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    Auction Finds

    A forlorn drawing that no one wanted

    No one would take Linda home. I couldn’t blame them because she looked like one miserable person, without a tinge of hope. Her face was drawn, her stare vacant.

    So when her portrait came up for auction, the auctioneer couldn’t even give it away. The artist had drawn her in black pencil, and the lack of color in her face and clothes only accentuated her desperate state. That was apparently what the artist had in mind, but it made you wonder if he/she ever expected anyone to buy it.

    Linda was forlorn. And no one wanted her.

    Artists drawing of "Linda"

    A view of the sad face of the drawing “Linda.”

    I ended up with her, though, because when the auctioneer dropped her price to a few bucks and still no one raised their hand to bid – which is quite unusual at auction – he added another painting to her’s. It was a painting that I was waiting to bid on, so I literally got stuck with Linda.

    Interesting, this was one of several paintings I have bought recently that were done by local artists. One was a very early oil painting by Philadelphia artist Reba Dickerson-Hill. The other was presumably by a Charleston, SC, artist of a Magazine Street in that city.

    Looking at the Linda drawing, I wondered if she were a real person and if the drawing reflected a fleeting bad moment in her life? Or was she a composite of other troubled women that the artist had melded into one? Or was this Linda painting herself?

    Artist's drawing of Linda

    A full view of the drawing titled “Linda.”

    I assumed her name was Linda because the artist had printed it in plain clear letters to the right of the woman, who was staring off into space in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, the artist did not clearly sign his/her own name so I’m not sure who it is. The year appears to be 1968.

    I didn’t recognize the artist’s name or style, but the image itself had a very familiar feel. I’d seen that sense of hopelessness in paintings by other artists and in TV commercials advertising some product for depression. Practically everyone is familiar with Norwegian artist Edward Munch’s “The Scream,” which grew out of his own mental illness. And he isn’t the only one who battled demons.

    Scientists have long sought to determine if there’s a link between depression and creativity. Some noted artists, writers, poets and other geniuses – or those bordering on genius – suffer from clinical depression. Their artistic expressions may be a way for them to release their emotions.

    artist signature of depressed woman drawing

    Here’s the artist’s signature and the title of the drawing.

    The death of the naturally talented Robin Williams spawned stories about that link. Williams suffered from depression, and comedy seemed to have been his creative outlet. He obviously was suffering inside very deeply, while he put on a public face that kept us in stitches.

    Maybe this was a picture of Linda as she saw herself and not as she presented herself to the world. Maybe she was reaching out, putting her own face on depression.

    Or I may be wrong. What do you think? How would you interpret the drawing?

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