About a dozen years ago, I was browsing through a thrift shop that no longer exists. It had high 16ft. ceilings that were hung with pictures in rows that went all the up to the top. My attentions were squarely on a rack of shirts that I was rifling through when I glance over and up. Oh that's kinda cool, I thought looking at a piece waaay high up on the wall. Kinda looks like a Calder. Standing under it I looked up and, sure enough it was a Calder. Then I saw that the signature was in pencil, as in hand signed!
"Um, excuse me, could I see that one please?", I said as casually as I could. "Yeah, sure," the store attendant grumbled as he grabbed his ladder and started what felt like a 20 minute shuffle across the store.
He hoisted it down and, once it was in my hands, I really started to shake. I really did love it, and sure enough in the lower right hand corner "Calder" in pencil! In the lower left corner, "E.A." E.A. and A.P. are interchangeable terms for 'artist proof''; a much smaller (usually 20) edition of prints intended for the artist's personal use.
"How much for this?" I asked with total disinterest." "20", he said from his perch atop the ladder. "20?!", my shocked indignation was perfectly metered. "Ok, I'll do 19." I was starting to worry that he would be able to see my quivering over the thought of getting a signed Calder for $19, but strange things happen to one once the haggling begins and I just couldn't resist a final, "Ok, but 19 flat; no tax." (the cheek!) Before he could fully consider the suggestion, let alone descend the ladder, I had peeled off 19 bucks, left it on a shelf next to a broken rubiks cube that sat on top of a copy of "Call Me Anna". I then sprinted back to my car.
It hangs over the fireplace.