Scrapbook One Hundred Seventy Eight…

scrapbook

APRIL 2017

 

The Graciella Experience

Pony Ault was the only important client our gallery had in Santa Fe, and she seemed to know everyone. It was not unusual for her to bring celebrities in to meet me, and I loved that. And I equally loved that she could write a check for nearly anything she wanted, a fact that did not go undetected by my banker.

Everyone loved Pony, especially me. She was a chatterbox conversationalist so I always gravitated to her at parties, dinners, and art openings. She took chitchatting to an intellectual plateau that was several layers above where I normally felt ease. Our discussion time found me mostly listening, smiling, and nodding. Being seen with her was always good for my sometimes flailing ego.

Robert Henri

Pony said she wanted a painting by Robert Henri (1865-1929), so I started looking. The problem was that she had a great eye for art, a trait that never worked to the advantage of art dealers. When discussing art Pony nearly always knew more about the artist whose work was hanging on my walls, than I did. So when we talked price I was somewhat disarmed and usually capitulated to what she delicately described as her “medicinal discount.”

Henri paintings were very important and quite valuable so my eyes were always on alert for his name in auction catalogs. After a few weeks I bought one. It was a picture of a little girl named Graciella. But for some unknown reason it didn’t appeal to me. Her face was, well, I don’t know.

Graciella by Robert Henri

So we hung it on the wall in my office opposite my desk. Every time I sat in my chair, there she was, her stern face staring at me. I didn’t expect to actually warm up to Graciella, but at least I hoped we could establish some kind of meaningful rapport.

When I called Pony she made an appointment for the next afternoon. She wanted me to meet Cary Grant. I couldn’t have been more thrilled because To Catch a Thief was one of my favorite movies.

When they entered my office, introductions were made and I shook hands with the debonair Mr. Grant. We talked for several minutes and then Pony turned around.

And there it was in grand lighting, the Graciella Henri. It was hanging where it had been for a month while I tried to warm up to that little girl. No other clients were allowed to see her because I was saving it for my special client.

Well, Pony immediately recognized the artist’s style, palette, subject, and personality. She wasn’t impressed, and as if possessed by the spirit of Thor, she turned to face me. “Is that what you called me down here for, to look at that thang?” Her face looked unsympathetic as her nose pointed toward the 17th century wooden door to my office, beside which one must pass to exit, and out she strode, the sensitive Mister Grant silently following in close trail. Neither of them even said goodbye.

Gulp!

I went to my refrigerator and took a long pull of Worchestershire Sauce to clear my head.

Pony liked to show off our gallery to her lunching friends and house guests, so over the next few weeks she strolled them into my office and acted as docent. Often she was seen to glance at the You-Know-What that was hanging on the wall opposite my desk. Each time she left without comment. I didn’t care because Graciella and I were becoming friends.

During an evening art opening at our gallery Pony open the door to my office and sneaked in. She was in there for a minute or more. That’s when I started to worry.

A week later she called me on the phone. “Forrest I want that painting, and I’ll be there in thirty minutes to get it.” My heart sank. “Pony,” I lamented. “You didn’t say anything and I’ve grown to love that “thang.” I’ve decided to keep it in my own collection.” There was a gravid few-second pause in our conversation, necessitated by a requirement for Pony to recover. Then a loud sound vibrated against my ear drum. “What?” she sputtered. I felt like my tail was under a rocking chair, and Pony was sitting in it.

What could I do but capitulate? After all, she was a good friend and she was a good client, and I did offer it to her, and I sensed that she was about to have an unfortunate physical issue. Not to mention that I needed the money.

An hour later my wife walked into the office and asked why I was reading my bible. I didn’t mean to be rude, I just didn’t want to talk about it. f

 

131 thoughts on “Scrapbook One Hundred Seventy Eight…

    • Indy,

      I see a “hint” in the slang – but it will no longer be helpful to anyone.

      I also see a very foundational position being reinforced, ever so subtly.

      You might say, “I’ve done that thang and now I’m wake.” At least that is the way I would decipher it.

    • The key words, Indy, are “Thor” and “Worcestershire” (pronounced “Wotsacheer” – ask any kid).

      The word that is key is “Ashcan”.

      IMO
      K

        • I left my boots on the ground one night while backpacking in the Gila Wilderness.

          Lesson learned.

          I don’t go out anymore without a hammer and a nightlight.

          K

        • When is that Indy? Mine is coming up in early June. Try not to get to many key words that’ll just make a mess for you.
          Timothy…IMHO

      • What I should say is, We should all remember to think carefully before we act. 🙂

        Always stop and think for a second 🙂

  1. I think Forrest is simply stating that first impressions are often misleading. Hang your thoughts on the wall for a bit and come back to them, perhaps the relationship just needs a little space and perspective to blossom. At least I hope that’s what he’s saying, I offended him in an email transaction!:)

    I like Carey Grant. My Grandma was in love with him. We used to talk about his tan over a bowl of peaches in sugary syrup.

    Maybe step away from your solve, clear your head and come back to it. Something new will introduce itself.

    I so enjoy these threads. Happy Easter.

    Copper

    • IMO, I actually think the Graciella is lovely, deep, dimensional. I wonder if the message behind the story is to not be presumptuous. Even though she wanted the painting, Ms. Ault maybe didn’t ask because she was respectful in his space. Just a thought. Overall, what a life Mr. Fenn has had and the people he’s met. I love Carey Grant, great comic timing, drive, suave but down to earth. Considering how fascinating Mr. Fenn is, I would bet that those “celebrities” returned home with a feather in their cap too, able to tell their friends that they just met Forrest Fenn.

  2. Thank you Dal, Mr. Fenn, Pony and naturally Graciella,
    What I don’t understand is how anyone couldn’t immediately just fall in love with the face of the grace of God.

    • Forrest,

      I can see Graciella by Robert Henri taping into some deep emotions. Her eyes say, “I don’t need you…I’m not even going to look at you…but… please don’t leave me.”

      Took a real talent to capture that.

      When we completely lose an emotional anchor many quietly reflect and begin to search saying, “…where is that Bible anyway…?

      • She’s described as “a waspy society do-gooder” in Santa Fe Bohemia: The Art Colony. Much nicer than description than her colleague, Cocha y Pino de Kleven, “who might have stepped out from Goya’s Capricho’s. The portrait Mr. Fenn refers to as Graciella is called Florencia elsewhere. Now why would Mr. Fenn try to confuse us so? 🙂

      • Nmc: I’m sure this won’t be a very satisfying answer for you, but when you solve where warm waters halt, I believe you will know why Forrest altered the name of Henri’s emotional painting. Forrest is a sly (and lately quite prolific) fox and put a lot of effort into this Scrapbook about Pony, Henri and Archie.

          • Sure he has singled you out and is continually reassuring you that you are on the right track.

            He’s spent thousands of hours writing it’s all because of you.

            He knows your going to find it and he just wants to keep publishing to satisfy you personally.

          • Good call Lug,
            I’m giving up on the chase cause some have figured it all out.

    • The Graciella is uniquely beautiful and I can see why it would take a lot of time and probably more than 1600 lumens for people to lighten up to her. Real beauty can be difficult to discern if you are not looking in exactly the right place.

      You handled that situation with fitness although she didn’t appear to be deserving of it. I always hope that I am capable of that kind of poise when I deal with people but I have a tendency to fail. I need that second and third chance all the time. Mr. Robie can empathize with my dilemma.

      Thank you for sharing.

  3. There’s a moral in there somewhere. Darned if I know what it is.

    It should’ve been partially hidden behind some stuff; putting it on the wall was way too obvious. She definitely would’ve seen it tucked away in a corner, but I suppose an art dealer can’t be married to their goods.

    A shame Clark Gable wasn’t around, then when she badmouthed the painting you could’ve retorted, “Frankly my dear I don’t give a darn.”.

  4. A June bug being stared down by a 40 LB turkey. A crippled ant in an elephant parade. I felt like my tail was under a rocking chair and Pony was sitting in it. lol. 🙂

  5. Another fun scrapbook…thanks, Forrest, for sharing it, and thank you, Dal, for posting it. You are on a roll, Forrest…a new scrapbook every day or two or three. Please comment about Rock Hudson…another Hollywood hunk from the good old days! Reading your stories makes the time waiting for the snow to melt almost bearable.

    • OK Cynthia, since I am being overwhelmed by requests on this blog for answers, I’ll tell you. Rock Hudson was tall and good looking, so he was not easy to ignore. He walked in my gallery wearing a short sleeve shirt and shower sloshes. The zipper on his jeans was broken. Not to be delayed by proper maintenance, someone, probably not Pony, applied about 6 large safety pins to hold his fly shut. They were more than obvious. As added protection, Rock strolled from room to room holding both hands down in front of him. All of my sales girls giggled except Doris, and I think she hid in the janitor’s closet until he left.

  6. That is a tough picture to live with. It is the look of recognizing injustice and power. It’s the face of the end of childhood.

  7. In Gabriella’s eyes, I see innocence. I enjoy watching Cary Grant’s movies and many have made me giggle, one being “Arsenic and Old Lace”.

  8. Forrest, I really like the portrait of Graciella. It’s got a Mona Lisa kind of quality to it. What’s she thinking? A boyfriend, marriage, a job, raising children, the next paycheck, what?

    This post also surfaced some forgotten childhood memories of mom and dad, especially since today is the 6th anniversary of dad’s death. Mom loved Cary Grant movies and would watch every one that was shown on one of the three tv channels back in the day. Always on the sofa, glass of red wine in hand, a port I believe. She liked sweets. Dad had the tacky velvet like upholstered easy chair that would convert into a recliner. He drank Oly exclusively.

    That way he could sleep during the chick flick genre Cary Grant movies and hope they’d soon show a WW II action movie with Ward Bond, Henry, Lancaster, or Douglas.

    I really appreciate this post Forrest. Thanks for the memories. Great quote by Hope.

    Ciao-ciao ……. pinatubocharlie
    (for all you rednecks out there in FennLand, that’s I-talian for bye-bye )

  9. If you’d like to read more about the Santa Fe art community in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s…and about Forrest’s involvement..
    You could read a free Google book by Forrest’s friend, the artist Eli Levin titled Santa Fe Bohemia..
    It will fill you in on the Santa Fe Six and Forrest’s influence…with some interesting personal accounts from folks who met with him in the 70’s…

    https://books.google.com/books?id=kbIiGLKakdYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=santa+fe+bohemia&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjUxtm1i6fTAhVNfiYKHdJMAjkQ6AEIJTAA#v=onepage&q=santa%20fe%20bohemia&f=false

    • Forrest has certainly achieved making Santa Fe a showplace for Western art. Fun to read about the history of the place where the water and wind can tell new stories everyday.

    • Holy moly, Dal…you wrote “it (the book) will fill you in on the Santa Fe Six”….I thought you wrote the Santa Fe “Sex”, so I clicked on the link. And lo, and behold, holy moly again. I perused the Cover slowly, carefully…looking for anyone I might know. Then I went to page 13…the images made me smile…I had heard about the orgies in Santa Fe and I believe this was the ultimate depiction. Then I noticed Lorena Bobbitt with the giant pair of scissors ready to snip the giant….YIKES!
      I hope Goofy doesn’t nuke you from your own blog. That would suck…ha ha. (Forrest, please stop reading my comment if you are reading my comment, and please don’t tell my mother.)

  10. Reminds me of a subject I was talk to my wife about, I had talked about it all day and she listened and talked with me about it all day. Because my mind just would not rest about it and we was going to bed, she told me she did not want to talk about it. I took it to mean she was not interested in what was so exciting to me, like a whipped dog, I wimperd about it and hurt her feelings. I was a jerk, it seems we always hurt the ones we love and who loves us. I just wish my heart had put the brakes on my mouth, and know with whom I was talking too. She was not being rude, I was being selfish, and I pray I grow to be a wiser man.

  11. Mr. Fenn, I love it when you make me laugh, you and your Worcestershire sauce. On a deeper note, Graciella appears to possess understanding beyond Her years because, It also appears Mr. Robert introjects His personal feelings in His art. IMO. Now onto the hints.

  12. f…I didn’t see “stern” when I looked at her. I saw a quiet unspoken wisdom of knowledge in her young eyes.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    Happy Easter to all! He is Risen!

  13. I think she looks disinterested or unimpressed. Like she’s waiting for you to go and do something. I wouldn’t like her behind my desk, she’d make me feel like I need to get my act together and pay some bills or cook dinner already.

  14. Graciella = Favor or Blessing. Is Forrest saying “Gracias” to someone for a favor, or a blessing bestowed? Interesting to think about – JDA

    • JDA- I like your thesis. I’ll add something. Our ” gut feeling” is a Past conditioning sense as of a response. Our “hearts feeling” is the Now presents of our true natures feeling. For me in these perspectives, I see the hints of the new now and the old then that was also a now before. It is in this SB story. The heart developed a connection and the gut was speaking of tradition. To relent the hearts feelings over to the guts of tradition , do we then look to the past conditioning to find solace in a decision. Perhaps a rigidity to the guidance from the past has stymied the flow and its time for a new glow. It’s been 7 years in a row. Perhaps it has actually been 8 and this year someone might be right.

  15. One last post on the SB(I’ve posted a lot on this one). I think one interpretation of this SB might be that you may continually be seeing “hints” that are leading you to Graciela. In fact, you start seeing “Graciela” in everything. But then you realize that Graciela really isn’t Graciela at all. She’s Florencia. So all the “hints” you thought you saw are leading to an imaginary place in the end.

    Kinda sad though. But it sure is a heck of a lot of fun.

  16. Forrest,
    Thanks for another scrapbook. I can see how the painting grew on you, like a stranger who becomes a friend. I imagine it would have seemed a bit lonely in the office without Graciella watching over things.
    How fun to have met Cary Grant and Rock Hudson. I adore them both. I hope to say someday that I’ve met Forrest Fenn 🙂 To Catch A Thief is a great movie. My grandpa was in movies around the same time, his name was Wendell Corey, he died before I was born, I wish I could have known him. I grew up in a house with my grandma and pictures of him were everywhere, it was as if he was a silent spectator to our daily going ons. I now have some of those pictures in my house, it wouldn’t be the same without him there.
    Grandma’s photos were full of Hollywood days gone by. I remember one of Elvis holding hands with my aunt while crossing a street. When I asked grandma about it she said he had dated my aunt for a short time but grandpa didn’t like that and put an end to it. He was friends with Elvis and knew he was a heartbreaker.
    Grandpa left this world too soon and grandma lived to be in her nineties, she never remarried and she never stopped loving him. You and Peggy are so lucky to still have each other.
    Thanks again for your story and the trip down memory lane.

  17. Florencia in English, Florence, French (Saint) Florentia, a Roman martar under Emperor Diocletion who was known as one of the great persecuter of Christians. After looking at that blossom of a face in his office with those sad eyes may have found that it was not sadness after all, it was grace she eventually personifies, and she looks Hispanic in color and features therefore Graciella. That is why he was reading his Bible.

    Message: May the GRACE AND PEACE BE WITH YOU THIS EASTER.
    Tom T

    f seems to have turned the city named for a martyr in early

  18. Thank you for another great scrapbook. I can see how that painting could grow on you after a while. I’m looking to see if there are any interesting connections between Robert Henri and Pony Ault.

  19. Oh Mercy, me. What are we supposed to make of all the “ells” lately–pie, or something? Romnella, bells, missing ells from a fiery place, and little Graciella…what a puzzle to be pondered, pronto.

    I feel like I’m following a gray line between the footsteps of Christ and the devil through the Rockies.

    Nice SB, F. I like art ponies. Ones drawn with charcoal hold a beautiful mystery.

    • Excellent, Mindy! You’re good at spotting the aberrations. At this point it must be a little baffling to Forrest that more searchers aren’t getting the hint that there’s more to these SB’s than their face value. Where is the intellectual curiosity about changing the name of a painting? Or changing the name of a book? Or misspelling Neil Armstrong’s name? Or reversing the quote about fishing and the allotted time of man? Or posting Scrapbooks at an unprecedented rate?

      • Lol, thanks. After many years familiarizing myself with F’s double talk, it’s getting easier to spot the aberrations. Still gotta stay alert, though…

        One more thing…Worcestershire sauce had this tagline once–“a dash will make all the difference,” which could mean in this SB, math. A dash makes the difference as a symbol of subtraction.

        Or it can make “…art, Pony” into “…art Pony.” Lol. 🙂

        I really hope it’s not math…

        • Nice catch Mindy, but I have feeling it means a MAD DASH to the Fennish line. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

          Humor aside which is also most likely unoriginal, I sure hope this thing lasts long enough for the big family reunion/search we are having on the 4th. Everyone is so excited. We can’t wait to see the stars in the crystal clear skies of the RMs, not to mention the ISS. Sure would be nice if it’s viewable that week.

          Here’s a link if anyone is interested in viewing the International Space Station as it zooms across the night sky. It is very cool to watch if you haven’t already done so. Just select your state, then city, and it will show you dates and times. Look for 2-3 minute windows or longer for the best sightings.

          https://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/cities/skywatch.cgi?country=United+States

          Enjoy and Happy Easter everyone.

          • Wow, thanks, Charlie – I just saw it! Didn’t think I would with all the city lights and kinda surprised how “low” it seemed, from my perspective. I guess we couldn’t be much more off topic, but I agree with Holden Caulfield that digression can be nice. Thanks again!

  20. I can’t help but wonder what Pony may have noticed behind Graciellas well lit, yet pugnaciously canvassed, smile when they had their moment alone….I bet she was still warm to the touch as she went through through that door.

  21. “Being a thief myself I recognized the tracks of a thief” – Callimachus

    “Always set a thief to catch a thief; the greatest deer-stalkers make the best park-keepers.” – Thomas Fuller

    An old poacher makes the best gamekeeper – proverb

    Birds of a feather…

    Graciella – “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3

  22. If that’s Forrest’s painting in this Scrapbook, it’s either manipulated or a fake. Where’s the artist’s signature? Why is the bow different? Why is there an “F” on her ear? Why are the colors completely differentl?

    Jeremy, what’s wrong with this? Lol…

    • “Why is there an ‘F’ on her ear?”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia

      “Why are the colors completely different?”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia

      “Where’s the artist’s signature?”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cropping_(image) — Robert Henri signs his paintings in small script, at the bottom, I think it’s just cropped out.

      “Jeremy, what’s wrong with this?”

      You don’t know where a treasure chest is, so you’re looking for faults in a painting? You know it’s true 🙂

      (All in my humble and not-really-critical opinion)

      • I was mistaken about the signature… that’s in the shadows of the version on this page 🙂 Really, it’s just that the one on this page is somewhat darker and blurrier than the one on Christie’s. I don’t think there’s any clues in it.

        • Jeremy…I can address the difference pretty easily…
          The photo above is a copy of a photo that Forrest owns of the painting. I suspect he took a photo of it for his records, after he bought it.

          The original photo was not digital. It is a paper print. But we need a digital image for the blog so Forrest points his digital camera at the print and takes a photo of it. Forrest held the original photo in one hand and pointed his camera at it with his other hand. So it’s a photo of a photo…
          It had to be cropped to remove his hand and warped to get the perspective right.

          That’s how most of the paper photos he uses are copied for the blog…There are bound to be imperfections.

          Remember, we are 1600 miles apart and Forrest doesn’t have a scanner…

          Don’t place any value on the differences.. Making copies of paper photo prints by holding them up and pointing your digital camera at them does not always produce museum quality results…but generally they work pretty good for the blog.

          • Awesome…thanks, Dal and Jeremy. That explains a lot.

            We all suffer from a bit of pereidolia–our minds seek to find the familiar in the patterns present around us.

            That’s a good thing, I think. Otherwise, we might not have ever seen a unicorn in the clouds or a bull in the night sky. 🙂

          • I was going to say something about the texture looking like decoupage paper too, instead of a canvas 🙂

            I’m glad SL linked to the Christie’s auction page where I learned about “Ashcan” art for the first time. And this quote from the painter about his models is great:

            “I am looking at each individual with the eager hope of finding something of the dignity of life, the humor, the humanity. I do not wish to explain these people. I only want to find whatever of the great spirit there is in the Southwest. If I can hold it on my canvas I am satisfied.”

    • Hey Mindy! If you’re looking for an “F” in a bow, I found one. It’s on p. 111, TTOTC. You’re welcome 🙂

  23. Thank you for this Srap Book, f, along with the additional comments… You had me laughing so hard, I think I cracked a rib! It’s not too nice to go around tickling people’s funny bones so hard.
    As far as all of you searchers out thare, I think f is mentioning Clark and Rock (movie stars) because according to a recent post, by dal, there is going to be a showing of a movie shown about Fenn’s Searchers. f, himself is a star in the trailer. He is happy about that light, being that he probably always wondered what it would be like to be on the big screen like CG&RH. Maybe, if we are lucky, f will capitulate and give us an additional comment about how lofty it feels to be in moving pictures. How about it f?

  24. “North by Northwest” is the movie I’ll always associate Cary Grant with most. Definitely in my top 10 favorite movies of all time. I wanted to be that guy living the adventurous life of an improvising spy, hiding from crop-dusters in cornfields, intentionally acting belligerent during a high-brow art auction to escape assassins, climbing on the face of Mt. Rushmore with Eva Marie Saint! Good stuff! I need to watch that one again sometime soon!

    Not sure about subtle hints in this one, myself. What strikes me as odd is how Forrest and Pony communicate in this story. Forrest makes it sound like they conversed freely at parties and whatnot and were on friendly terms, so why does Forrest decide to hang the Henri painting on the wall of his office and invite Pony over not mentioning it in advance or once she arrives and wait for her to notice? Why didn’t he just call her up and say “Hey Pony! I know you’ve been interested in Henri paintings, and I happen to have acquired one that you might be interested in. Why don’t you come on over at a convenient time? Sure, you can bring Cary along too!”

    I’m equally puzzled by Pony’s reaction to seeing the painting. She almost acts as if she’s insulted somehow, but I can’t see why she would be justified to think so, since it seems like Forrest went out of his way to do something that would please her. Maybe she doesn’t like surprises? Maybe she’s just got a rude streak? To me, it just seemed rude and out of line with her usual friendly relationship with Forrest. Maybe Forrest was equally puzzled and frustrated and had to reach for the bottle of sauce and the Bible to calm down.

    I’m not too familiar with the world of high-end art collectors and gallerists. Is this how they normally haggle? Quite an odd dance.

  25. Some people think that money and status entitle them to disrespect others and ignore simple manners.
    In my book good friends acknowledge when you have made a special effort to please them and say goodbye when they leave my presence.
    If you Google search Pony Ault all you can find is that she was cofounder of the Santa Fe Art Institute with William Lumpkins.
    Fenn wins again.

  26. So, an “chatterbox intellectual conversationalist”, FFs only “important client” (really??) sneaks into his office – she “goes alone in there” with a certain treasure for a full minute. I think Mr F thought about pulling the plug on the whole deal for a split second because he has come to love “graciella” so much. But, in the end he capitulated and the charming chatterbox walked away with a painting by another name? And what is it with the bow ties, bows, etc. Maybe it’s representing a figure 8. Good old infinity. But I do like Florence. She’s a keeper.

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