Painting exchanged for grilled cheese sandwich by artist 50 years ago etches $270,000 at auction
A Canadian painting by folk artist Maud Lewis was sold at an auction for $270,000 (over Rs 2 crore) on Tuesday. The painting's owner got it in exchange for a grilled cheese sandwich around 50 years ago.
The painting titled "Black Truck" was sold 10 times more than its original value. The painting was acquired by Irene Demas in 1973, who was a young chef at the time. Demas used to work at a restaurant which she owned along with her husband, reported The Guardian.
"In a time of great turmoil and change the art world lived vicariously through Maud Lewis, her story, and her art," reported the media house quoting Ethan Miller, head of the Ontario auction house as saying.
Demas and her husband reportedly had an arrangement with the artist John Kinnear. As per the agreement, the couple could choose paintings by Kinnear, and his friends, in exchange for grilled sandwiches.
"Mind you, it wasn’t just an ordinary grilled cheese. It was a great sandwich, with a five-year-old cheddar and beautiful bread," Demas said.
One day in 1973, Kinnear brought in a series of paintings by Maude Lewis. The Maritime artist was a close friend of Kinnear.
The young couple then selected the "Black Truck" painting in exchange for a grilled sandwich. Notably, Lewis mostly lived in poverty. She used to sell her paintings on the roadside in Canada's Nova Scotia.
Lewis died in 1970. Her signature style received recognition after a movie titled 'Maudie' was made in 2016. It was based on her life. The letters by Lewis to Kinnear thanking him for supplying paints to her were also auctioned. The three hand-written letters fetched C$70,000, far above their $5,000 estimate.