Good Will Hunting

I have been going to thrift stores, flea markets and antique stores for as long as I remember. I started seriously collecting right out of college- depression glass and majolica pottery. I still love the thrill of the hunt especially if it’s a deal.

This week we went on the Goodwill trail touring through Portland in search of treasures and we found some. The framed vintage German maps from 1912 were $8 each. I touched up the frames but I really like the modern black sleek lines against the old soft colors of the maps.

I am always looking for old frames and canvasses to use on my own work. I found a nice sized frame and turned it around to find a vintage oil painting of the Columbia River gorge. I recognized the view from hiking there all the time. I looked more closely and discovered an old art tag on the art board from a St. Louis, Missouri company. Sadly no signature or other marks but it was old and local- I had to have it for $7.99.

I did some research on the art board sticker and found out the company started in 1865 and changed its name in 1919, so the board had to be from before 1919. I thought the point of view from the painting pointed east from the Washington side of the river. The main attraction at that point of the river is Beacon Rock. Originally called Castle Rock by Lewis and Clark, the rock was purchased in 1914 by Henry Biddle, a famous explorer from Vancouver, who decided to save the rock and build a hiking path to the top. This path was completed in 1918.

Given the age of the art board and the excitement over the Beacon Rock path being built around the same time, I’m guessing this painting was done around 1918/1919. To me this was the ultimate treasure- a history lesson about a place I know and love and a mysterious piece of art someone lovingly painted years ago. Here’s to happy treasure hunting.






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