Book shopping at Estate Sales

My grandmother introduced me to junk sales (her term). She loved to erratically make a turn off a country road following the direction indicated by a garage sale sign. She had all sorts of rules. As we’d walk up the gravel driveway she’d coach- “You always want to find something you can buy. They’re trying to get rid of things after all.” She was in pursuit of old furniture mostly. When everyone had gone home from weekends at her lake place, she’d set herself up with a refinishing project. The pleasure of seeing the knotty grain of oak under twenty layers of paint gave her immense satisfaction.

Estate sales work a bit better with today’s technology. Estate companies post pictures of the finds to be had so at least you know in advance what is on the property. I love to go to the ones with books. Sometimes it’s a bust, but often there are interesting finds. Old copies of the classics can even be rewarding. This set of Dante’s Devine Comedy was illustrated by Barry Moser. Not only are the drawing nifty, but I learned he is well known for his illustrations of Alice in Wonderland.

Some homes have quite a bit of original art. Since there are few art galleries in our area, this is a casual way to get up close to originals. Google Lens helps identify pieces. This is necessary when signatures are little more than scribbles. I quite liked the green abstract which is an engraving by a Brazillian artist Arthur Piza. He wasn’t too hard to find as he had a long career which resulted in a large portfolio.

I’m still working on the original oil of the white-washed buildings. I thought I had it narrowed down to another Brazilian modernist, but now I can’t find the links. If there’s anyone out there who can lend a hand, jump in on the comments.

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