Last summer, on a trip to Asbury Park, I stopped in at one of my favorite antique stores, The Antique Emporium of Asbury Park, to take a look around. I noticed this little painting, and it caught my attention because the two silhouetted figures reminded me of some famous artworks … the first one to come to mind was Salvador Dali, who did a number of drawings and/or etchings related to the subject of Don Quixote. The second one to come to mind is a drawing of Don Quixote by Pablo Picasso, which in this case, has more of a reference point since Picasso’s drawing also includes the 2nd figure on the donkey. But this was not meant to be one of those amazing stories where one happens upon an overlooked masterpiece for $100 that is worth $1M in an antiques shop … as there was a label on the bottom of the frame which reads “Don Quijote by Arrigo Ghedini.” Scroll down for more –
So, who is Arrigo Ghedini? An online search for his name leads to a few reproductions and references to minor auction results, but biographical information was a little harder to find. Most sites refer to him as an “Italian, Mid-Century” artist, and I do see one listing that states that he lived from 1905-1997. More digging reveals that he was born in Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, and eventually moved to New York City and at some point settled in Astoria, Queens. But one of the more-interesting details – and relevant to this post – is that he was referred to by another artist as “the master” and “a protégé of Salvador Dali.” I can’t find anything more-specific on the relationship between Ghedini and Dali, but that’s helpful explanation for what we’re looking at here.
One little footnote here – “Don Quixote” refers to the 1605 Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes, which is considered by literary historians to be one of the most important books ever written, and it is often noted as the first modern novel. The character of Quixote inspired the word quixotic, which is used to mean the impractical pursuit of idealistic goals. However, as we noted above, Ghedini’s painting is titled “Don Quijote.” The odd thing here is that I just assumed that might be an Italian spelling for Quixote, but am not seeing anything that backs that up … and in fact, “Don Quijote” is the name of a chain of Japanese discount retail stores! Go figure!