In the Eye of the Beholder

by Joseph Grant

She had painted a self-portrait of herself once when she was young, quite young in fact, before life and its sometimes inherent lack of conscience and unconscious self-effacement had destroyed any traces of her youth. Her father, the first of many men in her life to demean her ambitions, told her that she possessed no artistic talent and that she was probably best suited for marriage if she married at all, so perhaps the portrait was an attempt to capture her life in a way that had never existed or to place a colorful, artistic spin on what had been a rather mundane, gray still-life. Looking back, the smile she portrayed was one of economy, not aesthetically pleasing like the Mona Lisa’s, nor the startled surprise of the Girl with a Pearl Earring or even the indifference found in the brush strokes of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, but rather subdued, mirroring the quiet generation of the 1950’s in which she came of age. An appraiser had come around once and gave the portrait an average evaluation, but like the men who came before him, he was one of many who were ignorant at the portrait’s value as well as the subject behind it. She had aged as a consequence from the poor choices of the stupid men in her life while the painting, much like her carefree former self, remained stored away and hidden from view. After she died, her daughter rescued the painting from where it had been used for many years to cover a hole in a basement wall and took it to an art dealer who recognized it as a rare work of classic Post-Modern Impressionism and immediately bought it for fifty thousand dollars on the spot.


Joseph Grant, whose full catalog is here, is a 6S All-Star and the first featured author in our "Six Sixes" series.