Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mad Cow Addiction

While perusing the web today, I came across a rather interesting story concerning art collecting. When I was growing up, a neighbor lady collected cows, and I'm not talking about a few tchotchkes here or there. She had virtually every inch of her house covered in paintings, figurines, tapestries, etc. Well, it seems like Derrill Osborn could give her a run for her money...

From the Associated Press:

When it came to collecting, former Neiman Marcus fashion executive Derrill Osborn had a singular focus: cows.

From paintings featuring bovine roaming wide open spaces to small toy cows to Staffordshire ceramic figures of the animals, Osborn collected them all. And after about half a century of collecting, the 70-year-old has decided to part with his herd in an auction Wednesday evening featuring about 350 items.

"I decided I would just give it up and auction it off," he said.

His collection made for a dramatic interior in his two-bedroom town house. The home's walls lined with green billiard cloth and wood accents painted a red enamel, his paintings hung from floor to ceiling and his cow-related objects were spread throughout.

"It was a little too much, but it was fantastic," said Osborn, dressed finely in a three-piece suit, his eyes sparkling behind round-rimmed glasses.

The auction also will feature a few non-bovine items including a Victorian croquet set and several items of furniture.

But the cows are the stars. Osborn, who grew up on a New Mexico ranch, said the spark for the collection came when he was a young boy and his great-grandfather whittled a cow from wood for him — an item not in the auction. And even though Osborn left that ranch for a 40-year career in fashion that took him around the globe, items featuring cows still caught his eye as he wandered through antiques stores from Milan to London.