Friday, September 3, 2010

Necessary Losses

I kept the Italian Wassily Kadinsky book as well as a translation of Hubert Juin’s study of Pierre Soulages. I simply liked them. Of course, I kept a copy of Janson’s History of Art and my childhood favorite, William Tell drawn by Warja Honegger Lavater. And I had the good sense to keep the first edition of Kiesler’s Inside the Endless House.

But the rest, I let go.

For 30 years after mother’s death I kept her massive collection of art and design books. A few years after she died I did donate several hundred books to the library of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. They were the ones that mentioned women. Most of the books and gallery announcements she kept did not.

So this past week I called a book dealer and let him look at the collection and make me an offer. Time had created many rare and unusual art books in the collection. Resigned, I took it. I had no fight in me.

It was harder sorting through the books than selling them. I could not look at many books before becoming tearful. They brought back memories of flipping through them as child. I learned art history without ever taking a formal class. I developed a critical eye before I ever reached college.

This month has been one of many losses. I lost a piece of my body, friendships, and causes. Nothing I could control; none I could change.

But with the books, I could say, enough is enough. Someone will appreciate them more. Someone will take them out of their boxes and off the shelves. Someone needs them more. Finally, I had something wanted and valued.

This almost never happens.

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