m  a  r  k    e  r  i  c  k  s  o  n    p  a  i  n  t  i  n  g  s

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The story of how I acquired this painting by my grandmother Blanche is quite unique. It came out of the blue. I will add here Richard Gornail's account of how he came to be in possession of the painting, I now call, "Room 35 - Vase with Flowers."

Rich was kind enough recently to send me the story so I could add here: "I was the manager of a hotel called the Driftwood in Hollywood, Florida along the Atlantic Ocean. The Driftwood was originally two separate apartment buildings and the second floor of one was owned by a well-known Canadian singer by the name of Michel Louvain. That apartment was later referred to as Room 35 for the Driftwood. It was in Louvain's apartment where your grandmother's painting hung for decades. The Driftwood was owned by Dr. Emille Dupont of the DuPont family from Webster, Massachusetts. Dupont and or Louvain originally acquired your grandmother's painting in New York City in the 1940s and subsequently the painting was hung in Room 35.

When the property was sold, I was asked to have the Driftwood emptied for demolition. I hired a company to remove everything from all rooms. A few days later I did a walk through to verify everything was taken. The only item I came across was one painting hanging on the wall. I took it down and placed it in the trunk of my car. The irony is that all the other artwork was typical hotel prints and generic posters. None of which were original paintings or drawings, except this one lone oil painting.

A week later upon returning home I remembered the painting was now in a hall closet. I began a web search trying to match the signature on the painting, Blanche Hesslein. I came across a blog which mentioned the painter's name. It stated that your grandmother was Blanche Hesslein. I then went to your website and saw a group of paintings there and verified the signatures matched. It was then that I called you and left a message."

I returned Rich's call and we chatted for awhile. To my surprise at one point he offered to give me the painting. I was stunned and of course accepted. Rich shipped the painting out to me in California. It hit me not long after, besides the pieces at the family house and my painting studio of my grandmother's painting, I had never seen another of all the works she had sold in the 1930s through 1960s. I had often wondered where they all might be. Room 35 returned to the family after nearly seventy years. Truly the painting became a story I would never forget, an amazing experience. I was born in Hollywood, California and here a painting I now look at often was once hanging on the wall of the Driftwood Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. Meant to be maybe.

A month later after receiving "Room 35 - Vase with Flowers" I shipped Rich a painting of mine in thanks for his kind gesture.

Blanche Rose (Nathan) Hesslein
Room 35 - Vase with Flowers 1938
oil on canvas

Mark Erickson 2017 All rights reserved.

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