During the mid-1960s, we decided to expand our world of collectibles by becoming a dealer at regular shows and markets. A wise older dealer advised us to not sell or purchase anything that we didn't know something about.
That advice led us to begin researching categories that we liked and enjoyed. We did that by joining clubs and groups. We subscribed to the Saturday Evening Post and couldn't wait for each issue to see Norman Rockwell's American covers.
At the time these covers appeared, art critics described Rockwell as a unique illustrator, but not a great artist.
Today, Norman Rockwell original art is selling for millions, and limited prints for hundreds.
One of our greatest experiences was a trip to Stockbridge, Mass., during the dead of winter. We lodged in the century-old Red Lion Inn. We found out that, just down the street, at the corner house, many of Rockwell's original works were on display.
We ventured down there, only to find no one there, except three ladies at the kitchen table.
We were greeted by one, who said, "Would you like a personal tour of Norman's work?" Of course, we said "Yes!"
Our personal guide was Norman's wife.
We spent close to two hours going over piece by piece. Mrs. Rockwell described what Norman was thinking when he painted certain moments in this idyllic village.
At this time, his greatest work was "The Four Freedoms." Each painting was very large and actually breathtaking. The details were so lifelike, the viewer can't help but put himself into the painting.
She said one of his favorites was "The Connoisseur," as he was able to show that each of us has preferences in art, be it landscapes, wildlife, Western, Oriental, cartoons, or any other genre in the art universe.
Because of this on-the-scene research of Rockwell's work, it encouraged us to research the artists. It certainly expanded our appreciation for the various techniques.
We encourage readers to research the artist of your favorite works within your home. You'll have a greater appreciation and it may be the beginning of a collection.
Personally, we really enjoy Alphonse Mucha, a Czech Art Noveau painter. Though our collection is very limited, we enjoy his works because we learned about his life.
You'll enjoy your collection more if you research the artists and their objectives.
Jerry Glenn is co-owner of Reminisce in Bluffton, where sports collectibles are bought and sold.