Ghitta / The pack mule returns

I was without car access for most of week of the 14th. My friend’s insurance was cancelled (for silly reasons that I won’t get into) and no other cars were available. So, if I wanted to do my routes I was going to have to bike. Villeray – my recent Monday night destination – wasn’t too bad to get to given its proximity to home, though it did start pouring rain late in my run.

TMR was a bit more of a hassle to get to. It took nearly 20 minutes of biking just to get to its outer boundary, but I really wanted to go because of my recent success there.

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I’m not really set up for large scale bike picking anymore. My bike trailer was stolen a while back, and I hadn’t even gotten around to adding a milk crate to the back of my newest bike. Obviously, I was hoping that I wouldn’t find anything big, and that I’d instead come across small but valuable items like the sunglasses, perfumes, and silver I saved the week before.

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At the back of one pile were two big pieces of art. I was hoping they’d just be mediocre prints, but of course they ended up actually being pretty nice. The kind of things I would have to carry home. (I guess I could have taken a taxi, but I hate spending money on that kind of stuff, and then I’d have to come back to retrieve the bike anyways).

I finished making my rounds, came back to the spot and picked up the artwork. One of them was in a black trash bag because the glass from the frame was busted. The other was in good condition, at least for now. Together they were pretty damn heavy, and it was going to be a struggle to get them home (or at least to my friend’s shed, which was about half the distance).

I made it about 100 meters before the nicely framed piece slipped from my hand and hit the ground, shattering the glass. This wasn’t an ideal outcome! The sound of breaking glass at night, especially in a rich neighbourhood wasn’t likely to bring me any kind of positive attention. Fortunately, no one on the street seemed to notice. I ditched the broken glass and the busted frame into a nearby bin. The silver lining here was that the loss of glass made the load a lot lighter. The main challenge now was biking while carrying two awkwardly large items.

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I played the pack mule on a regular basis in my early picking days. I’d find some kind of awkward item, put it up on my handlebars or hold it off the the side and get it home somehow. The most ridiculous item I ever hauled home was probably the 67.3 pound U-Matic VTR that I biked (very gingerly!) home on my handlebars three summers ago. That was pretty nuts, and all for something I ended up giving away for free on Craigslist.

Those were different times! I don’t bike as much now, but more than that I’m just not as motivated to expend great effort bringing random stuff home anymore – unless of course I think it can make me some money.

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The pieces (which appear to be lithograph prints) are signed by Ghitta Caiserman-Roth (1923-2005), a somewhat well-known Canadian Jewish artist from Montreal. She produced some very interesting and beautiful art, some of which can been seen here or by doing a Google image search.

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The work above is titled “Gift”, while this one is titled “Open Windows.” Both are numbered 24/35 and measure around 30 x 22.25″. I’d guess they were made in the early 1970s. They aren’t dated, and I can’t find any reference to them on the internet. However, I was able to find a “Gift III” that was apparently made in 1974 (is is being sold for 1000 US$, or nearly 1400$ Canadian!).

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I doubt these will net me 1400$ each (that work is an original, for starters), but I suspect they could sell for a very pleasant amount regardless. First, I’ll have to make sure they’re authentic, though they look pretty legit to me. Then I’ll have to figure out how to sell them. It seems that several galleries and auction houses are looking for her work. It’ll probably be easiest to figure something out with them, as they presumably could also authenticate the works.

I’ll let you know what happens one way or the other. In the meantime, if you have any tips or information let us know in the comments!

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Last week was sort of quiet, probably because many people were preparing for holiday celebrations. Still, I saved a bit of decent stuff. In front of a house in TMR I found a bunch of old books …

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… and some late 60s early 70s McGill University ephemera.

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I also saved a collection of old pamphlets and publications, many of which came from Expo 67.

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This person seemed to have a particular interest in the Soviet pavilion.

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Otherwise, I came across an open box containing three camera lenses, some mugs, a bit of jewelry and some miscellaneous junk on a rainy night in TMR; …

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… a large aquarium, which seems to be in fine condition (Hampstead);

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… an upholstered chair with a distinct modern feel (there was a second, but it was busted and wouldn’t have fit in the car anyways – Hampstead);

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… a perfectly functional microwave (TMR);

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… and a small collection of large format film negatives, all of which seem to be advertising-related photos (Hampstead). My favourite of the bunch was this cool shot of a Laurentide ale, which is a beer made by Molson and only available in Quebec. The picture was probably taken in the early 1980s.

I’m hoping for some good luck this week! I’ll keep you posted. I’m also currently working on a “Best of 2015” post, which I expect to publish before the New Year. Check back for that, as it should be a fun time!

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12 thoughts on “Ghitta / The pack mule returns

  1. What a great post! Your adventures with biking was a fun read. πŸ™‚
    And what an interesting group of finds too!
    The legs and style of your sweet armchair places it, I think, from the early 1960s. The velvet upholstery looks to still be in very good shape. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/fix-velvet-nap-upholstery-102670.html You should be able to sell this locally for a pretty nice price. That kind of 60s retro is all the rage again now.
    Hey … 1970/71 was the year I was at McGill U. Hahaha
    Very nice art by Ghitta Caiserman-Roth. I hope their sale gives you a nice financial start to 2016.

  2. Imthink the mid century modern subs over on Reddit would love to see that chair πŸ™‚ I’m sure It will net you a really nice amount, especially if you can get some background and maker info on it. Really sweet find πŸ™‚

  3. michelle milne says:

    hi martin! i’m sorry that you’re carless for the moment- it does make picking difficult! the art pieces are lovely- i particularly like the second one- well worth the effort to have retrieved them. i finally got the pocket watch back that i had sent for repair, and would love for you to list it on eBay when the time is good for you. i only had one repaired- the hamilton, evaluated at about $2000US now that it is running. i have found some old coins of my grandfathers which i’d like to take in to sell- can you recommend me a buyer? i hope you are well- and so glad that the blogs are still coming out regularly! bestmichelle

    Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2015 22:06:59 +0000 To: michellemilne@hotmail.com

  4. Chanelle says:

    That chair is a really good find! I’d start googling Adrien Pearsell images or mcm upulstered chairs. Definitely research or take it to a nice mcm resell store. I’d almost go back to the busted one and scavenge parts. πŸ˜‰

    • martng says:

      I’ll do my research. It’s definitely mcm. I would have taken the broken one too if it would have fit in the car. It looked to be in decent shape, just the top was separated from the bottom. I could have gone home and come back, but it was also raining a lot and everything was soaking wet, which put a damper on things a bit.

  5. Anon says:

    ran across this site

    http://www.ancientfaces.com/photos

    sending it on in case you ever want to post some of the photos youfind

  6. Astrid says:

    Must agree with everyone else, the chair and the art works are great rescues!

    Loved the bike adventures too. So recognize that, though I don’t go that far. If the object is very big I only bring it home if I can load it up to walk the stretch pushing the bike. Fun to see with what loads my buyers cycle away from my door.

  7. Pierre Royer says:

    I am so delighted to see the name of the Street and cross street in your photo,Graham,Acadie and Jean Talon.Your photos rarely ever tell the name of the street.Acadie Street in the north near Henri Bourassa Avenue is full og high-rise,luxury condo buildings.Maybe you could find trash in their treasures too.Do you find treasures on Plymouth and Duncan Streets at the western tip of Town of Mount Royal?Just asking.Have a delightful new year.

    • martng says:

      I never had any luck on those streets in TMR no, but there’s no reason to think there will never be anything. As for Acadie, that part is in Ahuntsic I believe which doesn’t have a very convenient trash schedule (if they, like Villeray switch to a one day a week pickup I might change my mind). I’d love to share the name of the street, but it just doesn’t make sense because it would make it way to easy for people to find my spots.

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