George L. Noyes
Most of the stories presented in this book illustrate that with patience, perseverance, and luck, one can collect art at reasonable, even occasionally low, prices. I must really like George L. Noyes, because on two separate occasions I think I paid record prices for that time. Noyes’ best work was produced during his time in Annisquam, Cape Ann, and captures both the traditional harbor views as well as the inlets winding their way throughout Annisquam, all in wonderful, pure color and strong Impressionist brushwork. My first surrender to Noyes was at Vose Gallery in 1982 when I saw the quintessential Yellow Shed image with Rocky Neck as a backdrop. It had all the qualities of the Duveneck and Hassam images from the same vantage point of Banner Hill. I loved it and paid the respectable sum of $5,500. Around 1985, a catalogue from Ken Lux Gallery had a great (I would say the best) Noyes on the cover, and I was floored. It sold quickly, as I recall, but I obsessed over that picture for years. One day in 1991, I was in my office and this painting somehow entered my consciousness, and while thinking about it—and this is the truth—my phone rang. It was Ken Lux. He told me he had just purchased a really wonderful painting, and before he could tell me what it was, I said it’s the Noyes from his cover. The result of my decision to buy it cost me one marvelous Dines Carlsen still life and six months of payments, which eventually totaled more than $40,000, again I think a record for that time. My third Noyes was acquired in 1993 and is an unsigned piece that I bought from a journeyman dealer who has a troublesome reputation for not paying his bills (it may come as a surprise that there are people like this in the heady realms of the art world). In this instance he did not know who the artist was or what he had, so he was content to sell it for $1,400. Learning who the artist was a short time later probably explains why he still owes me money.