Each year Intuit displays works donated to their permanent collection. This is the first time the annual exhibit has come from a single source. The Ricco/Maresca Gallery in New York donated twenty-four paintings collected over five years largely from thrift stores, and the gift extends Intuit’s collecting mission beyond “outsider” to amateur. Most of the paintings are oil on canvas in the style similar to something one might find on the wall of an aunt’s lake house. Yet this exhibit is not about the beauty of the painting itself but rather the mystery behind the paintings. A few of the oils are dated generally between 1930 and 1980, and many of the pieces are signed, though little is known of the artists. Who were these artists? How did the paintings end up in secondhand shops? What else did the artists create and where are they now? These are the questions that come to mind as one peruses the gallery. Perhaps this exhibit will inspire other amateurs to pick up the brush, for one day their works could go from a flea market to a gallery wall, too. (Rachel Turney)
“Sunday Painters: Discarded Paintings by Gifted Amateurs” shows at Intuit, 756 North Milwaukee, (312)243-9088, through January 3.