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Friday, March 16, 2012

Post number 100, where in Bopfish finds a Picasso at the thrift store (Status: No joke)


A couple of weeks ago I stopped by the Volunteers of America on Indianola.  I spent a while debating the purchase of an Overman pod style sofa but decided against it because of the extensive rust on the legs and a couple of tears in the vinyl upholstery.    I took a quick peruse around the store and spotted the top of this sticking out from behind the usual framed posters of puppy dogs, motivational sayings and bible verses.
 At first I assumed it was just a poster or a decent commercial print from a Picasso exhibition, then I saw this in the lower right corner.
I used to work at a museum and I have also taken some print making courses so finding that this appeared to be a numbered edition got my attention.  Hmmmm, nice frame, too.  I flipped the print over and examined the back where I found a sticker from the framer and could see that the backing paper was quite old.  Yup, I also gave it the "sniff test" and found that is smelled old, as well (We record collectors use this "test" all the time).
There was also this note glued to the back, which I cannot read because I don't remember enough of my Freshman year of High School French.  These four words could answer quite a bit about the history of this print (might be Picasso's autograph, too).
When I got home, I hopped on the ol' interwebz and Google searched "Exposition D Ceramiques".  I quickly found that this was a linocut poster that Pablo Picasso has made for an Easter exhibition of his ceramics in the village of Vallauris.  He had made 100 signed and numbered copies of the poster in brown ink, the edition numbers are in graphite pencil on the left with his signature appearing on the lower right in red pencil.  I had to use a magnifying glass to find the signature because it was rather faint (I pumped it up in photoshop for the top picture).  It matched the signature on one of the prints I found on line.  You could have knocked me over with a feather... I was shaking.
HOLY CRAP,  I GOTS ME A PICASSO!
I'm not going to get rich off of this (dammit) it could sell, at auction, for between $3000 and $4000 because of its very good condition and the very low number in the edition of 100.  Actually, it is quite possible, that this would be one of Picasso's "artist proofs"; it seems that the first 25 were proofed by Picasso and were then gifted by him to friends and favored people.  If there was evidence that this was an artist proof then the value could increase by 25-50%.

How did this end up at a Volunteers of America?  Who knows, but I suspect that it was cleared out of the house of a deceased person and who ever did the clearing just saw it as an old brown poster in a frame and they did not see the signature, the actual signature is quite faint and kind-a looks like some random red marks.
Good Antiques Roadshow story, huh?
I will never call Pablo Picasso an asshole.

34 comments:

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    1. Yep,like I said, could have knocked me over with a feather

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  2. Holy ****! That, sir, is one amazing find.

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    1. "Crap" is, I believe the word you were looking for (lol)

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  3. I found a Picasso at my local thrift store once! It was so badly water damaged I didn't pick it up. Still regret not getting it though. Excellent find!

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    1. Oh man, you should have picked it up; it's amazing the restoration technology that is available today.

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  4. Jeeeze Louise...that's amazing! Congratulations on an epic find.

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    1. You can call me "louise", just don't call me late to dinner.

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  5. Amazing find! Not like you stumble on these everyday! Hope it brings you top dollar...

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  6. That's awesome! Great story! It's an epic Roadshow Moment! LOL

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    1. Yeah, tempted to see where the Roadshow is shooting.

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  7. Oh. My. God. If anyone but me was going to find a freakin Picasso at the thrift around the corner from my house (!!!!) I'm glad it was you - congrats!! :)

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    1. You live in a pretty good thrifting hood!

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  8. Nicely picked Sir! And congrats on the hundredth posting as well. It's stories like these that keep us all going back to the thrift stores and flea markets!

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    1. If I had not found the Picasso, I probably would have had another post on blenders, Russel Wright, lamps or something else. How do you follow up finding a signed Picasso print? Hmmmm.... where did i put those blenders, Russel Wright and lamps?

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  9. Wow I'm going to be looking more closely at the thrift store art from now on, you've definitely inspired me! I'm going to include your story in my Weekly Roundup of Vintage News, Links & Inspiration.

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    1. Awww thanks! I live to inspire the depressed masses;-)

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  10. How very cool! You just never know what people are going to donate to a thrift store. I would die to find a Picasso. Went to his museum in Barcelona - it was amazing! Great pick!

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    1. You read about people finding things like this but never actually expect to find one, right?

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  11. Wow, excellent find!! And nice Johnathon Richmond/Modern Lovers reference, too!

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    1. For the longest time I only knew the song from Repo Man.

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  12. How incredibly exciting! I work at Volunteers of America here in Columbus and would love to talk to you a little more. Please shoot me an email so we can connect at kathryn.lecklider@voago.org.

    Congratulations!

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  13. Great find, what did you pay for it?

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  14. Awesome find! I've never been a big fan of his work, but that sure wouldn't stop me from making money off of one!

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    1. I'm with you on all counts, sister!

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  15. now that's a serious Thrift Score!

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  16. WOW! That is amazing! What a cool piece to have in your possession :)
    I posted it to my fb blog fan page for all to enjoy...
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Thrifty-Picker/300234516702409

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  17. Holy crap... now that is COOL!!! Good job - ENJOY IT!!!

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  18. I'm proud of you!! Glad to say I knew you before you owned a major artist's work. I will curtsy the next time you grace our humble home.

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