Saturday, 7 February 2015

Thieving Bar Stewards.


                                                  

In about 1970-ish I bought 3 very beautiful round antique gilded frames at a jumble sale. They had an interior diameter of about 40 cms, and cost me very little.

Over the following few weeks I amused myself by painting 3 round, dark, brooding, self-portraits in the style of Rembrandt. I later aged the pictures by applying various old fashioned varnishes etc. When framed and hung they looked extremely old and convincing.

But Art Colleges in the UK are renowned for being the hunting grounds of pilferers, and my three paintings soon disappeared.

I've always wondered who it was who half-inched them (I suspected one of my tutors), but more so; what happened to them?

I quite imagine that they are now hanging in some smart sitting or dining room, being shown-off as early portraits of ancestors by an unknown Dutch master; unless someone tried to 'clean' them.

Such is life in the Art world.


40 comments:

  1. I wondet if you ever saw a Rembrandt painting ? Yours lacks particularly the "game" of light and shadow. I noticed that you are very "self-orientated " ! Your wife with Churchill, the boxer with your mother in law and now you as a british Rembrandt, hoping the "stolen" painting is hanging in a nice home. Very very funny !
    Sara Miller

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    Replies
    1. You are obviously an 'Art Expert', and I bow to your greater knowledge. Unfortunately the illustration is a REAL Rembrandt; not at all lacking in some 'game of light and shadow'. My versions were simply poor imitations.

      I only wrote this piece as an amusing anecdote about theft in British Art Colleges. Luckily 99.9% of my readers possess well honed senses of humour; you obviously DON'T. Can't you go away and annoy someone else?

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    2. Hmm, well, seeing as it is Cro's blog about Cro's life, I would expect it to be 'self-orientated'. Quaint wording, by the way.

      One day, I hope to have a blog that is half as interesting. You?

      Delete
  2. John Stezaker who does great things with cut outs, photographs and postcards once told me that he was really a painter and he left all his final years work at the Slade, including his degree show to pick up later. He went back with van to collect it only to find the whole lot had disappeared. He was so depressed he couldn't start painting again and turned to cut outs and never looked back.

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    Replies
    1. I lost a lot more than just these faux-Rembrandts. I once 'loaned' a whole folio of work to a girl who was applying to The Slade. She was accepted. but I never saw my work again. At least it helped her get in!

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    2. Yes this seems to go on a lot. I remember a group of Foundation students going to the Slade for interviews and taking with them portfolios made up of works from other students. I was horrified.

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    3. I was rather flattered; but not about losing all my drawings.

      Delete
  3. Ha, love your reply to the above comment!

    As for art crimes, I've been listening to a talk on the radio here in NZ about Rembrandt's portrait of Jacob de Gheyn, stolen so many times it was dubbed "The takeaway Rembrandt". Great stuff.

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    Replies
    1. SARA MILLER is an annoying moaning minnie. I can understand why she keeps her profile to 'NIL'.

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    2. I say 'she', but the only bit of info she gives about herself is that she's 'male'.

      Delete
  4. Who knows, maybe one of your paintings will turn up on the Antiques Roadshow.

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  5. They are probably in some bank vault now.

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  6. How interesting Cro. I often wonder how many so called old masters there are which are fakes, and vice versa. I think the whole art thing has blown up out of proportion - that Gauguin only today making a record price - if I remember he died as almost a pauper.

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    Replies
    1. £300 Million? Mine make about ten bob.

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  7. I wonder how many others clicked on Sara Miller to see what she/he had to offer the world. How disappointing that she is one of those "in circle" people (I never know how to access their info)
    While upsetting, it must also be rather gratifying to have work stolen - non of mine was ever stolen - obviously not good enough!

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  8. I like both the post and the comments:)

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  9. I love your blog Cro.
    I have never commented before as am a bit shy but felt I had to put my head above the parapet this morning.
    Please keep on blogging - telling us what you have been up to - past and present. There are so many of us out here who enjoy hearing about your thoughts & adventures. (And usually being entertained by the comments.)

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  10. Hahahaha !.I'm not a male .but only half as stupid as you are ! Keep on rowing !

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  11. I do wonder about some people. I tried very hard to construe the comment in question as 'tongue in cheek' but couldn't. I enjoy blogging and when I do post, I look forward to comments and am grateful for the time taken by those who do. A spiteful comment would really disappoint me and cause me to wonder why? Why expend time and energy merely to be rude?

    I shall now have those three Rembrandts in antique gilded frames I paid so much for last year on Portobello Road cleaned....

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    Replies
    1. I think she/he just enjoys being contrary. Probably a friendless loner with nothing better to do.

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    2. No no not a friendless loner ! Mais les enculeurs de mouches comme vous m' incitent à réagir. Et vous pouvez vous torchez ce que je pense avec votre soi-disant humour !

      Delete
    3. Merci cherie; je t'aime aussi!

      Delete
  12. Hi Cro! Love your response to the troll! :)

    Off topic, but how is Monty? I hope he's feeling better.

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    Replies
    1. He had another blood test this morning, and the Vet' has just phoned with the results. His Uric acid levels have gone back up again, which is not good. It looks as if his kidneys might have permanent damage.... we live in hope.

      Delete
  13. Cro you really are very entertaining, keep up the good work. Now I am being nosey, which art college did you attend and when ? I will tell you why I'm being nosey if you share :)
    Twiggy

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    Replies
    1. I did my degree course at the West Surrey College of Art in Farnham.

      Delete
  14. Thanks for the info, my husband's uncle went to art college in London in the 60s and in some respects you do remind me of each other. After his studies he came back up North and for a time worked for Yorkshire TV (he did all the House of Parliament sets for the New Statesman). Anyhoo. One of the tv series he worked on he copied various Old Masters, aged them etc to see if they could be passed off as the real deal. After the series they all 'disappeared'. He thought that the producer took a shine to them and probably sold them :) It seems the TV world was like the art college world. He was a mine of funny anecdotes. Quite a lot of them unrepeatable!
    Twiggy

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  15. My advice - check the Che*se**n households. On member of that family was renowned for its acquisitive tendencies.

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  16. Well you can rest content that someone has a really nice set of pictures on their walls. Who knows...maybe someday you will come across them again and burst someone's bubble lol.

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  17. Thomas Bernhard's novel Old Masters might amuse you.

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  18. one of my son's works 'disappeared' at school just before he left - we suspect art teacher. he's still miffed about it 10 years on.

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  19. Keep an eye on Antiques Roadshow - you might see some pompous 'Dahling' on there telling Rupert Haas a long and involved story about how his Great Uncle Herbert smuggled them out of occupied Hungary in his truss...

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    Replies
    1. I'm always surveying 'house magazine' walls in case I see something of mine (stolen or otherwise).

      Delete
  20. I have a certain admiration for art forgers. Some of them are brilliant and I think it is unfair they get such hefty prison sentences...I think the reason is because they have showed up the experts to be frauds themselves. If they knew their stuff they wouldn't be fooled. About the dishonesty of artists presenting the work of others as their own that is not so easy anymore. Curators and gallery owners insist on visiting artists studios to determine what is going on there.You can also place an identifying mark in your work which is undetectable to most people to prove it belongs to you.

    Out of all the arts I respect musical performance...no bullshitting you can either play or not and everyone is watching..

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  21. What a sad person Sara must be. To get any notice, she has to be rude and mean.

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    Replies
    1. Is she rude to everyone, or is it just me? I don't know why she bothers.

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