What’s this piece of art worth?

We Fullers are not a family of art connoisseurs. The least so was my late father-in-law, who, ironically, landed a job at an art college. Back in the 1980s, Papa – as we called him – transitioned from a long banking career to the director of finance for California Institute of the Arts. 

Papa kept CalArts in the black by day, and at night he livened up the family dinner table with anecdotes about his new work environment. There was the student who took a plate from the cafeteria, put an apple and a banana on it, and balanced it on a post in the school parking lot for his senior project. And who can forget the young man who accepted his diploma in the altogether?

The artistic highlight of Papa’s job was the annual holiday gift he received from software entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter Norton. In 1988, Mr. Norton started a tradition of commissioning a contemporary artist to create an original, limited-edition work to give to a few thousand friends and members of the art world each holiday season. Mr. Norton was on the CalArts board, and Papa made the gift list – talk about fodder for Fuller dinner conversations!