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A Portraitís Long Fingers Suggest El Greco
New York Times ^ | April 12, 2012 | CAROL VOGEL

Posted on 04/22/2012 12:46:14 AM PDT by nickcarraway

Camilla Blaffer calls it her “best find.” A grimy old-master painting of a saint gazing upward, his hands crossed on his chest and a skull perched on a rock in the foreground. A friend of Ms. Blaffer’s bought the canvas, without realizing who painted it, on her behalf about 20 years ago at a small Paris auction. That canvas, along with hundreds of other artworks and decorative objects, languished in a warehouse outside Paris.

Some years later Ms. Blaffer asked her friend John T. Spike, an art historian and a scholar in residence at the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., to meet her in Paris and take a look at the contents of the warehouse.

“It was a fluke,” said Ms. Blaffer, who is known as Coco and lives in Houston and New York. Although she earned a master’s degree in art history and was a painter many years ago, with several New York shows of her psychedelic watercolors and oils, she still sought the advice of an expert.

“It had been extensively painted over,” Ms. Blaffer recalled. “When you first look at it, it doesn’t seem very beautiful.”

Mr. Spike recalled that the warehouse “was full of everything you can imagine.” But when he spied the painting leaning against a wall, what stopped him was the saint’s impeccably articulated elongated fingers. “Just as striking was the skull, which was so tangible it looked as if it could be picked up from that rock,” he said. “It was real quality.”

“I realized two yards away that it was an El Greco,” depicting St. Francis, Mr. Spike added. “It is a known composition.”

St. Francis is a subject that El Greco returned to over and over. And, Mr. Spike said, there are

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; History; Hobbies
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1 posted on 04/22/2012 12:46:17 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Sad that the signature was lost, especially since he signed so few.


2 posted on 04/22/2012 4:19:36 AM PDT by McGavin999
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To: nickcarraway

Did somebody photograph that signature before they washed it off?


3 posted on 04/22/2012 4:24:45 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: nickcarraway
During the restoration the signature was lost, Mr. Spike said, but that did not diminish his confidence that it was an El Greco.

Trust me, this is an El Greco from his happier days.

4 posted on 04/22/2012 4:44:16 AM PDT by bgill
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