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 More On The House, and Meet Mr. Rabbit


So last time I left off with Martha and me watching the estate sale at my parents house back in 2015. You’ll recall that we contracted with the remarkable Connie Fulwyler to handle the sale, and she did it brilliantly.

We watched for a while while my parents’ possessions moved briskly out the door. The toys, the nicknacks, the odds and ends, those went fairly quickly. As I said, the computers were another story and I ended up mostly giving them away (I happened to know a young gentleman who was a garage-shop entrepreneur. He was able to salvage a lot of them, and what he couldn’t, he could sell for scrap.)  The art was hit or miss. I was amazed at what did and didn’t sell. There was, for instance, a large stone bust that my parents had gotten because it looked vaguely like my mother. It was of uncertain provenance--meaning, we had no idea who the artist was--and I figured sure it would be coming with us back to our own house. But, surprise! A family came by and fell in love with the thing. I saw it being carried away in the protective arms of a tall man and his teenage son.

A few of the smaller paintings did sell. But almost none of the big ones did. They ended up in our house in New Mexico, then we shipped them to Texas when we moved. Most of them are gone now. We sold some, gave away a couple, donated some to a local charity which holds regular auctions to benefit those in need (as I think I said before, my parents would have been pleased by that), and the others are on our walls here in Georgetown.

One thing I learned at the sale was that my parents’ had a taste for the work of the late Bill Rabbit (1946-2012).(1) They had two works of his, both rather impressive.

About the photos: To begin, some pictures from my parents’ collection--specifically, two of the great Bill Rabbit’s pieces. I believe these are “Cave of the White Shaman” and “When Shadows Fall. “

Second, and for something completely different ...a local graffiti artist who signs him/herself Jeb did this adorable duck on a local underpass. I managed to get a picture of it with Martha...before (alas) it was sandblasted to oblivion. Sigh.

Rabbit is an interesting figure. He was a Native American artist (specifically, he was of the Cherokee Nation) and while he was born in Wyoming, he lived for much of his life in Oklahoma. Originally, I gather, he painted in a quite traditional style, but then moved away from that to something more abstract. His Wikipedia entry notes that he was one of a group of American Indian artists who, at about the same time, all moved to more abstract and “ethereal” styles, even though this resulted in works that might be less salable to the general public. (2)

My parents must have appreciated his “ethereal works” because they had a couple of them. Personally, I found them quite beautiful...but, as per norm, they didn’t sell, and we ended up taking them home, and then to Texas.

The paintings had some interesting adventures after that. Here in Georgetown, we simply didn’t have room for them. I tried to sell them myself, but that didn’t go anywhere either. Finally, I was able to place both with Judith Estrada Garcia, an artist who was also a gallery owner here in Texas.

For a moment, it looked like we had one of them sold. Judith was contacted by a collector who had seen photos of the piece on her website. He offered $2000, which was a little low, but not a bad price for us. So, we accepted, the collector overnighted a check, and all should have been well.

Except it wasn’t. The check arrived and it was for $3000, not the $2K that was originally. Judith’s scam-antenna went up and she (thank heavens) took a hard look at it. The thing was, of course, fake. The whole “purchase” was a scam. The check was no good. The buyer didn’t exist. If we had, as originally agreed, shipped him the painting, it would have vanished forever. Although, I’m not sure he really even wanted the painting (though I’m sure he would have taken it, and resold it if he could). I think he had designs on Judith’s bank account, and perhaps our own.

We learned, later, that is a fairly common confidence trick. You--the con artist-- answer an ad and arrange a purchase. But, then you send more money that was asked. The seller is surprised and asks, “Oh, what happened?” You answer, “Oh, sorry. My secretary made a mistake. Tell you what. You take the original purchase price amount, and keep an extra $200 for your troubles, and then send me a cashier’s check for the remainder.” The seller happily mails you a check for, say, $800, and then goes to deposit “your check” into her account.

Only, of course, it bounces. And by the time she’s figured out what’s happened, you have cashed her $800 check, and moved on. She’ll never find you.(3) least we didn’t fall for it. And there is some good news. Judith has decided she likes the paintings, and may end up adding them to her own collection. We’ll see.

But still...I must confess, the whole incident left me with the proverbial bad taste in my mouth. It’s bad enough for some to try to cheat you, but to have someone look at the genuinely great beauty of something like Bill Rabbit’s works, and see only a way to cheat their way to an easy $800...well, doesn’t say good things about humanity in general. the Estate Sale went on. We spoke to Connie again, and then made our way back to our own home.

When it was all done and said, a surprisingly large amount of my parents’ stuff sold--again, testimony to their taste and to Connie’s skill as a merchant. A few days after the sale, she presented us with a check for the proceeds of the sale, minus (of course) her commission. We were all pleased by what had happened and afterwards I could move forward with the sale of my parents’ house itself--something which took a bit longer, but in the end, was also successful.

So, all done...

But, it wasn’t the end of our business, or our friendship, with Connie.

And I’ll go into that shortly.

More to come.


1. See his Wikipedia entry:

2. Bill Rabbit’s daughter, Traci, is an accomplished artist herself, and, for a while, was his collaborator. She also now manages his estate as well as the sales of her own work. You should definitely check out her webpage here:

3. I ended up doing a little video on this whole distasteful affair. In the video, I go into a bit more detail than I do here. To see it, go here:

Copyright©2024 Michael Jay Tucker


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