VENICE (WWSB) - A former Venice City Planner discovered he’s been holding on to a prized collection for 20 years.
On December 4th 1999, Don Caillouette was inside “The Green Butterfly” consignment shop, which used to be on Miami Avenue West – when he came across an oil painting that really caught his eye. Mostly because of the artist’s signature.
“I had a lady standing behind me who asked if I thought it could possibly be a Frank Sinatra, and I indicated to her that was definitely some F Sinatra, but it could be Freddy, Francis, Ferdinand, or whatever,” Caillouette told us.
He bought it anyways for $8 dollars and 56 cents. He then started doing tons of research. He knew Frank Sinatra was mainly known for his music and movies, but he had remembered that Sinatra also painted.
After showing the piece to dozens of experts, and getting it analyzed, about five years later, he learned that there were key components that gave him the answer.
“The back of the painting has a pencil signature of F Sinatra, which I found out was indeed signed by Frank Sinatra, so this is a Frank Sinatra oil painting from 1955.”
Other clues were the way he signed his name on the bottom front of the painting – a signature in gray paint that was also outlined in black, which is on all his paintings from 1945 to 1965. Plus, the hidden silhouette of Sinatra’s profile in the center of the painting.
Finally, the other clue is the year it was painted: 1955. Sinatra had said was his best year yet full of richness and prosperity that he was immensely thankful for.
“The painting itself has all kind of bountiful things that people would think about with Thanksgiving and the Fall, and then up here is a knot in the wood that indicates springtime or summer ahead. So even though you have this, he was looking forward to the future,” Caillouette explained.
Exactly how it ended up in Venice – inside of The Green Butterfly Shop- is still a mystery, but Caillouette has learned so much about Frank’s life that he has somewhat of an idea.
“It was somebody that Frank admired to say ‘This is a piece of me that I’ giving to you’,” Caillouette continued, “I think that person cherished it until they were no longer here with us, and then it was donated to the facility.”
Caillouette says it’s now someone else’s turn to cherish this Frank Sinatra painting. He will be auctioning it off next week in Chicago on Thursday, December 13th, but anyone interested can auction online as well.
You can find all the details on the auction here: LeslieHindman.com The painting is lot 32 and it is listed as “Untitled (Still Life).”