Friday, January 09, 2009

Where to Find Folk Art on Cape Cod

Sven and I went searching for folk art and came up pretty empty-handed. We found the occasional carved boat but tracking down real folk art turned out to be a challenge. When Cape Cod real estate was less expensive, more artists were able to live here. They painted not only on canvases but used whatever might be handy as a support for their work. I can remember seeing brightly painted doors and murals, even in the seventies, when I started coming to Cape Cod as an adult. We did find one such panel in Truro, above, and other whimsical figures painted on the door of Moby’s Cargo below, here in town. Of course, the most amazing example of folk art in Wellfleet remains the doors of the former Catholic Church, soon to be transformed into Preservation Hall. Some artists would beachcomb in winter and paint planks that washed up on the shore. I started thinking about this subject last week when two decoys by Charles Perdue were evaluated on Antiques Roadshow at over $10,000. Decoys and wooden sea birds can be very beautiful. I have seen nice old ones in antique shops. From the Internet, I learned that Cape Cod does possess a folk art museum in Cotuit. There is even a Web site with information on Cape Cod decoys. Anyone who is interested in picking up a piece of folk art should frequent estate sales. Several are held every Friday/Saturday in fall and spring. Prices are usually quite affordable. Often the estate owners collected these artifacts at a time when folk art was under-appreciated. It is also possible to find local folk art through an auction house. Eldreds’ in Dennis, for example, allows visitors to search its Web site. I typed in “Folk Art” and discovered their next auction will feature a painted, carved wood, wall decoration in heart form. The low estimate is $300, and high, $500. Hey, we have one of those! We picked it up a few years ago at the dump ….