Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Burnt Paintings

Jessey Dorr's "Off to the Oyster Beds," a painting found at a garage sale, led the buyer, Davis Dutton, on a several-year search for the painter. Photo courtesy of the Davis Dutton Collection

Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle has a wonderful piece by the Los Angeles bookseller* and author Davis Dutton on the search for the artist behind a haunting painting found gathering dust in a garage. This account is so well written that it calls out to become a book. It has much to say about art and life in California in the early part of the 20th Century:

The Burnt Paintings

Artist Jessey Dorr: Born into a wealthy Nob Hill family, she was a strong-willed woman who burned her paintings after a bad review. Photo by Imogen Cunningham

As an artist I always wonder where my works will end up in fifty or a hundred years. Like most painters I know,(See Martin Bromirski at Anaba), I have found a few treasures stacked against the walls in small shops. I once found an original Cezanne etching in a thrift store in San Francisco. Any other finds out there?

For more on artists destroying their work see Anna Conti

*Davis Dutton and his wife, Judith Dutton are the owners of Dutton's Books in North Hollywood.

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