Friday, May 16, 2008

Marcos y Molduras - Frames and Moldings

My art teacher told me about a place for inexpensive, but not cheap, frames. The prices are as low as the place on Ezq. Montes I found a few weeks back, but the place is a real frame shop (they do all the work there and have all the equipment and materials). Most frame shops here are very expensive. They also have a collection of paintings including water colors, some of which are very nice. After I talked to the lady (wife of the owner) about costs, I checked out the paintings; and ended up talking quite a bit with owner, Raúl Chavez, no relation.

It turns out the shop is mainly a place for the students from his school, and that is why things are less expensive. After I noted that I liked one of the watercolorists in his collection (turns out the guy died 3 months ago, so he is no longer teaching, or painting, for that matter), Raúl mentioned that he was at one time in Diego Rivera’s circle. I mentioned that Niels had a connection to that circle through Siquieros, so the guy took me a little more seriously. He currently has a Siquieros that belonged to a president, and the family is now selling off his stuff. I need to find out which president. Mexicans would never ask, but I can get away with it since I am a bold, brash gringo. I think it sold for $100,000 MN and had been part of a mural from the school the president attended.

He also just sold a possible Rembrandt which he had taken to the Rembrandt museum in Holland for authentication. C-14 showed it was the right age, it was from his workshop, but it is impossible to prove it was painted by him and not by a student. The museum has run into problems attributing paintings and is now very gun shy. I think that that one went for $1,000,000 MN, because now it is just an old picture, although it may be one of several "lost" Rembrandts, a self portrait!

He also showed me a Chucho Reyes and told me the story of the painter. In the late nineteenth century, Chucho’s (not El Roto) parents imported stuff from the orient and wrapped it in rice paper which they also bought from the orient. He used to paint on the paper, and then his parents would use the paper to wrap things and fill empty space in boxes. Most people threw the packing paper away, but some recognized it as real art. Later he became a fairly well known artist, travelled the world and exhibited in Mexico City where he had a uniquely decorated house. His rice paper paintings now start at $20,000 MN and look like they could have been done today. They are very modern. Google Chucho Reyes on the internet. And click on "Liga a la galeria" at to see some other pix.

It seems Raúl knows all the major collectors in the Queretaro area, and just calls one or two people when something special comes in, and it sells in a day or two. Paintings might be available for viewing while he is framing them, but not for long. I asked to be put on his e-mail list to be notified, but since things sell so fast, I may never get to see any of them.

If I could get him to sell my stuff I would have it made since he seems to be held in high regard by local artists and collectors. But the quality of the artists he represents is really a bit beyond me, at least for the next 15 to 20 years.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Quick Update

We (at least I) are enjoying the quiet in the house. No guests for two weeks!! The next round will start at the end of June when Bill and Mary from Atlanta will come for a couple of days. I am really looking forward to seeing them, and hope they don’t change their minds. They will drop by to see us before working at a community development volunteer project in Michoacan. Maybe they should join the Peace Corps, I can put in a good word to Byron.

It has been HOT. Since a week or two before the Famille Française came, it has been in the low 30s celsius, 90s in fahrenheit, and we keep hoping the rainy season will start. Last night, we had a really good storm and the lights went out, so maybe we are finally going to change to the other season. But with low humidity, it is always bearable in the shade, and the nights get into the 10s celsius, 60s fahrenheit.

During a break in the storm we walked down 5 de Mayo 2 or 3 blocks to the Galeria D’rte for a vernisage, I don’t know the word for the introduction of a new musical CD, and the galeria is for paintings anyway, by Carlos Sanchez of a new CD of popular music. Carlos is really a great baritone with an incredible voice and well known in Mexico and especially Querétaro. His previous CDs were opera and bel canto. We ran into Niels and Grace, and Ramon (Elvira was visiting near Acambaro or something). We also ran into Renatta who owns the really neat furniture and artesanias store next door to the galeria. Chris, her husband, was home taking care of the baby. I finally got to see their new house a week or so ago. They are fixing up an old house in the historic district, and the living, dining, kitchen will be a spectacular place to have parties.

I was very impressed with all the politicians who attended the vernisage, former mayors and governors, only one of whom had we met, a former governor, at Sol’s house in Jurica at another of her daughter’s rights of passage celebrations. Renatta was NOT impressed by the politicians, however.

Niels ended up talking to an ex-violinist in the Querétaro symphony whose wife is first cellist. So I finally got to meet this guy who is head of a very good quartet made up entirely of Russian ex-patriots. Turns out he is now working in Morelia and only comes home on weekends, which answered my question about why we no longer see him in the Querétaro symphony. Niels wanted to speak Russian with him, of course; and then he wanted to speak Russian to me. We cut off his wine at that point! ;-)

When the rain stopped again, we walked home. Wow, Querétaro is great.

My brother Bill is having his 50th today, May 10. My brother-in-law, Jacques, in France is having his birthday today too. He is a little more than 50, but with a recent triple bypass, he is feeling younger.

Michel (Miguel to all the Mexicans) decided his house in Provence was a little plain after visiting us, and has now bought flowers in pots for his terrace. Nice to be an inspiration.

Watercolors are coming along. I have posted some new ones with a somewhat looser style, hope my art teacher, Jorge, likes them.

Pierre and Sophie who, with Antoine, were our last visitors, have decided to buy a house in Querétaro in the historic district, and more specifically on Sangremal hill, the only hill in the district and where we live. Laura A. has been helping me by calling people with houses for sale with her real Mexican accent to make sure we get a non-gringo price. We saw a really nice one about a block from our house that is ready to move in to, but Pierre and Sophie will probably want to make some changes eventually. I can hear the groans about a new house saga, but I hope they go for it.

And life goes on in Querétaro. If you want to know what C is up to, send her an e-mail and ask her to start her own blog.

Happy Mother’s Day.