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I have a theory about this collection of eight miniature oils created by Willard Page sometime around 1935 to 1945, I believe. Every single day for a couple weeks I’ve been looking at them – looking at how nicely done they are and how they pretty much give us a fairly comprehensive insight into the body of work of Willard Page and his dearly loved wife, Ethel.

Willard and Ethyl were educators and vagabonds and artists and hippies way before t were hippies. (That's just me talking.) Willard’s paintings supported them as they traveled the Great Southwest in a makeshift camper. And this wasn’t just one trip. They were “on the road” for many years. Their story is fascinating, sad, adventurous and thought-provoking.

That’s the collection. We’ll look closely at each, of course, but I wanted you to notice they’re all the same size, 4” by 4”, including the identical gold frames.

Each is signed on the front, of course, but t’s more. His “stamp” with the address of his first studio in Boulder, Colorado also appears. (We’ll talk about the red stickers from Tucson in a jiffy.

I think these first two represent the beginning of a journey. The one on the left is titled “Bear Lake,” which is somew around 25 miles north and west of Boulder. The one on the right is titled “Aspens.” I think these two were likely part of their “inventory” when they hit the road.

The Page’s weren’t novice travelers. Soon after they moved from Kansas to Colorado, he and Ethel joined the Chautauqua circuit. Think of it as educational Vaudeville. Ethel did dramatic readings and such, while Willard gave talks on various subjects as he made chalk drawings on a big board. Back then, they were known as “Chalk Talks.” They traveled all over the Midwest on the circuit. Teddy Roosevelt call it “the most American thing in America.”

Anyhow . . . Ethel was stricken with severe arthritis, and their lives changed as her condition worsened.

at 341, I have two "Prime Directives:"
First: I never, under any circumstances, use a reserve, and everything starts at $9, sometimes even less. And , I never end auctions early or use BIN.
Second: I don't clean, repair, or otherwise monkey around with anything. I push enough dust aside to note any flaws, but if I discovered it in some dusty attic, you can look forward to a little dust on it when it gets to your house. If it has a flaw or a wart, I'll tell you about it.
So rest easy and have some fun. Why not place a little tiny bid right now so's you don't forget about it later.

Those were close-ups of “Bear Lake” and “Aspens.” I wanted you to see not only the quality, color and creativity of the work – but also the condition. All eight are absolutely excellent.

Willard wrote the title in pencil on each. This one has his studio stamp exposed as well.

The red “University Gift Shop” sticker from Tucson may or may not cover Page’s studio stamp, but it’s all part of my theory.

It’s hard not to have favorites, but I do. I love both the “Grand Canyon” (left) and the Adobe Hut” (right). The landscapes are terrific, but I think they also represent the first leg of a nearly 2000 mile journey – one they’d either made before or possibly their first big adventure since Ethel’s disability. They took off from Boulder and headed for the Grand Canyon. Sometime en route or just after seeing this marvel, they must have stumbled upon the hut. And ’s something important: Selling these miniature paintings for seventy-five cents each is how they survived while on the road. Would you have had the cajones for that?! It takes a very special mindset, as well as a shared confidence in one another.


Is it the hut of a Native American weaver who has ...

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