The painting below, titled Bluefin and Ballyhoo, was put on canvas in 1979 by artist Stanley Meltzoff. Meltzoff had been at the fish painting game long before gents like Guy Harvey. Even if you live in Oklahoma, you’ve probably seen Harvey’s work. It’s on everything from boxer shorts to bikini bottoms, dog leashes to dish towels. While Harvey’s paintings are cool, I doubt an original could fetch $32,000. That’s how much this Meltzoff painting went for, making it the most expensive fish art ever sold at the annual Jackson Hole Auction.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned at some point there is exactly one room in my house that I was allowed to decorate. It’s not a large room, but I have managed to fit all my mounts, photos, and fishy paraphernalia on the walls. But if I had $32K to drop, it would be on a nice used Albemarle Express with twin diesels and a tuna tower. I love fish art, but I’d rather catch the tuna than look at a painting of them.
This, however, doesn’t imply I don’t appreciate what it means to own an original Meltzoff. Nor does it take away from the beauty of the painting or the excitement it insipres. Suppose you could commision an original painting for your man cave. Think through all the scenes from your fishing trips and tell me what you’d have painted. Though it’s no world-class spot, I’d have a rainbow rising under this old bridge over a brook near home simply because it’s where I grew up trout fishing. – JC