Vintage finds and retro handmade--a sweet mix I know you'll love.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Vintage Has History: The Story of a Painting

Some time ago, I picked up a small vintage painting from a thrift store.  It was another one of those things that peaks my curiosity.  I always wonder what the object is and where it has traveled before I found it.  This one had one of the more unusual histories.  It was a tiny vintage painting--not a print.  The piece was hand-painted on a piece of recycled wood or particle board, and mounted by hand into a tiny vintage frame.  It bore a tantalizingly obscure signature, "Tootie," and a date, '74.

The subject matter was also intriguing.  There was a crude little footbridge with a wooded backdrop.  The scene appeared to be fall, yet many of the trees were green and visibly pointed.  Where could this place possibly be?  I imagined that if it was a setting in Oklahoma, it had to be in far southeastern Oklahoma, where there are more tall and pointed evergreen trees.

Well, boy was I wrong!  I listed this picture and months later, it sold to a lady in a state far away.  Then, a couple of days later, I received an email from my buyer, sharing with me a hint of the amazing story behind this little painting!

It turns out that "Tootie" was actually her grandmother, and this painting was created in Washington state, where her grandmother lived and worked.  Although her grandmother always signed her work "Tootie," her real name was Maxine Ardis (Hodney) Tarabochia.  She was a painter and a pen and ink artist.  The buyer had seen only a few of her grandmother's pieces, because her mother had moved several states away early in life, but now she is trying to collect her grandmother's work again.

That's where I come in.  Who knew that the little painting I brought home from a vintage store in central Oklahoma had traveled all the way from Washington!  Pretty cool, huh?  My guess is that this painting was donated from the estate of a local art collector.  It is possible that some family members didn't realize what they had.

I am glad that I went with my instincts and optimized the description for those searching for that artist specifically.  My buyer has been combing the internet for this work, so I'm sure she was able to find me in a Google or other search engine query.

One parting question, as requested by my buyer.  If you own any pieces signed "Tootie" and would be willing to part with them, please contact me and I can pass your information on to her.  Thanks!

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