Thursday, September 15, 2011

Used book stores

Katie and I were scheduled to give a presentation in Columbia, South Carolina this past Monday. 

We did. 

We rocked it.

With all due modesty, our slides were that best of the bunch. Which was all Katie's doing. She made slides that flipped like pages in a book. She had slides with audio embedded. She had slides with video embedded. She had slides with flashy lights and bells and whistles. The girl can make slides!

I just had to stand up there and blabber on about what we have been up to in the past year. Anyone who knows me at all, knows that this is what I do best. Blabber on and on and on. I story tell. Or as my banner says, I baffle with bullshit. What can I say? It's a gift.

So Tuesday morning Katie and I are at loose ends. The presentations that are scheduled for that morning are ones that really don't interest us and the carb-loaded breakfast at the hotel isn't what either of us are wanting eat. Cue, searching on the smart phones for someplace to eat. I find a place that according to customer rankings on Food Spotter looks pretty good and according to Google maps is only 1/2 mile from the hotel. Easily doable. 

NEVER trust Google maps. Turns out the place was 1 mile away. Okay, still doable but not what we were expecting without coffee fueling our systems. We finally get there. The breakfast is good. The coffee is bottomless. All is now right with our world.

At about the same time as we spot the elusive restaurant we spy a used bookstore. Using my persuasive bullshit powers ( I try to only use them for good) I convince Katie that after breakfast we must stop in for a little look-see. One never knows what treasures await in used bookstores (or used anything stores). 

Katie makes the first find. A 4 volume set of opera books for kids. Who knew? Opera is Katie's area of research and these were just unusual enough to pick up. 

While Katie is settling up her purchase I walk into what the owner calls the Rare Book Room and begin poking around. That's when I find this...


An artist portfolio book. I'm intrigued. I open it up to find this...

A booklet with a lot of French words.
I'm more intrigued. 
And confused. 
My French is rusty. 
Okay, my French is very very rusty. 
From what I could get out of it this was a series of lithographs done after the artist's death in 1953.
Then comes the best part. 

10 original mat-framed lithographs in near perfect condition. 
I fall instantly in love with them and send off the following photo-text message to JR:

$275 for a set of first edition lithographs. Can i have them please?


The next text JR gets is:

Got them for $200.

The bookseller and I cut a deal and I walked out of the store a very happy woman. I never do things like this. Oh sure, I'll buy a piece of art from a street artist or a rare book for $30 but never do I drop $200 without some serious discussion with JR. But, like I said, I fell for these...hard. I knew nothing about the artist, still don't really (I'll do my homework tonight), I didn't know if this was a good deal or not, I just knew that it was a complete set and I loved them. I figured for $20 a piece I could frame them and give them as gifts at the very least. 

Turns out this Raoul Dufy was a famous watercolor painter and his lithographs go for a fair bit of money. The bookseller was able to tell me the provenance of this set which makes them authentic (never a bad thing when talking about art or books).

So all in all, I say that Katie and I had a very good trip. 

What have you all been up to while I've been gone?



  1. Gifts-smifts, there you have your wall. Now you can remove most of the other stuff.
    It's rare indeed one finds Art that throws energy back at you like these.
    Good spot girl.

    At first I thought a modern slimline black frame. Now. Not so sure. Maybe a rosewood reverse bevel and perhaps four, five or even six contained within it pseudo-randomly. Anyhows have fun.

  2. Nothing so interesting or fun, that's for sure.
    Used bookstores are wonderful.

  3. Vince: So true. These are just the loveliest things and will fit that wall perfectly. BTW, I found a set in "very good" condition for $675. My perfect would probably fetch close to $1000.

  4. Kind of impossible to ever pass up a chance to wander around an old rare and used bookstore.

    - Jay

  5. That's almost like scoring a Monet at a garage sale! Pictures of where they end up, please.

  6. I especially love that the value was higher than you had expected, but that it didn't matter to you. You loved them anyhow!

  7. Score! I love when that happens!!

    Last weekend in Minneapolis I passed up a giant pear and apple that have been torturing me! I have no space for them. But boy do I wish I did!

  8. What lovely lithographs! They do indeed "throw energy back at you" - wonderful comment, Vince - may I borrow??

    How large are these gems? Small enough to frame a few together, or large enough that each should stand on its own? Is a digital gallery in the works for your loyal readers??

  9. So, they found their correct home, huh? Those are lovely! Don't give them away. Keep them as a set. Hang them where you can love them every day!

  10. What a happy story! I love used book stores and I love art.

    Definitely a well spent $200!

  11. Score! And that thing could probably pay for itself if you ever decided to sell it. But you won't cause it's cool.

    Your presentation sounded kickass.

  12. Pretty cool, Michele! I love the art and I too would have been smitten with the whole set.


  13. What a fabulous find! Good on you for your bargain price. They are beautiful.

    Regarding you presentation--I know you do this all the time. My question is Does it get easier?

    I did a video for my company this week and my stomach was literally in such a knot I was in pain. It went well, lots of compliments on it. I hope to more of similar things and hope it does get easier.

    Again, love the lithographs.