When an artist leaves behind a lifetime of work…

When we have a rare chance to look at  an entire lifetime of an artist’s work, warts and all, we have context for the awkward undeveloped early work. We see the struggle or the curious artist trying something new. What a beautiful perspective and a privilege to see. When else do we get to draw back the curtain and see process without the editing of the artist? So often artists lack the confidence to move forward and so they don’t. But looking at successes within the context of all the failures is transformative.

Self confidence comes from surviving a risk – Jack Canfield

When an artist dies and and their entire body of work must be dealt with, the trustee has a unique look into what it takes to make an artist. Countless mishaps, awkward drawings, ramblings of self doubt, works that may or may not have been the artist’s best stuff are all there to be judged. 

What happens to a non-famous artist’s work after the family has taken what they want?

Sometimes we get a call asking what the family might do with an artist’s body of work after death;  hundreds if not thousands of paintings and drawings over a lifetime. Is this worth something? How can I sell it? It all depends. It’s usually not easy. Finding someone to sell it over time simply so that it lives on in the world is worth looking into.

The value of any body of work is sometimes only appreciated in context. Take for example a friend, Christy Mack. Christy loves art. She shares her passion with friends and genuinely gets excited about all things art and design. She has the education and experience to back it up but even more than that, her keen interest keeps her curious. She recently came across a collection of art from *George Bishop Holmes 1945 – 2015


George Bishop left the majority of his work to a recycling center. Christy saw it stacked there one day and inquired. Next thing you know it’s in her house and she is selling it to friends, hanging it in her home and finding the value in an otherwise dismissed body of work. She wasn’t even sure she wanted to live with it at the time, weeks later she finds she can’t part with some if it.

“I think what I love about living with this collection is that I have time with all different types of art – portraits, nudes, abstracts, landscapes, still life – things like portraits or landscapes aren’t things I ever gravitated to before and now I’m in love with them. They are now integrated into the more modern and abstract art that’s on the walls of our home. “

She is beginning to understand the art on a new level. This understanding has grown into a fond relationship. No longer is the art judged by “I can’t picture it in my house.” but instead the admiration goes beyond words. She can’t quite explain it and she is becoming attached to the art.

Art transforms. It changes our environment and it has the power to change lives.


March exhibit  in the gallery features Kurt Oskar Weber. Weber died in 2011. In collaboration with Katherine Cook, Weber’s work will be featured in the gallery along with bios and Studio photos to give you some context for what his life was like as an artist. . See more here

  • George Bishop was a fine arts instructor and taught Drawing, Art Appreciation, Watercolor Painting, Impressionist Painting, and Modernist Design. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his Master’s degree from Golden Gate University.
  • Find more inspiration following Christy Mack @cmackforart on Twitter, Insta, FB