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A. T. Toran
brent grant
Date unknown, 7.5" x 9.5", oil on panel


Alfonso Toran was born in Naples, Italy in 1896 and died in New York in 1965. He was a muralist and easel painter. He was prolific and there always seem to be a few things for sale at the various auction houses: landscapes, still lives, exotic birds, flowers and prints.

Years ago, I bought this painting framed for ten dollars at a wayside junk store near Phoenix. A similar painting, but not as charming in my opinion, was sold at Cowan’s last year for €164.64. Today (11/26/2011) in USD that is $258. So, I suppose this painting has made the heftiest gain in value of the whole collection—over twenty-five times the purchase price!


Would I de-access? Anything in the collection that became worth a large amount of money?
Because I need money—to pay off the mortgage, for instance. And if I had to move to the poorhouse, I really couldn’t take care of the paintings anyway.

I think I have accepted, for myself, as a painter, that paintings are material objects.
A funny kind of material object that can be worthless one day, worth a fortune the next, and even go down in value. Or worthless in one person’s eyes, priceless in another’s. 

This is an article that presents both points of view about whether a museum should sell anything:
Whose Rules Are These, Anyway?

I like Toran’s work—though it is dashed off. He is a decorative painter (as I have been) and uses the same motifs, touches, and compositions repeatedly—still, he has charm and his work has a meditative stillness.

A contemporary Brooklyn painter whose work is a delight to look at and whose work also projects an exquisite quietude is Amy Lincoln:

  TOKYO PLANTS, 2010, 14.25" x 12", acrylic on mdf
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