Here . . . have an article from the LA Times about a pair of stolen paintings – a Gauguin and a Cezanne – that turned out to have spent the last 44 years hanging in the kitchen of a retired Sicilian auto worker “who was unaware of their value” (he apparently picked them up at an auction for the equivalent of $30.)
It’s an interesting tidbit of news, and I’m only inclined to take issue with one statement in it. The Sicilian auto worker in question may have been unaware of the paintings’ monetary worth, but – considering that he kept them in his home while he was working in Turin, and went to the trouble of taking them with him and hanging them up in his kitchen when he retired to Sicily – he was clearly aware of their value. They were pictures he saw, and bought, and kept where he could see them every day, and it was all about him and the paintings, and nothing to do with who might have painted them or how much a collector might say they would bring at auction.
There are some critics out there, I am sure, who would assert that Sicilian Auto Guy wasn’t loving the pictures enough, or in the right way – because there are critics out there who say the same sort of thing about works of literature. But I say that those critics are guilty of snobbery and intellectual arrogance – and I ought to know intellectual arrogance when I see it, because it’s my own second-favorite besetting sin.
(My very favorite is Wrath. But after several decades of hard work, I’ve managed to tamp it down it to “at least I mostly behave myself in public” levels.)