A young lady came to the desk, wanting to know if we had any books on a specific artist. The only problem was, she was rather vague on his name. She was pretty confidant that it started with an M, and very possibly had a D in it. Something like Monde mumble mumble ray? Maybe?
DOA used all of her ref skillz, and came up blank. She passed the young lady over to me, hoping that I would be able to pull something out of thin air. I tried to pry more information out of her: Do you know if this artist is a man or a woman? Do you know when the artist painted? Does the artist paint in a realistic or abstract style?
Somewhat desperately, she said maybe it was possibly Matisse, and that she had been too hasty in rejecting him earlier. (DOA had resorted to tossing out any artist whose name started with an M, hoping that something would click. Nothing did.)
We went back to the art section, and sadly there were no books on Matisse there. (Ironically, I think I weeded them earlier this week.) In another gesture of desperation, I grabbed a Sister Wendy art book and flipped open the index. I finally found some Matisse paintings, but none of them rang any bells; the only other tidbit of information that she had been able to come up with was that he had painted a tree, which looked sort of realistic, but sort of abstract at the same time.
As I flipped around, trying to find something that could possibly be what and who we were somewhat randomly searching for, she saw something that caught her eye.
“Hey I think that looks like something else he did!”
The person we had been searching for was Piet Mondrian. The picture she had rather vaguely mentioned was “The Grey Tree.”
It looks like I managed to pull success out of thin air after all!