Friday 2 June 2023

Knuttel gone

Back in the early 90s, before we acquired two more children, we had a social life. Our pal D was visiting from London and we all went into town on Saturday morning to get coffee and buns and check out whaaat's happenin'? It was a teeny bit more focussed for D because he wanted to check out the New Apollo Gallery in Duke Street for contemporary art. D was a very successful corporate lawyer [with a heart of gold!] and was acquiring a modest collection of paintings. The Beloved and D dove right in, pulling paintings out of bins and appraising those which were good enough to deserve hanging. The Arts Block is quite outside my wheelhouse, so I chatted in a desultory manner in front-of-shop with The Proprietor, hereinafter "cloaky-bollix", who was high camp self-consciously artistic in demeanour. I was able to establish that I was The Money -  ready to whip out the cheque-book if T.B. saw something she liked. Eventually, they came from out back with a medium sized oil: Still-life with aubergines by Graham Knuttel:

I cut a cheque [remember them?] and we came away with another item of stuff. D preferred Knuttel's pictures of gangster's and cooks and, although he bought nothing that Saturday, he acquired a good few Knuttels in that style. A few years later, Sylvester "Rocky" Stallone was shooting a film in Ireland and discovered Knuttel on one of his rest-days. Back home in Hollywood, he shared his find with Robert de Niro, Frank Sinatra and other celebs. Prices went up! Institutions [banks, colleges, galleries] jumped on the latest fad. Prices went UP! Those aubergines became our successful flutter on the Grand National: without knowing much, through happenstance, we turned out lucky. Nobody could have predicted the cultural collision of eggplants with Der Penis in Emoji-speak, for example. Perhaps this makes our acquisition even more valuable than Knuttel's fascist chef vibe.

Knuttel's dead now. From one of his supporting galleries an Obit. I guess our aubergines will have another brief spike in 'value' as cognoscenti twig that there will be no more new Knuttels to hang or hoard.

Dau.II was born in 1995; more or less bald but blonde round the edges. This was in stark contrast to her dark curly-haired older sister. A month later was their mother's birthday and I took time off work [I was the Director and Sole Employee of Binfo Ireland so I could] to rustle up a giftie. Heading for Bewley's for chocolates or coffee, I passed Cloaky-bollix's store front and, on impulse went in. I don't piffle about. About 10 minutes later I came out with two Madonna-and-childs by Rachel Strong who had recently broken up with Knuttel. Some people have seen her as Frida Kahlo to Knuttel as Diego Rivera. They clearly shared a palette and way-of-seeing as well as breakfast:

I thought it was clever-hilarious that these two views of motherhood were such a good match for our own two childer.

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