The Antiques Roadshow came to Eugene last week and my neighbor told me that she had some extra VIP passes. Would I be interested in going? Well, yes. Yes, I would.
...but what to bring? I do have a pair of Cubist still life paintings that I bought at an antique show for $125/each a few years ago. They have always been two of my favorite pieces of art in the house. I have been unsure of their worth but have felt certain that they were very valuable. I have a subscription to Artnet so I have looked up the artist...Callan. Artnet informed me that there is a Callan who was a mid-century Californian artist and that similar paintings are worth $300-500/each...but that can't be right...because they must be worth more than that. So...disbelieving Artnet and going with my (Sotheby's) gut I decided to bring them to the show.
My neighbor's husband pulls up in his BMW, revs the engine with his broken-in topsiders and honks. I yank the two paintings off the wall and head for the door. I pause. Who brings TREASURES unwrapped to the Antiques Roadshow? How naive. I race back to the closet and dump out The Pool bag.
I throw towels around the paintings and head out. Rounding the corner I reapply my lipstick in the mirror. TV. I might be on TV. With these TREASURES.
We park and enter. With our new VIP-ness we bypass the long lines of people and head right in.
Everyone is (rightly) assuming I am carrying TREASURES. We are escorted to the front of the Paintings Line with our loot. I face the charming bowtied expert and unwrap my goods. The left crack of his mouth betrays him. That sneak of a smile. He likes my TREASURES. He whispers, "Nice." I smile back. I know. He says, "Callan". I smile back. He asks me where I bought them and for how much. I tell him, "Ironically, I bought them right here in this building. For $125/each." Smug. We both smile. Together. We know.
Then he says, "I haven't heard of Callan..." and scoots his laptop closer..."Let me look it up on Artnet". I'm quiet and am not smiling anymore. Suddenly, the lady next to me doesn't seem as moronic as she did minutes ago wrestling her oak latrine on a hand truck. Mr. Bowtie says..."I think Callan is a mid-century artist from California and your paintings are probably worth $300-$500. Each." Seriously.