It was last night that I decided I would not being going to work today, so I decided to just spend the day eating some of the full-strength codeine that someone donated me yesterday. I like that stuff, but it's even nicer when you take it for some other reason than being in pain.
Codeine - and most other opiates - doesn't actually remove the pain, it just takes your mind off it in the same way as hitting your thumb with a hammer takes your mind off a headache, but in a much more gentle way.
With the acquisition of the Craigie Aitchison painting, I thought it best to try and arrange insurance for all of our artworks which haven't been made by H.I., just incase the place goes up in flames.
Our standard contents insurance goes to a maximum of £1500 per item, so separate cover is needed for the rest. 'The rest' includes two Auerbach drawings, two Marquet drawings and one Degas etching. The Auerbachs come with a personal letter from Frank himself, saying that they are better than the ones in a national collection. None of them were paid for, but all of them were legitimate gifts.
A few years ago, I disposed of a large collection of big-name prints - artist's proofs plus signed editions - to get a bit of money together for Daughter, who was broke at the time. She's still broke.
A few years before that, I learnt what a bunch of slippery bastards most dealers and auctioneers are, when one tried his best to make me part with the lot - about 30 - for about £300. I found out from a sympathetic gallery that he had taken them all up to London and touted them around every single place that he thought might buy them, and - smelling the rat which he patently was - did not want to have anything to do with the dodgy deal.
Because of this failed attempt at an an old-fashioned and pathetically hopeful rip-off, he soured the market for over 15 years, and I ended up selling them to private collectors for about half their worth, but it was still a heck of a lot more than £300.
The strange thing is that even in the late 1960s, a scruffy student like me could go into a Cork Street gallery and be treated with great respect and seriousness - even offered Champagne.
This is because - from bitter experience - the cunning galleries have discovered that they never know who they are dealing with, and being snotty with someone who looks like a tramp may mean the loss of thousands of pounds, on the slim chance that the tramp may be an agent for someone who could buy them out 10 times over without blinking.
The negative side of this is that some rude and offensive Russian ex-pat is treated with more respect than they actually deserve, but a lot less than they could afford if they had to buy it.
The world of Fine Art is so depressingly stinky.
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