item. Sure, there might be a monetary force behind bringing it in (and they might sell it the second they leave) but the fact that they are telling the story says a lot.

Maybe you will purchase something (could be a mundane household item, could be a piece of art) that may become someone's story. It might be their connection to their history, their connection to you. I encourage you to find something that might be someone's special future treasure. If you need a place to start, check out my store!

1 comment:

Veronica Funk said...

I have to agree...though I don't tend to consider the possible increase in value of the work I choose to purchase but instead the beauty of the work and of the artist - by the way, thank you Michelle for allowing me to purchase "Spoon on Plate" (Feb 28 post) - it is even more stunning in real life.