Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

de Servin, de Groot and Dunn art at bargain prices June 8, 2012

I’M NO ART EXPERT. I buy art simply because I like it, not because of its value.

Yet, I’ve managed through the years to purchase several pieces of art, which unbeknown to me, were created by notable artists and therefore possess more than your average value.

I didn’t find these in some upscale, trendy metro art gallery. Rather, I’ve discovered my art treasures at rummage sales and at recycled art sales right here in Faribault.

Yes, I shop on the cheap because, frankly, as much as I wish I could, I cannot afford an original work of art sold at retail price. That is the truth and I apologize to all the starving artists out there who are trying to make a living via their art. Remember, I am a writer. I understand.

That said, let me show you the trio of recycled art pieces which I consider my most valuable art discoveries, although I certainly did not realize this at the time of purchase.

My bargain Jose Maria de Servin painting.

I was shopping at the Paradise Center for the Arts annual Recycled Art Sale several years ago when I came across this interesting painting of a young girl on burlap. The bold colors, the subject and the uniqueness of the art—unlike any I’d ever seen—drew me to her. For $7, this art piece was mine.

Later my second daughter, who at the time was studying Spanish in college, researched the artist, Jose de Maria Servin, and shared that he’s a rather well-known Mexican artist. Seems his original oils fetch anywhere from several hundred to well over $1,000.

To make this even more interesting, I bought Servin’s oil painting on the third day of the recycled art sale and the husband didn’t much like it. He likes it now, or at least its value.

Theodore de Groot LathArt by Austin Productions, patent number 4,061,514

The second notable piece of art also came from that recycled art sale at the Paradise. It’s LathArt, a type of folk art by the Dutch artist Theodore de Groot. LathArt, according to information I found online, was produced by Austin Productions in the 1970s using a patent to die cut the pieces.

Again, I bought the de Groot LathArt owl for $10 because I liked the rustic design and the uniqueness of the art, not because I knew anything about the art or artist.

My print of Harvey Dunn’s “The Prairie is my Garden.”

Ditto for a print of South Dakota artist Harvey Dunn’s painting, “The Prairie is my Garden.” When I spotted the framed print at a yard sale, it reminded me of my native southwestern Minnesota prairie and I just had to have it along with a dozen wine glasses and a “Felix the Cat” video, all for $20.

Months later I grew curious about the artist and learned Dunn was a well-established illustrator for magazines like The Saturday Evening Post among other accomplishments.

So there you go. I’ve been fortunate enough to acquire art of value without even knowing its value. I bought the art solely because I liked it. And isn’t that the best reason for purchasing a work of art?

A sidewalk sign outside the Paradise Center for the Arts advertising the fifth annual Recycled Art Sale.

FYI: The annual Recycled Art Sale at the Paradise Center for the Arts, 321 Central Avenue North, Faribault, began at noon Thursday and continues from noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Proceeds benefit the Paradise and the Faribault Mural Society.

Old film reels from the former Paradise Theatre are among items being sold at this years Recycled Art Sale. The smaller reels hold movie trailers such as “Rambo” and “Brewster.” Gallery walls and tables are covered in art donated for the fundraiser.

The musical, “A Year with Frog and Toad,” opens Friday evening at the Paradise.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “de Servin, de Groot and Dunn art at bargain prices”

  1. Hotly Spiced Says:

    I love the one of the owl. That is definitely something to be treasured. And I can’t believe you were able to buy it for the bargain price of $10.00. What a great find! xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yup, quite a deal I got on that art. And I found another interesting art piece today at a rummage sale for $3. Photo to come in a future post.

  2. I saw that this was going on – so cool! What a great idea for a fundraiser. I wish one could photograph inside the building – SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Glad you loved the beautiful Paradise Center for the Arts in Faribault. And, yes, you could take pictures inside. Just come back when an event isn’t going on and you’ll be more than welcome. It is a challenge, though, with lighting. Bring a tripod.

  3. dakotagirl Says:

    You should visit the South Dakota Art Museum on the campus of South Dakota State University in Brookings. They have a permanent exhibit of Harvey Dunn originals. Beautiful!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      The museum has been on my list of places to visit ever since I researched my Harvey Dunn print. I’d love to see his originals.

  4. artsynina Says:

    AUDREY!!! I found a neat LathArt picture today at an antique store, brought it home and started googling info on Degroot. How funny that I landed here!! I LOVE the owl pic. The one that I bought was of a farmhouse and I picked it up with a friend in mind, not realizing it had any value (I just thought it was neat and matched her decor.) Anyways, great finds – and if you ever want to part with the owl, let me know 😉

    • That is incredible, that your googling would lead you to me. So good to hear from you, Nina. How is the family and especially Tom? An email update would be welcome.

      A farmhouse LathArt sounds even better than an owl to me. So, if you wanna email me also with info on the value of this LathArt, I’d love to hear. I have not researched it.

      Score for you on a great find.

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