It has been a very challenging month for my business, especially with the hospitalization and rehab, however abbreviated it may have been. If I hear another person tell me that the most important thing is my health I might actually commit a homicidal act. Which won't be good for anybody's health, least of all mine, easy to say when the mortgage is paid, not necessarily what I want to hear when I am scrambling.
Anyway, I am working a little harder every day, trying to plant seeds wherever I can, take advantage of every opportunity to sell merchandise, just not quite happening. And I have had a couple doozy clients this month.
First one has a Kim Wiggins painting she wants to sell. Nice. Modern regionalist. But she thinks it is worth 20k. I show her the comps, maybe 4 to 6k at best. She finally relents, brings it over to consign before she heads to Europe for a few months. And it is big, 36 x 48."
I started looking at this one more carefully, nothing on the back but a number but hey, I couldn't make any sense of the signature. Was it right? Kim Wiggins paintings don't get faked.
I decided to call Bob Nelson, who has been Kim's dealer for ever, sent him a picture. He thought it looked right but gave me the artist's phone number, just to make sure.
Kim told me that he had once done a smaller study; to send him a picture. He was a great guy, called me right back after looking at the image. My fears were justified, a good copy of a painting he created in 2000 but not his work, signature or impasto technique. I laughed, thanked him, told him he should be flattered by the imitation.
I tried to call the consignor and email her but she must be already gone. Now I have another big painting I can't sell to trip over this summer.
The other situation was a little more toxic. A woman brought a collection of her late husband's Japanese pottery over. She insisted on taking a picture of me with every piece, I got a bit of the third degree. She knew I was having a minor heart operation but kept calling every couple days and bugging me throughout my rehab anyway. And sent me a card, she was even praying for me.
Anyhow she calls up the other day and said that there was one item that she forgot to get my fingerprint on and take a picture next to, would I mind? Of course not.
Then she called back and asked for condition reports. I explained to her that three of the pieces had Japanese glyph signatures, that I was not fluent in said language and that I had written two experts, including one in Japan but as yet had had no response. These things can take time.
"Well can you have them and give me valuations by next week?
"Ma'am I told you, I am researching them, it is difficult to know when it will prove fruitful. Hopefully not too much longer."
She huffed, "Well then I will pick them up tomorrow."
I was ecstatic and mentally offered to pack them up for her but knew that she would want a total inspection of each piece and I didn't bother. She called me back the next day and let me know that she had once again changed her mind, I could sell all but three or something like that but I stopped her mid-sentence.
I said, "No, pick them all up. I don't really have time for people like you in my life. That little exercise we went through yesterday." Harsh yes. But I did not need the aggravation and her lack of trust and pushy manner was all the indicator I needed to know that working with her would be ultimately impossible. Spare myself the crap. Which could only get worse.
She came and got her stuff. Never been so happy to see merchandise leaving my store.