Friday, January 4, 2008

On The Wall


One of the things I like about living in Portland is that very trippy little things keep happening. My friend Lenny says that Portland is the biggest small town in the country. I know what he means. A few months after we moved in to the fourplex we share, we met Barb, our new neighbor. Turned out she had gone to high school with Katie in California. They were good friends, lost touch and found each other 35 years later. I was a bit skeptical at first, but in the last year they've completely re-ignited their friendship.
Some of the teachers I meet here have roots in the Bay Area too. There have also been new friends, writers in my weekly writing group, and a familiar face randomly seen on the street from time to time. But the most amazing thing so far happened the other day when I found something in a store that features all manner of artsy, avant guard, objects, antiques, gifts and jewelry. There on a rear wall of the store, high above everything else was a print of a painting I recognized. In a rather tattered gold frame was a very view of Lake Como Italy. Turns out I have been researching the artist and an original signed oil painting that looks strikingly similar. In the home where I grew up, the painting hung for 25 years in our living room over the fireplace. My father told me he bought it as a young man in 1929 at a gallery in New York. In the past few years I've learned about the artist, Gottfried Arnegger, an Austrian landscape impressionist. I've had a few so-called experts look at the painting. As is, it's probably worth two thousand dollars. If it were cleaned and re-stretched, it might bring twice that amount. Next week I'm going to find out the story of that print hanging in the shop in NE Portland. The woman who knows about it won't return until then. Somehow I think there might be more to the story. It is Portland, you know.

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