Provenance or “Proof”



I wish my father had not
hand written upon this.

Dad felt it would “mean
more” to me, saying
this was given from
the grand nephew,
(Robert Earl Oldrieve),
Alexander Calder
to Robin Oldrieve Crain.

This movie poster-
sized print was
placed in my
first home
in 1981.

Five years after
the artist and
family member
passed away.

Upon this yellowed paper
is the description:

“Here, Calder has created an original
lithograph true to his concept that
simple spheres and elementary
shapes express the universality
of form, using color,
shape and balance.”

~ “The Guild hereby certifies that
this is an original signed in the
stone by the artist.”

It was framed by
A.P.F., Inc.
601 W. 26th Street

Are there some special
family pieces you wish
to share in the comments?

Did your ancestors carry in
crates, trunks or boxes,
across distance and
through time?


51 responses »

    • Oh wow, Derrick! I love this wonderful connection with Julie Andrews. I bet your great aunt had lovely stories to share. I wish you could trace those signed records down. Just to have pictures to share with your daughter and others. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  1. wow, this is so cool, robin. i understand his thinking and wanting to make it personal, though it changed it forever. i don’t know of any valuables but lots of interesting pictures came with my family from way back.

    • I think that the interesting family pictures are important and memorable, whether from famous roots or not. Having family memorabilia is wonderful, Beth. ๐Ÿ™‚
      I feel bad for people whose history (papers and photography) is wiped out with water damage or fires. . .

  2. There are a few old photos that remain of my paternal great grandfather, ‘Doc’ Tansey Myers. He came to Washington from Abilene, TX, and up the Pacific Coast by train around 1890, shortly after Washington was admitted to the Union.

    He sent his wife and young daughter (my Great Aunt Emma) by ship around The Horn (20 years before the Panama Canal was opened) with all their worldly possessions. He met them in Pt. Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula with a horse-drawn wagon, and then took them on the 200 mile journey over the Cascade Mountains to settle in Yakima. My best estimate is that trip took nearly two weeks.

    He kept the wagon and horses and supported his family in the steerage business — basically, trucking. My grandmother was born in Yakima in 1898, and that’s where my family’s roots are. I am the one who broke the link and moved on. I don’t have much else other than a few photos to show for my heritage. – Mike

    • Mike, you have this incredible story and a few photos to remember the story. You also had your grandmother who hopefully you got hugged and held by. Was she alive when you were a tiny baby? Her birthday is so long ago. . . Thank you for sharing this with us. You may wish to write about it on your blog and ask your readers and friends to share theirs.

      • I could write a great deal about my grandmother. She was the most important woman in my life growing up. She passed away just weeks after my first daughter was born. My last photo of her was holding my baby girl.

    • Mike, how sad you lost her around the same time as you had your daughter. I hope you will write her stories down, if you haven’t already, for your daughters and grandsons to read and know. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You may have seen some of his lithographs but more likely his grand sculptures, Brenda. Yes, I have seen Calder sculptures in Spain, Washington D.C. and New York. I am proud of the art in my heritage and glad my brother carries out huge art pieces in his following tradition. Thank you for asking!

      • The de Cordova sculpture garden sounds lovely, Brenda. The Columbus School for the Blind has a sculpture garden based on an impressionist. It has a lady with a parasol but I forget the painter who is their inspiration.
        The Calder sculpture, red petals like a fountain, was in Barcelona when my Spanish Club went (Spring, ’74) but I have heard it has been moved to protect it.

    • Monika Sosnowska, I may have her name a bit off, created a really cool sculpture called “Tower,” a 2014 acquisition for the DeCordova Sculpture Garden, Brenda. I like the way this is a great place for children to see art in a relaxed setting. Thank you for naming this place, pointing it out to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes, it is my own part of my relative’s legacy, Marissa. His sculptures are much more exciting and impressive, (in front of several museums of art.) He is so distant that only my Grandma Oldrieve really knew him. Her grandmother’s brother, I believe. Those family trees look complicated! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • It’s really a very different looking piece. Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it…and really a good fit for a child’s room. You’re lucky to have it in the family!

    • Marissa, the comment you may get was intended for Mike. I must have moved down to your nice comment and it “followed me!” I appreciate you were saying the print was “different looking” and it fit in my son’s room. It was nice of you to feel it is lucky to have it in our family. Take care and enjoy your new year’s eve, Marissa! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Luanne. It hung in my son’s room since he was born in 1981. A perfect place for years, he liked to tell me his words, “ball” then “balloon” and later how they were “aliens.”
      Hope you have a happy new year, dear friend! Tomorrow, (I may have mentioned) I have a list of fellow bloggers and books they have written. Of course, your book is included! โ™ก It seemed like a great idea to suggest people stock pile books for reading on the new year. Especially those who are cocoon in in cold weather. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Oh, that is so sweet of you, Robin. Thank you so much for including Doll God. Your son is funny to think of them as aliens, but who is to say that his interpretation is wrong?! BTW, it’s even been cold here in Phoenix and we’ve been covering our flowers every night with warm blankets! Happy New Year, Robin xoxo!!!

      • Oh no! Say it isn’t so, Luanne! It hasn’t been that cold here considering New England and Michigan got snow sprinkles. We have had two frosts and only one windshield “scraping” in the early morning.
        Thanks for reply about the print. I agree, “Art is in the eye of the beholder. ” I won’t laugh at my son’s idea of the print.
        Happy New Year to you and yours, too! xoxo
        I hope your book builds momentum as it is really much more interesting poetry than most out there, past or present. Seriously, Luanne. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Maniparna, I think you are cool to choose to ask your father or grandfather fir information about family and your family tree. I appreciate how you see my Dad was trying to make this gift more personal. You have a great outlook and perspective, dear. Thank you very much! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Natalie, you are here and I am so glad I found your comment. It is after midnight, just tying up loose ends. Hugs to you, my dear friend. โ™กโ™ก I looked back and remembered we had followed each other awhile ago. Our timing “now” must mean we have somehow spiritually connected at a closer level. I am also very glad to have you around. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Having this provenance makes this even more meaningful Robin. You must treasure it.
    My father was an antiques dealer so growing up we had many objets passing through the house. He collected silver spoons for himself, some of which I now have. I wouldn’t part with them for the world.

    • Thank you, Jenny. I appreciate your coming by to see this. I listed your name as someone who encouraged me to post the photograph of the lithograph. I respect your advice and story about your father’s work as an antiques dealer. I bet this helps you to appreciate all kinds of interesting historical items. Thank you for saying this about the paper being meaningful. I am sure your father’s collected silver spoons have unique looks and stories attached to them. You did get to see the print and your blog listed on it, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. So wonderful that you have the keepsakes that bring history so close to home. My European relatives brought trunks and trunks to the States. It’s fun to go through them with my mother and hear the stories ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Diana, it is wonderful to have these historical pieces of your family. I am sure those treasures and stories are precious, indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing this, I enjoy contributions and comments. They add to the post!

  5. Robin, that is such a wonderful heirloom that you have, and I am sure that your dad meant well when he made that notation. I like your last lines and the image of ancestors carrying trunks, crates and boxes with family memorabilia. I don’t have anything like that, but I do have lots of family photos, a few letters and copies of cards from my uncle and father from WWII. In the world of celebrity, I have a signed Larry McMurty book and a signed bio book from Alice Cooper. What a precious piece, I am glad you have that to keep ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lana, I am excited since I like and respect Larry McMurtry. One of my favorite western books was also the tv miniseries and tv show, “Lonesome Dove.” I also liked the 70’s songs Alice Cooper sang.the “Only Women Bleed” seems like a sensitive song. “Welcome to My Nightmare” is still one of my grandkids’ favorite Halloween songs they listen to, along with Michael Jackson’s, “Thriller.”
      As time passes, you will have other memorabilia from your publishing books, meeting readers (fans) and meeting authors.
      I like the sound of your old photographs since they Carrie the stories of your family and ancestors. I remember the sad story of your uncle who had such a tragic death. The WWII stories are ones worth retelling for family and also, to demonstrate war and history.
      Hope you are having a Happy New Year and best wishes in 2016.

      • Thanks Robin. I can’t remember if I told you that I live about 30 miles from Mr. McMurtry. I bought his signed book from a silent auction, nobody else bid on it, can you believe? I kept hoping nobody would since I had limited funds, I was lucky! I am grateful I have the family photos. I post a lot about my family history, my grandkids will probably throw up their hands and say enough one day, ha ha. No, hopefully they will learn from it. I hope you have a wonderful New Year also ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I remember the uncle and your father story but probably remember one grandmother story. I will come visit soon to read some of your family stories. How exciting to live close to a really good author who I feel portrays both history and the humanity of the west! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for getting me to smile! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. How lovely that you have such an item, Robin. With the handwriting from your father, it’s doubly precious. I have items from my mum and her mum (she was born in 1888) but the best things I have are handwritten words from my mum. I especially love coming across books she bought my kids and finding her personal message to them inside the cover. I tend to forget they are still around until they pop up again. It’s like she’s reminding me to not forget her. As if. ๐Ÿ™‚ I came across a recipe for clootie dumpling inside one of my old purses a while back and knew my mum’s writing straight off. Same with my dad’s books which I have. He was always scribbling something in them. Now that they’re gone, their handwriting defines them for me more than the items they left although I still treasure those.
    There are some amazing stories here in the comments, histories that go way back. I began a family tree with my mum years ago and she was a great help in compiling it. Some memory for names and faces and with anecdotes to match. It’s worth pursuing for interest value alone but especially for passing on the information to kids if they’re inclined to listen. Mine aren’t all that keen as of yet but it’s there for them when they want to know. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi there, S.Mum. I am so glad you enjoyed this post with as you mentioned a few extra special comments. I like how you feel your parents handwritten messages are very valuable and special. I will keep this in mind, dear friend. I have post cards in a bundle from my Grandpa. I have a few cards and letters from my Dad. Lots from my Mom. I wrote my Great grandparents love story on a blog, my grandparents love story and also my parents. I figured at the time, they went along with my byline, “Relationships reveal our hearts.” โ™ก ๐Ÿ™‚
      I am sorry both your parents are gone now. I have an 87 year old Mom whose marbles are loose but she can be great in the past and telling me stories. As the oldest I have my Dad’s tree all done but my Mom’s isn’t quite as detailed. Both her parents were immigrants who embraced being Americans so they have few family members written down from Sweden (grandpa) or Germany (grandma.) Thank you for such a nice set of recent comments!

      • You’re welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think our own histories are every bit as fascinating as those we read in the books. We just need to put them into context and wonder. Like watching those programmes, ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ I don’t know if you have them there.
        They take famous people and trace their roots. So many of them bring you to tears as the histories unfold and the trials and tribulations of earlier generations come to light. It makes the people from the past so real.
        My dad died at 58, six months after I got married and my mum six years ago, aged 80. My mum was still all there and more. Sharp as a tack and we could blether for hours. I’m glad I have those memories and that you still have your mum. Worth their weight. I’d start writing down those stories of hers. And I should probably do the same while I can still remember them.
        Thanks for the reminiscences. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi, sister. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really appreciate your warm comments. I think what touched me most was your telling about your not expecting your mother going to Heaven so soon. I happen to have two “best” friends who lost their mothers while their mums were in their 40’s. One lives in Lancaster and we meet halfway every six months. We met in 1980 and still going strong as friends. The other woman still lives in Delaware, Jenny, who I met in 1992. We are close and we talk about her loss of a mom since she lost hers far too early. โ™ก Thank you for chatting and I sm glad to get to know you. ๐Ÿ™‚

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