Dominic Currie, 58, expected to find a few old memories going through his late mother’s things. Instead, he found his parents’ love story, and a treasure that could literally set him stead for the rest of his days.
Currie’s mother, Anna, passed away in 2000. It took him a while to heal from the hurt of her passing, so he stashed them in his attic in hims home in Fife, Scotland. It was only until recently that he decided it was time to go through her things, when he and his son found a piece of rolled-up canvas wrapped in newspaper tucked into an old suitcase. The rolled-up canvas was dated 1953. Having been rolled up for decades, they had to tease the canvas open with paintsaking care. When it had at last lain flat, Dominic couldn’t believe his eyes.
“This is just too bizarre to take in,” he shares. “How do you cope with something like this – it’s like getting six numbers in the lottery. Should we get it framed and stick it up over the mantelpiece?”
The canvas turned out to be what could a painting from the most iconic cubist of all time, Pablo Picasso. Currie, an artist-in-residence at Kirkcaldy’s Sailor’s Walk Gallery, recognized Picasso’s cubist shapes, as well as his unmistakeable signature on the lower-right corner of the piece.
“If my painting is genuine, my father obviously wanted to look after me and my mother as well. For that I’d love to shake his hand, I’d love to meet him.”
Dominic believes the art piece was a gift from his biological father, Nicolai Vladimirovich, a Russian soldier in the ’50s to his mother when they began their romance in 1955.
“It’s a wonderful gift. It’s like a message from both of them to me. That’s how it feels. It’s like: ‘Here son, we’re going to look after you. It’s taken a wee while but we’ve got there’.”
Dominic recalls the story his mother had shared with him. In the summer of 1955, Nicolas and Anna met during a trip to Poland. she became pregnant, and after Dominic was born, she and her beau would write each other constantly, sometimes reuniting whenever she visited the Soviet Union. Nicolai gave her the painting, knowing the hardships she could face being a single parent. Their romance faded in the early ’60s when Anna met another man.
Dominic’s young life was no less dramatic: he was raised by his grandparents and believed his mother to be his sister, until the truth finally outed in the ’80s. They grew close as mother and son, and Anna told him about the painting; he merely shrugged it off as a fantasy.
“I wouldn’t have thought that my mum was knowledgeable about art,” he recalls. “She never discussed art, as far as I know. The name Picasso wouldn’t have registered. Maybe the Russian explained what it was but when she looked at it she thought it was the ugliest thing she had seen in her life. She totally dismissed it. Saying that, she never threw it out.”
“She never threw anything out and I just thought it would be a suitcase full of rubbish. We had actually considered putting it to the skip. When my mum died I was closer to her than at anytime of my life and it really broke me up. I didn’t want anything to remind me of her because it was too painful.”
the art piece in question is now being scrutinized by the experts at Christie‘s. Should it pass, Currie certainly intends to sell it at the auction house. Last month, a Picasso painting entitled Le Femmes d’Alger broke auction records when it fetched a stupendous £115 million.
You may also enjoy: