About five years ago, art collector and TOKY New Business Director John Foster discovered an original and compelling portfolio of drawings on eBay, purported to have been done by a mental patient at The State Asylum for Lunatics in Missouri, a turn-of-the-century institution for the mentally ill. Acting on a hunch and years of experience that the drawings were authentic and important, he arranged an urgent meeting with the seller, who lived in Lawrence, Kansas.
John left immediately, calling his wife only once he hit the highway to tell her why he was leaving so suddenly. Six hours later, the drawings were in his hands for inspection. After some soul searching, he followed his eye and bought them. (This is the short version of the story. John published a two-part long version — here and here — on his Accidental Mysteries blog.) While the collection was eventually acquired by New York artist and dealer Harris Diamont, John was recently brought back into the story. Diamont has produced a new video about the attempt to learn who this artist — nicknamed The Electric Pencil by Diamont — really was. John was among those interviewed for the project:
You can watch the 18-minute piece on YouTube or below: