No, Hubert is not an ex-boyfriend, old lover or current crush although I suppose you could say I am fixated on him. I first became acquainted with Hubert in the 1980s. It all began in the old drive-in movie theater in Orangeburg, New York at a flea market. I was on a quest to find picture frames to frame old family photos to hang above the staircase in my new old house. I purchased a half-dozen vintage frames including one I particularly liked for a dollar that framed a tacky mirrored beer sign. The frames sat propped up on the floor of my garage for a few years because I changed my mind and decided that the family photos would be more aesthetically pleasing in uniform modern frames. So there they sat until that fateful spring day, when, backing my car out in a rush, I knocked over the beer sign and the mirror shattered into tiny little pieces. Cursing, I swept the glass into the trash and noticed that behind the mirror was a beautiful, detailed, signed, 8X10 colored etching of a scene in Paris in front of Notre Dame. It was love at first sight.
It is truly an amazing find. I’ve visited many museums, I’ve viewed many paintings, photos, prints, etchings, but nothing has ever quite affected me the way this one did. No matter how often I look at it I find myself swept away by the image, imagining myself a part of the enchanting scene, wishing to zap myself into the carefree lady in the yellow dress strolling the Seine untroubled by corporate politics, rising tuition, global warming …but I digress. I’m not a fine artist, and can barely tell the difference between a print and an etching. Although I can distinguish a Monet from a Manet that’s pretty much the extent of my expertise. I do know after examining my lovely picture that all of those lovely miniscule details had to have been executed by a pretty damn good artist. An artist whose signature I could barely decipher – was it Huberly? Huberty? Hubey? or Hubert with a flourish?
Believing I stumbled upon a real treasure (something akin to the copy of the Declaration of Independence also bought at a flea market and sold for a fortune) I set out to uncover the identity of – I’ll call him Hubert – who I believed to be my ticket to financial security. But these were the days before Google so my attempts to track down Hubert were limited. I called Sothebys but my phone call was never returned. I tried the library with no luck. An inquiry at the Museum of Modern Art yielded no results. So I framed Hubert and hung it in my bedroom where I would gaze admiringly at it for the next 20 years until my curiousity was re-awakened again in 2005. But more about that next time….