This is an original pastel portrait of country music legend Willie Nelson, signed and dated 1979 by Calonnie Gragg The portrait has been in our family since being purchased directly from Nichol's Art & Frame in Mesquite, Texas, which was owned by Calonnie at the time. Being that it was purchased three decades ago, it is hard to recall with certainty the cost at the time, but it is believed to have been $750 by the relative that bought it. Calonnie herself has told us that she would not have sold it for any less than $500 at the time and today would not even think of letting it go for any less than a couple thousand dollars. We have recently been in contact with Calonnie through phone and email conversations. Not only has she confirmed the authenticity of this original piece, but she has stated that not a single print was ever produced. Following is an excerpt from one of the emails: "You are in possession of an original Pastel Portrait of Willie Nelson. It is Rembrandt Soft Pastel and Othello Pastel Pencils on Strathmore Charcoal Paper. Strathmore is 100% Cotton Rag paper. Soft Pastels are ground stone pigment, which are used as the base of oil paint. I owned Nichols Art and Frame where it was purchased till about 1987...Two very famous impressionist painters that worked in pastel were Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt. Their work is in most of the worlds great museums." Calonnie is the lead framing designer for the Southwest Gallery in Dallas, TX, as well as being an artist herself, specializing in pastel portrait commissions. She began working for the gallery in 1992 but owned her own frame shop for five years before that. In addition to her work at the gallery, she has been a private art teacher for 20 years. She instructs in both pastel and oil, again specializing in portraits and has previously taught watercolor and children's art. Calonnie has a degree in Art Education from the University of Texas at Dallas and is a proud mother of three and grandmother of two. Additionally, we have recently taken the portrait to Picture This & More restoration shop to have the original frame professionally restored and modernized, using conservation techniques that were unavailable at the time, including a new archival acid-free foam core backing, UV protective glass, and archival hinge material. A very narrow mat was also added to keep the portrait separated from the glass. They confirmed that it was in very good condition upon removing it from the frame. Overall frame measures 27.5 X 21.5 Asking $1,900.00 OBO
posted: November 1 2016 at 3:36 PM
updated: December 3 2023 at 4:36 PM
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