I’m not asking for me, I’m asking for Matthew Schirmer, one of the many people who bought a portrait of McG back when he was a hot-ticket item anyone who’s anyone would proudly display around the house. Now? That people have realized he kinda helped us get into the financial shit-storm du jour with his patented 3-Step Guide For Being Fed Chair (1. Talk like you know your shit, even when you don’t. 2. Cut rates like a Thai hooker with the clap 3. When in doubt, print it out)? No one wants anything to do with him and if you’re unlucky enough to have his picture stinking up your home, like Schirmer, you just want the guy to bite the big one already.
Mr. Schirmer says he had high hopes for the painting when he bought it in 2006 with his brother, Nathan. The money they spent went to a worthy cause, autism research. But Mr. Schirmer says he was hoping to raise even more money for a favorite charity, Autism Speaks.
“We thought, let us ride this wave,” he recalls. Mr. Schirmer paid to have 100 high-quality prints made of the painting. He flew Ms. Crowe to Florida to sign them. Her painting was placed on an easel in the lobby of a Tampa-area bank Mr. Schirmer helped found. Mr. Schirmer anticipated holding charity fund-raisers with the Greenspan painting as a draw.
“There was no interest,” he says. To this day, he hasn’t sold any prints, he says, “not a single one.” The original painting could still recover some value, he says. “I hate to tell you, but we are kind of waiting for him to pass on.
It’s not that Schirmer et al wish Big Al any harm, per se, it’s just that he’s not the sort of thing you want lying around the house, where guests or innocent children might see him.
Brian McAnaney, a lawyer in Stamford, Conn., bought an early Greenspan painting by Ms. Crowe at a charity auction way back for $300. A friend of the artist’s family, he hung the painting in his office, where it remained until he retired. Now he has it hidden away in a closet in his summer house.
“It is a little hard to find a place for Mr. Greenspan in my homes,” Mr. McAnaney says. “He is still there, but in a closet, because it is difficult to find a place for him in a family setting.”
Until our sweet prince finally does take his final bow, though, he’s actually not entirely useless.
“What I should do is make [these paintings] into a dart board,” says Charles Gradante, who with his wife, Lee Hennessee, runs the Fifth Avenue firm that advises investors in hedge funds. “All I see when I look at these paintings are two market crashes, a bear market, and the current economic crisis.”