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Maine Antique Digest, An Appreciation

Posted by Geoff Edgers  August 13, 2006 08:47 PM
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Perhaps you do not traffic in the works of Henry Bayley Snell or Walter Launt Palmer. Maybe, we suspect, you have never dialed up the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, California and asked if, by chance, it was "being given the painting by these, perhaps, museum emissaries."

That's why we turn to Maine Antique Digest, a publication deliciously old school in its approach to communication.

maineantique.gif

The journal's on-line articles are in bold print, indented into the center of the page. They look startlingly similar to those in McSweeney's, the smart-alecky brainchild of David Eggers.

And then there's the language, a brandy-soaked auctionspeak that's thick enough to leave you woozy - in a good way - by article's end.

Take a recent piece entitled, "Museum Deaccessions: Easy Come, Easy Go." The account opens with a stunning revelation from Skinner's Auction House: Those who arrived only on the day of the sale "arrived too late to see Frank Weston Benson's portrait of Atherton Loring Jr. at age six." Whoa. Ya got to be kidding. Had Zane Grey whisked it away from a gang of cattle rustlers? Did it turn up in episode 19 of "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir?"

Or sample the account of the auction of a James Abbott McNeill Whistler painting in Mt. Morris, New York. Two bidders vie for the work from afar, one telephone manned by the auctioneer's wife, the other by his son. Who will come away with the prized oil? Is the fix in?

In tribute to M.A.D., we could suggest you sign up for a subscription. But we feel better offering up a Henry Bayley Snell:

snell.jpg


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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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