I recently had an email exchange with a gentleman who was inquiring about a painting. The painting is George Washington, after Gilbert Stuart. It is a great example of an unsigned 19th Century portrait and comes from a great collection, the late A. Welling LaGrone’s collection of Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. LaGrone was a noted American antique collector. His apartment was featured in the December 1999 issue of The Magazine Antiques, as was the George Washington painting.
I had been in the market for a 19th Century George Washington for years. I have seen them come and have seen them go. This indeed is a very good example.
Through the course of our conversation, the gentleman stated he had a similar painting he had aquired some years back at a lower cost than my painting. Upon reading this I simply smiled to myself and thought not like this one.
Obviously, not every piece of art or antique can be a superstar. For me, these are the pieces which make my heart skip a beat. Pieces so good you do not want to stop looking at them. Then, when you do, even then most subtle details play over and over in your head. You walk by them everyday and then one day a glimpse out of the corner of your eye: Damn, that is a good painting. Do I really own that?
It is not everyday we come across these great pieces which stir so much emotion in us. It is pretty easy to see how often, when it is said, “Oh, I have one of those,” or “I have something similar to that,” though not in a bragging manner, I often think, but not like this one.