A Tale of Two Sales | Bullseye Glass Co. | Bullseye Glass Co

A Tale of Two Sales

I tend to blog during art fairs, but rarely in the immediate aftermath. That’s because I’m usually too busy catching up on all the work that piles up during time away.

It’s too bad, because some of the better stories come down once the fairs are over.


Take-down at Art Miami: Clark, Ryan, Brent and Remy struggle to remake a packing puzzle….

Like, what happens to all the art that we work so passionately to put before the public, talk about, blog about, share booth space with, and then part with in the bittersweet event of a sale?

Of course there’s no simple answer. The dénouement of sold art is as variable as the work itself. What follows are the abbreviated stories of two works sold at two recent fairs.

Ted’s Towering Inferno

At SOFA Chicago in November, Ted Sawyer’s quadriptych Notes I-IV was available as a set of four or individually. As much as we would have loved the quadruplets to go to a single home, the first clients had the perfect place for two of the four panels, but not room for the entire grouping.


So the twins on the far left and far right went to live with a couple in Northern California.

Note III – third from the left – was acquired by a gentleman from Denver. After the fair the work returned to Portland and was then shipped out to the client via a carrier who routed it through Los Angeles.

The day it was to arrive in Denver, however, it was MIA.

That’s not MIA as in the airport that Jamie, Ryan and I had just flown into for Art Miami. That’s Missing In Action as in “where the hell is it?” – the client was about to leave town and understandably didn’t want his art left sitting on the curb next to his empty home.

Well, sitting on the side of the road turned out to be just where Note III had ended up – in a flaming puddle on the shoulder of Interstate 70, to be precise. Our beloved third puppy had tragically found a berth on a truck moving from LA to Denver. It made the evening news just south of town.


See the full story here.

A Peek into Paradise

Our second story has a happier ending.

You may remember this Richard Whiteley piece from my last blog post. Periscope was blessed first by a visit from Richard’s former grad school prof, Bill Carlson, but it had caught an even more important set of eyes on opening night.


I knew when I met the buyers again on the following Saturday – they came back to our Art Miami booth to seal the deal – that Periscope had found a good home. Context is critical with art and something told me that Periscope had a magic future ahead.

Suspecting that the client would have a home as rich, resonant and gracious as the warmth of her soothingly Southern accent, I suggested that we personally deliver the piece once the show closed.

My suspicions – aka insatiable curiosity – were rewarded beyond my richest domestic fantasies. The buyers’ home, in an older section of Miami Beach, was a breathtaking 1934 architectural concoction whose infinite, eclectic layers of garden, sea, art, history, and owners made the perfect backdrop for Periscope’s quiet elegance – and its inquisitive essence.


…that it was easy to see reflected in the home’s exterior entryway….


…a mysterious series of portals leading past lush gardens (to the left), punctuated with tree orchids, staghorn ferns and the odd bit of patinated statuary…


Passing by the magical details of the home’s interior….


…we eventually landed in a casually comfortable room that looked out onto a Rothko-esque sky/water view that seemed the perfect inversion of the artwork itself.


We left Periscope perched atop a stone table, aimed at the porthole-shaped window on the opposite bayside wall, while behind it, another window tugged at the garden of palms (and encouraged me to step behind it for this multiply-exposed view), mixing interiors, exteriors, and art together in one of the headiest brews of art placement I’ve ever enjoyed in a home.


When art dies and goes to heaven, I’m pretty sure that this is what it feels like.

A footnote to Hell:

Although Note III was lost in the I-70 inferno, it too looks to be embarking on a happy afterlife. Ted is replicating the panel this weekend – which he is able to do because he took voluminous notes on the making of the original (take heed, all you impulsive and note-less kilnworkers!) – and the client will (if satisfied with the born-again baby) finally get his artwork in early January.

8 Responses to A Tale of Two Sales

  1. Wow ! what an incredible journey on many ends.I love Richard’s final resting place for his wonderful Periscope. Such unique architecture for exquisite form in glass.
    The story of Ted’s piece is heart breaking, but if anyone can replicate the piece, Ted can. I wonder what the fire did to the glass in the truck.. A friends studio was in the path of the Kelowna fires in British Columbia a few years back and he said he could have saved some of the melted crates of Bullseye for a major art installation. Thankyou for this blog Lani. I truly enjoy visiting for the most interesting stories of trials and tribulation (and even some good wine and cheese stories once in awhile)

  2. Uhm….was that a patinated warthog in the garden?

  3. Lani says:

    C, I didn’t get close enough to the garden beastie to say. I’m still counting myself lucky that the long-suffering lady of the house was so tolerant of my insatiable nosiness.

  4. Lani, I loved this blog! Your story line (and the adventures of Notes I-IV), the photographs of the artwork, the photos of the beautiful home where ‘Periscope’ was finally placed, and your thoughtful comments! What an interesting read.

  5. Lynn Gay says:

    Great blogging. It was the best of times/worst of times kind of thing. I too wonder what the piece in the crash ended up looking like since transformation by fire is so much of the process but I bet the quick cooling by the firehose made it end up just another pile of broken glass. Sad!

  6. Kate says:

    This puts my van breakdown in the Utah desert after SOFA Santa Fe to shame… a crashed and burning semi? Wow – I’m speechless!

    Thanks for the stories, Lani! Will you be blogging from Scotland?

  7. Bert Weiss says:

    All motor freight insurance is not the same. I hope you get a decent settlement. I’ve found that sometimes a carrier with a better policy only costs a few bucks more.

  8. I forgot to ask if we get to see the NEW piece from Ted. I would truly like to .

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