Monday, January 23, 2012

Thrift Share Monday: The Real Thing

After the last three weeks of intense Thrift Shares, I thought I'd have nothing to post about this week.  A quick stop at the Milford Goodwill tonight rewarded me with a beautiful mid-century watercolor painting for $8. (I will post daylight pictures as soon as I can.)

It came in this hideous frame. On the right hand side there you can see where it got a little wet on the way home forcing me to bust the painting out of the frame so it wouldn't get damaged. Thank God it's a watercolor.

It does have quite a bit of nicotine yellowing since it was so poorly framed. (Some of the yellow is the photo, but not all of it.) The browning gave me pause in purchasing it, but I just kept thinking about the painting as I browsed. That is usually a sign that I will regret leaving it behind. It is signed by a B. Vassilieff, who turns out to be Barbara Vassilieff. 

There isn't a hell of a lot of info on Google about her. Apparently she must have been something in mid-century New York painting circles because there is a Barbara Vassilieff Memorial Award. Though I cannot find out who gives it out or why.There is also a possible reference to her being connected to the Art Students League of New York. Though that information comes from Wikipedia, a dubious source. However there are two auctions of her work out there. One ended with an estimated price of $300-$600 and one with an asking bid of $2500. Both originate at an auction house in Queens, NY which is the area where this piece was originally framed.

The painting is of the Place du Chatelet in Paris, and seems to be a quickie study with ink and watercolor. 

Here is a modern photo of the same angle. Granted, there is construction sheeting over the Theatre  back there, but you get the idea. Funny how the modern car is so similar in shape to the Mid Century car.

And here is another Mid Century painting, this one by Antoine Blanchard.

Which is very similar to my windmill painting. Which the Place du Chatelet will be hanging next to. Just as soon as I get it properly framed. This will definitely be a job for a pro.

Do I think this is worth anything? Maybe. If the other two pieces linked up above are any indication. Do I think it's worth $2500? I don't think so, maybe $150 with the nicotine damage. What I would like, is to know more about Barbara Vassilieff and her work. Maybe I'll see if someone in the Art History Department at Yale could be any help.

Linking up with Thrift Share Monday at Apron Thrift Girl even though it's drifting into Tuesday. I think you can agree, it was worth the wait.


  1. How incredibly cool! I can't wait to hear what you find out from the Art History Dept. You may have really found something valuable.

  2. Sorry I have no idea what it is worth but just wanted to say what a great find it is. Love it. Sherry :)

  3. Amazing! What a great piece! Let me know we're you get it framed. I found a lithograph by Sami Brisa at the Goodwill in Hamden

  4. Wowee, what a find. Gorgeous stuff, and I know what you mean about not being able to get an item out of your mind.

  5. Very cool piece! Personally I'd skip the pro framing job. They charge way too much and it's super easy to do yourself. You can get a nice archival mat cut from Hobby Lobby and then order a frame online if it's an odd size. I've used a few times and been really happy with the results. It's still not cheap, but a fraction of the cost of a pro job (and just as nice!)