Friday, August 04, 2006

Brokeback Dresser

I purchased art nouveau dresser in 1972, a beautiful piece with a sunburst of wood grain across the drawers and the lanquid curls of a Mucha poster in the ornate carvings. It is big and heavy, and the drawers are too deep for easy storage, but I love looking at it.

I have newer, glossier furniture now, with handy lingerie drawers that roll out with the finesse of a maitre d' presenting the flambe dessert. It has the sleek lines of art deco in white lacquer veneer with a waterfall curve, like set pieces from a Thin Man film. I lilke looking it at it, too, but it doesn't have the history of the art nouveau dresser. I and that dresser have traveled from Baltimore to upstate New York, down to Georgia, and landed in Florida. It's been quite a ride.

An antiques dealer offered me $500 for the art nouveau dresser a few years after I bought it, which would have been a 2000 percent profit. Sometimes I wonder if I should have taken the money and run.

Last night I dreamt that I was moving the old dresser yet again. The company used the dresser as part of an advertisement it was filming. But somehow, the old dresser got broken down into splinters when something went wrong.

The company denied culpability, but I found a nice large piece of the dresser on a pile of broken wood. I decided to take it home and display the wonderful starburst wood grain and the carved furbellows as art. I also asked the company to reimburse me for my loss, which it refused to do. It claimed that I had relinquished the right to a claim when I signed the moving papers.

Then, a video was produced showing that they had used my art noveau dresser in the advertisement without my authorization. So they paid me the $500. But my mother noted when I took the check that I sure had liked looking at that old dresser.

It's a fine old piece of wood-working, even if does have a candle-wax scar on the top and few dings and nicks in the veneer. We've been around, that dresser and I, and I expect it has aged better than I have. I still like looking at it after all this time.

I also think I'd like to pass it on to someone who loves art nouveau and would look after it, because maybe it's time to let it go.

No comments: