I stumbled upon the old man`s stand quite late at the brocante. He was well into his eighties had been a dealer for many years. I can remember seeing him selling in various places over the last 30 years or so. Everything had huge paper labels with his prices scrawled in black ink . The prices were very low to ensure he went home with an empty van and was just getting what he could for the items he had been hoarding. His last outing before retirement.
Most of the items were distressed and damaged but my heart leapt as I saw two full sized plaster altar angels that must have come from a church or chapel. They were placed right at the back of his stand covered in dust. One with a missing hand and the other with damage to the base but they were simply stunning. His stand was a jumble of stock, other dealers,old boxes and packing blankets he had used to wrap his treasures en route. It was a little like an assault course!
Just as I got to the angels he took their price labels off whilst taking some money from a lady I recognised as a Paris dealer. They may have been chipped and timeworn but they were absolutely divine and they had been sold for next to nothing. My heart hit the floor especially when I saw that she only handed over 40 euros for the pair. I asked if she wanted to sell them on and make a quick profit but it was a firm thank-you but no thank-you. She swiftly wrapped them in a blanket and they were gone.
You know that thing that two year olds do when they can`t get their own way? The moment they throw themselves face down on the floor kicking and screaming.....I was close I can tell you...so close! Apparently when a toddler does this you have to divert them, so I decided to divert myself with more truffling.
With a stand like this there had to be something hiding....a sleeper....waiting for me to truffle it out. I started to look through every box and blanket and came up with a few little treasures including some engravings and a pretty 1920s print. He was happy to take my cash and they were so little money I didn`t even barter.
Yes I can hear you now thinking "she didn`t barter? She`s losing her touch!!" But if I am happy with a price I always remember that the seller has to make a profit too and with prices that cheap I was happy to help him empty his workshop and retire.
Do antique dealers ever retire? Will I still be truffling in my eighties from a wicker bath chair? Will I demand to be pushed here and there at dawn by some long suffering family member? Probably.
This morning I finally got round the photographing the prints and discovered one is actually an original signed drawing and watercolour by George Barbier quite a famous Art Deco artist who was also responsible for designing costumes for the Folies Begere.
I have contacted an auction house for their next Art Deco sale as I believe his works do quite well.
Well that`s one tantrum well diverted!
A la prochaine mes belles and I will keep you posted on the results.