It has been a good month for unexpected art treasure. Earlier this month, we reported the dazzling discovery of a Renoir in a Virginia flea market and now from North Carolina, comes the story of Beth Feeback who bought the painting above for $9.99 at a Goodwill store and saw it sell at Sotheby’s last Friday for $27,000. “It’s a great return on $9.99,” Feeback playfully said Sunday night. An artist herself, Feeback bought “Vertical Diamond” by leading contemporary abstract painter Ilya Bolotowsky (1907-1981) because she wanted to reuse the canvas to paint cat portraits, her favored subject.
As in the case of the $7 Renoir (which, incidentally, was reported today as having been stolen six decades ago), a circumspect friend cautioned Feeback not to alter the painting until it was evaluated by experts, and so she had the work appraised, to serendipitous results. She and her husband plan to use their unexpected auction windfall to perform long overdue improvements on their home and pay down debts. She also means to paint a series of “Vertical Diamond” inspired paintings with large cat heads in the middle. We don’t know what Bolotowsky would have said to that but we, along with many in the art world, are very happy to congratulate Ms. Feeback on her good fortune.