I Found A Painting By My Dumpster Today...
....And Grabbed It.
There is a certain truth to the phrase: "every man's trash is another man's treasure." I do believed I learned this truth today.
After a dreary, rainy day of feeling sorry for myself (warranted, but still unacceptable), I discovered a painting that had been laid up against my apartment complex's dumpster as I threw away some of my own trash. At first, I paid it no attention as I am not in the habit of recovering other peoples' disposed of items. But upon further investigation, I changed my mind.
As is visible in the picture, the painting is of a young girl in a red dress playing the piano. She is quite alone in this activity, which is perhaps why the discarded painting attracted me in the first place- she is in fact alone in a large room, but doesn't seem to care. Instead, she appears lost in her activity, and seems without thought as she sits at her piano. Her beautiful and vibrant solitude inspired me. But if you compare the two paintings- the one with the girl in the red dress, and the one with the girl in the blue dress below- this painting is quite dark. In fact, the print is so dark that several of the shapes are indiscernible. There isn't any damage that would cause this darkening of colors, but maybe the age of the print has had more of an effect that what was initially observable.
Needless to say, I took this painting from the dumpster and ran back to my apartment so that my neighbors wouldn't see me carrying someone else's trash. Once inside and out of the rain, I proceeded to research the painting's origins in hopes that I would learn more about its subject. I was surprised to discover that not much is known about this painting, nor its painter. Several sites featured people who had either stumbled upon the work in a consignment shop or had inherited it after the death of a relative. In addition, there were scores of people who were desperately searching for this painting due to its sentimental value.
The painting I have recovered from its intended final resting place is in fact quite old, and unfortunately in very poor condition. I believe that the painting had been hiding in one of my neighbor's apartments and was discarded with the remainder of the spring cleaning trash. The frame is not in decent shape, and parts of it actually crumbled to the touch. But the print itself seemed relatively well preserved with the exception of some newly-sustained water damage due to the rainy weather of that afternoon.
Which brings me to my next point- how could someone just toss a beautiful work of art such as this? As I said before, the painting itself is in less than ideal condition, however I can only imagine that the beauty of its elements remain the same as they were when they were first committed to canvas. Such a travesty!
For those art fanatics out there, or for anyone is simply more intelligent than I in the manner of artwork, the artist's name is signed at the bottom, a "M. Ditlef". The painting itself is titled "Sonata" and is the sister of several other works illustrated in the same Victorian style. And because I was unable to discover any information whatsoever about its origins, I have ceased investigating this painting for now.
.....what I DID discover, however, is that the picture is worth over $300.00, even in very poor shape.
Needless to say, my find brightened my day and I do intend on keeping the painting; I quite admire the young lady that it features. My question is who the subjects of these exquisite works actually are; I don't doubt in the least that they were real people. But who were they, and what was it about them that inspired this mysterious artist to feature them front and center? Judging from their clothing, I can only assume that these ladies were royalty of some sort, but from which lineage, I am unsure.
According to the minimum amount of information available about this painting, the artist (see the paragraph below) was responsible for creating a similar work of art involving another striking young woman playing the piano. The quality of these pieces is high, and the originals as well as preserved prints of those originals are highly sought after, as is the case with the painting seen below.
Have you ever found a treasure in someone else's trash?
Very little is known about the artist who created the painting from which this print- and many others- originated. According to the link below, only two of his works have ever been recovered. It is uncertain who exactly this individual was, if he used a pseudonym for any of his works, or if the reason for the lack of information was an untimely end to the artist's life. One possible theory includes that "M. Ditlef" is actually the same person as Antoni Ditlef, who signed his works as "Allegro, M. Ditlef". There is a strong possibility that he changed his signature, or that over the course of time damage to the original paintings caused his signings to appear as though his name was "M. Ditlef". However- according to the image at right- they are, in fact, two different people. Overall, there is a noticeable lack of solid information on either of these two people, the paintings that were signed with their common last name, or the subjects that inspired these creations.
What a mystery to ponder on a lonely, rainy day!
Whatever the case may be, it is certainly a mystery to anyone who enjoys musing over these beautiful Victorian works of art, as featured in the video below.