Arts, Lighter, News

Woman Buys $34,000 Painting At Goodwill For $10

Artist, Ilya Bolotowsky
Artist, Ilya Bolotowsky, in 1939. Image: Archives of American Art

Beth Feeback, who lives in North Carolina, knows how to find a good bargain. In fact, she recently turned $10 into $34,375.

Feeback shops at Goodwill, a thrift store, where people can buy used clothing and items cheaply.

In her spare time, Feeback paints folksy pictures of large-eyed kitties.

Last April, Feeback was combing Goodwill for a nice warm blanket. Instead, she stumbled on two large paintings that she felt she’d be able to paint her kitties on–after painting over them, of course.

She paid $9.99 for the paintings and took them home. It wasn’t until five months later that she fetched them to recycle them into cat paintings.

But something caught her eye on one of the paintings. There was a sticker on the back of the canvas that said that the painting–a red diamond with blue and white stripes–had come from the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina.

Someone suggested she find out more about the painting, so she Googled it.

That’s when she discovered that it was painted by artist Ilya Bolotowsky, and was called Vertical Diamond… and was worth more than $34,000.

Vertical Diamond by Ilya Bolotowsky; Image: Courtesy Sotheby's New York
Vertical Diamond by Ilya Bolotowsky; Image: Courtesy Sotheby’s New York

It turns out that the painting had been brought to Goodwill by a couple because they hadn’t been able to sell it at their church yard sale. They had picked up the painting earlier from a sale at a company that was going out of business. (The company had paid $5,500 for it back in 1979 and had later loaned it to the Weatherspoon.)

Famous auction house Sotheby’s sold the painting for Feeback for $34,375. She said that she and her husband plan to use the money to renovate their house and pay off some of their debts. She also intends to thank the couple that brought the painting to Goodwill–by painting a picture of Buttons, their cat who passed away.

According to an article on the news website, Feeback also wants to recreate Vertical Diamond, but with a giant cat face in the middle of it.

This article was originally published on TKN on Oct. 3, 2012.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
What makes a piece of art valuable? Why are some pieces of art more valuable or more valued than others?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
A saying that comes to mind is: “One person’s junk is another person’s treasure.” How can you connect the saying to this article?

Make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Use stated and implied ideas to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas and citing a variety of details that support the main idea (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Verbs and Nouns
A verb is an action word and a noun is a person, place or thing. Sometimes one word can be either a verb or a noun, depending on how it is used in a sentence.

Read the article carefully and see if you can find any nouns that can also be used as verbs.