A Van Gogh!

A Van Gogh!
From the artists at ArtWorks945

Friday, July 15, 2011


That’s what she said: Charlie’s painting is worthless.

And who is she?

I wish I could say that she is a two-headed, bile slurping she-beast who lives in a cave beneath Yugoslavia.

But I can’t. Indeed, quite the opposite -- she is a very lovely owner of an art gallery here in town. I am quite fond of taking the twenty-minute walk to her gallery and looking at the paintings hanging on her walls. When I am lucky, she takes time to talk to me about the various artists who have made the paintings and the various techniques that they employ.


She is also a professional art appraiser.

So it seemed entirely reasonable that I should ask her what she thought of Charlie’s painting now that it has been damaged. And though, as I said, she is very lovely, I learned that she is also ruthlessly no nonsense. She asserted the following theses, what I shall now call The Appraiser’s Theses.

Appraiser’s Thesis #1: Charlie’s painting is worthless. (She actually said that the painting is either worthless or seriously diminished in value.)

Appraiser’s Thesis #2: A painting’s worth is determined by a set of rules that more or less track the status of an artist in the ‘art realm’.

Appraiser’s Thesis # 3: When a painting becomes damaged, the damage reduces or eliminates the value of the painting.

Appraiser’s Thesis # 4: Marcel Duchamp’s painting Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even is worth as much as it is because: (i) it was a great painting by a great artist; and (ii) Duchamp rectified the damage that was done to it by putting the broken glass back in its place.

Appraiser’s Thesis #5: The category – art that has been accidentally damaged but thereby improved -- is an inconsequential and hence valueless category.

I must admit that I was initially distressed by the Appraiser’s Theses. After all, they don’t bode well for the auction I want to hold for Falling Down Man. But then, as I walked back to my house, I began to realize that despite asserting such disquieting theses, the owner of the gallery had actually given me an invaluable gift: an adversary.

In every endeavor of any worth, there is always an adversary. Achilles had Hector; Napolean had Wellington; Patton had Rommel.

And now…I have The Appraiser.

Now, let me be clear. I in no way intend the phrase, 'The Appraiser', to refer to the owner of the art gallery with whom I talked, since I really do like her and she was acting in utter good faith when she gave me her opinion about Charlie’s painting.

No, I like to think that ‘The Appraiser’ refers to something like an abstract idea, one that represents a worldview.

At the core of that worldview are the five theses I just articulated. But more important than those theses is what lies at the periphery of the worldview: a collection of allegiances forming a tangled web that ensnares us all.

Here are some of those allegiances:






In other words, at the periphery of The Appraiser’s worldview are things that Van Gogh lacked. Indeed, he didn’t just lack them. He utterly lacked them.

And somehow that makes me happy: it makes me think that the Appraiser’s worldview is seriously defective. Moreover, it makes me want to give the worldview a name that sounds as defective as the worldview itself. So I will call it:


As I said, I think Appraisery must be false. And I hope that at least some others agree with me, since on Tuesday I visited Arts945. Just as a reminder, Art945 is the art gallery for the homeless to which I will donate the money from the sale of Charlie’s painting. It is an incredible place run by remarkable people. And I am hoping that at least some people who attend the auction will reject Appraisery so that I can raise some money for such a cool organization.

But I have learned that I can do more than hope. I can also tell the Universe what I want.

So, Universe:

I want enough people to reject Appraisery that I will be able to raise a significant amount of money for Arts945 from the sale of Falling Down Man.

I want enough people to reject Appraisery that I will be able to raise a significant amount of money or Arts945 from the sale of Falling Down Man.

I want enough people to reject Appraisery that I will be able to raise a significant amount of money or Arts945 from the sale of Falling Down Man.


  1. Entertaining the idea that someone else can put a monetary value on Charlie's painting in and of itself devalues it and jeopardizes the legitimate if not metric-less method to your trading madness. My two cents.

    ps I still want to see pics of your paintings.

  2. Hey - sorry my comment was harsh. I made it pretty immediately after getting a shot in my ankle that has crippled me for the night. Anyhow, what I meant is, I agree, appraisery sucks. Forget them. And if I had a lot of money or art, I would trade either for falling down man! And I am sure someone who does have those things will with time.

    And ps same - I still really want to see your pictures!

    Added pps Hope you are doing well!