Going back to buy the Arrigo Ghedini painting

I have an additional chapter to add to a story that began about a year ago, but first the backstory: during the summer of 2020, I went to the beach at Asbury Park (NJ), and after enjoying some sun, sand, and the ocean, I made my way over to a favorite store on Cookman Avenue, The Antique Emporium of Asbury Park. I took some photos of things that intrigued me, but didn’t buy anything, and I didn’t really do anything with the photos until a few months later.

While revisiting these photos in December of 2020, I found myself focusing on one painting that I had seen and really liked, and wrote a blog post about wanting to learn more about the artist, Arrigo Ghedini. This blog post prompted a reader to reach out, who told his own story of meeting Arrigo Ghedini at an art show on the Virginia Beach boardwalk in 1968, and he sent pictures of works by Ghedini in his collection.

That post, in turn, caught the attention of Ghedini’s children and grandchildren, who wrote in and shared some of their own memories about the artist. It made for a good story, and was satisfying to bring some light to a very talented and interesting mid-20th Century artist.

So here’s my “additional chapter:” I was heading down to Asbury Park just recently to enjoy the beach, and it suddenly dawned on me while I was driving south on the Garden State Parkway: I wondered if the Arrigo Ghedini painting was still hanging (and available) at The Antique Emporium? Nearly a year had passed since I first saw it (and passed on buying it), what were the chances that it would still be there? After all of the interesting twists that came out of my initial blog post, wouldn’t it make for a good follow-up to find the painting and buy it? As I continued driving on the Parkway, suddenly my mission of getting to the beach was supplanted with the mission of finding and buying that painting!

The Antique Emporium of Asbury Park is a huge, 20,000 square foot space with numerous booths filled with curiosities, and their sign outside boasts of “1/2 million items,” but I remembered exactly where I had seen the Ghedini painting hanging in 2020, and went right there. I was in luck! The painting was there, and at this point, the decision to buy it was quite easy.

When I got the painting home, I wasn’t sure to hang it, so I initially just leaned it up on my counter so that I could enjoy looking at it any time I was in my living room. But over the next few days, I observed something interesting …

Don Quixote painting by Arrigo Ghedini
“Don Quijote,” by Arrigo Ghedini, date unknown, now part of the Artsology Art Collection!

What I noticed was that this painting seemed to change, based on the time of day and the amount (or quality) of light shining on it. The abstracted background behind the two figures, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, looked different depending on the light. In good light, the abstracted shapes seem like an atmospheric cloud, with darkness surrounding a muted attempt by the sun to shine through (top center-left). But in lower light, the darker “cloud” forms along the bottom take on a more-solid, ground-like appearance, which makes sense, since the figures and their horses would obviously be moving across solid ground. So this prompts the question, did Arrigo Ghedini make this painting in low light, and therefore the bottom part seemed more like solid ground as he painted it? Or did he paint it in normal or bright light, and wanted the dreamlike quality of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza moving through an abstract space?

I suppose I’ll never know the answer to that, but it enhances my appreciation for this painting in that it seems to change in appearance based on when and how I’m looking at it … that seems kind of magical to me.

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