Egret and crab

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Finders Keepers

On a primal level, antique and art dealers are not essentially much different from the inhabitants of Mumbai or Mexico City that scour like termites through mountains of society's trash and detritus in order to make a daily living. Although they probably have us beat in terms of ethics and decorum.

This cosmic trooth was brought home to me in spades this morning. Leslie decided to go see Avatar with her friend Mel (everyone I know has panned it) so I went in for a solitary brunch at Le Bistro with my friend, the newspaper.

I share a back entrance to my building with a community art gallery, The Brandon, which has some first rate contemporary artists. I regularly leave old frames by their door and today they may have returned the favor. Propped up against our dumpster were two large paintings by the late Dorothy Finley, with a free sign taped to them.

Finley was a very accomplished artist. I have actually purchased her work before for my own collection. These two works on board are quite good, the one titled Taipei better than the other to my eye.

Perhaps they were too large and the folks got tired of storing them. I do not have any idea why they were liberated from their long repose. But I am happy to give them a home, however temporary it may prove to be.

I looked up her obituary:

Dorothy Finley, 83
FALLBROOK - Dorothy A. Finley, 83, died Tuesday, Aug. 10, at her home. Born Dec. 15, 1920, in Seattle, she lived in Fallbrook since 1974. She attended Fresno State College and continued her studies in Japan, Taiwan, Germany, and the U.S. She was a prize winning painter and teacher since 1958. Her works are in numerous museums and private collections. Mrs. Finley was preceded in death by her husband, David Finley, in 1982. She is survived by her niece-in-law, Paula Huntley of North Augusta, S.C.; grandnephews Frank Fortune and Bryan Fortune; cousin Robert Morrison; and god-daughter Kerry Cristina Njust of Santa Cruz.
At the request of the deceased no services will be held. Inurnment will be at Riverside National Cemetery. A retrospective show of her paintings will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, at the Brandon Gallery. Proceeds will go to the Fallbrook Art Association for the Dorothy Finley Awards to be presented at future shows in Fallbrook.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to the Fallbrook Art Association, or the Fallbrook Historical Society Building Fund.

I know that she was a teacher. I see that she won multiple awards including Best of Show. Numerous solo shows. A real talent hidden in our small town burg, a fact that kept her from securing more notoriety in her lifetime. And it is a sad but true fact that women have a lot harder time getting respect than men in the art world, a truism that has been enforced for centuries. That is why so many women painters have historically used their initials to sign their work, or like Marjorie Reed, sometimes adopted a male pseudonym. She may have had to keep her muse on a back burner to raise a family or a husband... I want to learn more about Dorothy Finley.

Minutes ago, I found a San Dieguito Art Guild biography that sheds a little more light. She studied with Walter McCown in Waco, Texas, Louisa Jenkins at Big Sur, Heinz Kusel at Fresno State, A. Madrigal at Yale and the great Josef Albers for Color Theory. On the local front she worked and studied with such luminaries as Robert E. Wood, Linda Doll, Sebastien Capella, Vera Fields, Carl Provder, Pauline Doblado and Carol Barnes.

I hope to see that these wonderful abstract works, which I have rescued from the ignominy of the dustbin, are given a new home with someone who respects and appreciates an artist who should not be forgotten.


Anonymous said...

What a gift! Arthur Lee and that incredible band. Thanks for sending Alone Again...
Enjoined the article on Dorothy; she was also a very nice woman. I didn't know her very well, but I wish I had; very good vibes.
Cheers to you in 2010, Neill

Anonymous said...

I noticed your blog on Dorothy Finley's paintings. I know exactly what happened.

We've been storing all of her remaining, unsold work and those 2 pieces were taking up space without bringing any buyers. Carol Zaleski and Linda Thorne finally started cleaning out spaces that have been used to store things that noone wanted to buy, much less take for free, so they put them out back in the hopes someone would want them if they were free. I'm so glad you took the paintings. We still have lots of her paintings. 3 are on the walls this month...smaller and hopefully more saleable.

I'll copy this to them so they can see that they have a new, more appreciative home!


Anonymous said...

God what a find; remind me to cruise your back alley more often, maybe Brandon will discard some more gems.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Robert for taking the paintings. We hoped they would go to a wonderful new owner and are very glad it turned out to be you. It wasn't easy to decide to put those few Dorothy Findley pieces out, but since we have a great many more that are framed, in a rash momentof madness, we decided to cull the collection. Many thanks.
Carol Z. (and Linda, too).

Anonymous said...

we have so many fine artists here in Fallbrook; i own works by Carol Zelesky, Evelyn Cramer, Penny Fedorchak, and Louise Prestidge, whose style i particularly love; i found a work of hers at the Angel Shop for only five bucks; but the one who knocks me out the most is Brett Stokes; every time i go into what used to be Temecula Valley Bank, next to Carls Jr, i drool over his idealized, large scale landscapes of Fallbrook that adorn the walls there; of course you can see his fine murals all over town, as well; what a treasure...by the way, the A.B. Skhy cuts were great; i'd never heard of them, reminded me of Don Ellis; Howard could really wail...G

Anonymous said...

i had no idea Baby Lemonade was that good; looks like they added strings and horns for this gig, they really framed Arthur's vocals beautifully; back in the day i was a record store junkie (worked in one several years also) and their guitarist Mike was often behind the counter at Moby Disc, in West LA; nice kid; don't quit your day job, they say.

Blue Heron said...

Prestidge was my friend Luzanne's aunt. She was quite good. I have a Zaleski myself and a Prestidge. Fedorchak's brother in law is the finest pastel artist around. I have sold his work in Santa Fe.

Sanoguy said...

My wife painted plein air with Dorothy Finley for several years before her passing. After she died, her heirs held a garage sale of her art. We bought one piece and I like it better than the pieces you found, but, we had to pay for ours!! Real money!!

We were fortunate to buy a Ray Fedorchak pastel from the Fallbrook Art Association art show last year. It won best of show. We are very proud to have it!! We have also bought works by several other fine Fallbrook artists: Carol Zaleski, Shirley Calvert and Jack Ragland among others.

Fallbrook is quite the art community!!!

Anonymous said...

One man's trash is another mans treasure???
Artist's sacrifice their lives to create an image that transfers their souls onto canvas. Is a starving artist who makes 50 cents an hour any less credible in Gods eyes than a AIG corporate raider receiving 5 million dollars of bailout money???
My advice; sell those beautiful paintings and make sure Dorothy gets some nice flowers and a toast. Gunnar Widforss said "Art is the highest avatar to God."