Francisco de Goya, Spanish, Señora Sabasa Garcia, c. 1806/1811, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art
Years ago, my young daughter wanted to walk through our annual subdivision garage sales. I’m not a garage sale looker, but it could be a mother-daughter time, right?
So we walked around, nosed through stuff. I like to look, but I rarely find anything I can use. Even my daughter wasn’t buying.
At the end of the sub, I was doing my last sweeping look, and stopped my gaze on an item leaning against a box on the ground. It was a painting. About a foot tall, with a nice carved wood frame. A painting of a lady. A delicate complexion, tender mouth, deep dark eyes, a childlike chin, lovely curls of hair laying on her forehead, and a delicious diaphanous shawl about her arms.
I didn’t recognize to which artist it belonged. I didn’t care, she was mesmerizing. I asked the homeowner the price. I think it was $35; I naturally tried to bargain it down, but no way. I hesitated, then handed the money to her. She was mine.
At home, I was about to hang the painting, in my bedroom, to welcome me every morning, with her beauty. I turned it around to examine the hanger; and found a sticker with the name “Francisco de Goya”. Goya. One of my favorite amazing artists. Of course. I almost hugged the painting, but it was too precious to risk any damage.
Of course, you’re wondering; was this the real thing, an original?
I never was that lucky. It was a very well done copy. But I didn’t have to insure it!
Some years later, we moved across the state. I had wrapped her so carefully, and put her in the car with me. I looked for a spot to hang the painting, and found a narrow wall next to the doorwall (or slider, as they say here). A bit dark, just enough not to fade it out.
If you’ve noticed, my artwork is far from Goya’s style. But then, this is now, that was then. And Goya was a master. I’m still working on it. And working.
That was the only time I found a treasure in a garage sale. Though maybe only to me. And my daughter? Nothing that day. But the next day, she shopped across the street at our neighbor’s sale. And ran into our house, excited. For a dollar, she purchased a 4-foot carnival-type teddy bear. And she hugged it tight, with the same look I had with my lady.