Self-portrait of a Calgary artist, sold six years ago, found at a Value Village for $250

Rich Théroux sold his self-portrait for around $500

By Krista Sylvester | October 13, 2022 |5:00 am

A friend of Calgary artist Rich Théroux discovered his self-portrait painting at a local Value Village this week.

Photo: Submitted

When Calgary artist Rich Théroux sold his self-portrait about six years ago, he slightly regretted it because it ended up becoming the photo on the back page of the poetry book he wrote. 

But that came full circle this week when a friend of Théroux’s found that very painting he sold for around $500 at Value Village for $250. 

“A local photographer phoned me to say that he saw it at Value Village and I asked him if he would purchase it for me and I paid him back,” Théroux explains, adding he said he would have picked the painting up in person himself, but the store would only hold it for an hour due to a policy. 

“So my friend purchased it and I was rushing over to get it because I was running out of time to pick it up. I ended up rushing in without my ID, but my face was on the painting. So luckily, it looked like me and they just smiled and gave it to me.” 

A flattering price 

While Théroux says it would have been even cooler to stumble upon the painting himself, he’s still thankful his friend discovered it. 

“It was still pretty nice to get that text and it was a combination of things. You know, my style is recognizable enough that he knew right away that it was a Rich Théroux painting,” he says. 

“And the price was quite a bit less than I sold it for, so I get it back for half price. It was a piece that ended up becoming really important to me once it became the back page of my poetry books.” 

Théroux co-founded the non-profit art studio Rumble House with Jess Szabo. He thinks he sold the self-portrait to one of the patrons there during an auction and figures they probably moved and had to downsize, which is common. 

Better than a back alley 

Was Théroux disappointed to discover his self-portrait at Value Village? 

“I’m glad it was Value Village and not a back alley. I think if somebody found one of my paintings in an alley, I’d be pretty wounded,” he adds. 

It was a busy week for the artist, who was finishing a mural under a bridge in the city’s west end in the midst of this happening. He was also putting on a Thanksgiving street dinner for people who didn’t have anywhere to go.

Rumble House — formerly known as Gorilla House — started as a summer project in 2012 to host live art battles and auction off their works. 

Now, nine years later, its Wednesday night Rumble battles are still running.

“We’re coming up on 500 battles, which sounds like a long time, but we only planned to have six rumbles and we are well over that threshold,” Théroux says.

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Krista Sylvester

Managing Editor at Calgary Citizen

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