What a spectacular fall day. Here at 27th Street, the sun warmed things up enough that I could sit on the front porch and frail my banjo for an hour or so. I spent most of that time working on a piece called Lonesome John. Here’s a nice performance of the piece on fiddle, featuring some flat-footing.
While I was out on the porch, I watched a blue jay visit our feeders after sunflower seeds, competing with the sparrows and the nuthatches, and as well I watched a flicker feast away on the larch next door.
Meanwhile, this was the weekend for the fall Slotin Auction. The Slotins host a couple huge auctions each year down in Georgia, featuring mostly American folk art, outsider art, art brut, and so on, artifacts from a vanishing America. People ask us from time to time where we get our folk art, and over the years the pieces we have accumulated have mostly come from the Slotin Auctions. We bid live online, competing with people in the auction hall as well as telephone bidders, using an app called Live Auctioneers.
These are two day auctions, and they auction about 70 works per hour. It’s a really big deal in the Outsider Art world. I witnessed one work sell for over $70,000 on Saturday. The Slotins send us a hard-copy catalog for each of the auctions and we use that to track prices and to identify potential works we might like to bid on. We usually identify a few works, and figure out a maximum bid – the most we’re willing to pay for a piece. It’s important to factor in the buyer’s premium and the exchange rate, and take shipping into account. Sometimes works in this auction fetch scary high prices, but occasionally we’re able to find a piece we want at a reasonable price. For us the key is to stop bidding at our maximum and move on.
The piece that is pictured here is one by Charlie Kinney. We already have a Charlie Kinney piece hanging in our kitchen from a previous auction – a drawing of a square dance. In this piece it looks like the two piscators are about to reap disproportionate rewards.