Zach Bodish, 46, didn't know it at the time. But when he left a thrift store in Clintonville, Ohio with a framed poster under his arm, he was carrying an original Picasso print.
When he got home, Bodish researched the purchase online and looked more closely at his poster. Suddenly, he noticed a very significant detail: Pablo Picasso's actual signature scrawled in red pencil near the corner.
I started shaking a little bit, said Bodish to The Columbia Dispatch.
Also penciled on the print were the figures 6/100, and the phrase original print, signed proof in French. Now, Bodish understands what these notations mean.
In 1958, Picasso's ceramic work was being exhibited in southern France. The artist created promotional posters for the event using linocut, which involves carving images onto linoleum to form a sort of stamp that can be coated in ink and pressed onto canvas.
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The scrawled approval signifies that Picasso looked over the print -- it was the sixth one he saw out of 100 -- and deemed it worthy of mass reproduction.
No one knows how the poster ended up at the Volunteers of America thrift store on Clintonville's Lindianola Avenue. There are about 40,000 items in stock on any given day. And although workers there do screen for valuable pieces, odds are they missed the red signature that could have tipped them off to this poster's authenticity.
Bodish was laid off from his job a couple years ago; he earns some extra income by fixing and selling vintage furniture that he buys from thrift stores. The Picasso print is a welcome find; it won't make him wealthy, but could fetch thousands of dollars at an auction or gallery.
I realized it wasn't going to make me rich, said Bodish. But still, how often do you find a Picasso?