SO….. a while back, as I was ruminating about my trip to France… and discussing some of the French masters, I signed out by saying “Au Renoir!” (Instead of “au revoir!)
Well….. apparently my harmless little joke set off a chain of cosmic events that culminated in a brief, but shining example of serendipity! (What the heck is he babbling about now?) First, my definition of “serendipity.” Which to me, is like searching for a needle in a haystack and finding the farmer’s daughter! In other words, incredible good luck. So, to what cosmic-like happening am I referring? (Fasten your seat belts, art lovers!)
Two days ago, as I was putting the finishing touches on my second mystery novel titled MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE, an actual RENOIR came on the market in a most unusual fashion! Several years before, a Virginia woman went to a local flea market (ostensibly to buy fleas) but ended up plunking down $7.00 for a little framed painting that she thought was a “poor copy” of Renoir’s painting style. Well, fast forward several years, and guess what? The woman now owns a bona fide work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir!! (I wonder which summer month Renoir liked the most?) Anyway, the French impressionist was very talented. (They say he did a great Elvis impersonation!) He was also a decent painter.
How decent you ask?
The Potomac auction house handling the sale is expecting a MINIMUM bid of….. $100,000! (And if you want more than the frame, bring a lot of loot!) Just between you and me, this little darling is going to fetch much, much more. How do I know? Because I know something others don’t. (This guy Renoir is dead! No more paintings from him!) By the way, in case you are interested, the painting goes on the auction block on September 29th. (No out-of-town checks will be accepted.)
For you cultured types, the painting dates back to 1879 (the year before James Garfield was elected President!) and is titled…… “Paysage Bords de Seine.” (Which in English, means “Landscape on the Banks of the Seine.”) Having just come from Paris, I can tell you that there are many banks along the Seine, but the exchange rate stinks!) I hope the French go back to using francs. (The Germans could then use sausage!) Hot dog! I would “relish” such a monetary shift.
And speaking of francs….. one of the few things that is known about the Renoir painting is that it was purchased by a French art gallery in June 1925 from a woman who called herself Madame Papillon for 5,000 francs. (Remember the movie called “Papillon?” Starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman?) Just coincidence? I think not, monsieur! Want to hear something even weirder? “Papillon” is the French word for butterfly! And Steve McQueen’s last name? Yeah, now you know where I’m going….. Butterfly McQueen! Just another coincidence? I think not again! (I’m spending too much time on the computer.)
Well, in all seriousness, I think this is a fascinating story. I will never, ever make fun of folks who go to the flea market again! (Unless they come back with a Rembrandt.)
Have a wonderful weekend! Love to all,