Early Morning Ideas: Featured Question with Forrest

winter FechinHi Forrest, in your response to ‘Any Regrets?‘, you mentioned the following:

“….I would wake 0700 every morning and do nothing but think in bed until 0800. My mind would be fresh, the phone wouldn’t ring and nobody would knock on my door. That may be the best decision I ever made as so many good ideas have come to me during that hour. Maybe someone will ask me about one of those ideas.”

So I’m asking, what are some of those ideas?  ~Thanks ~ Thrill


Especially burned into my memory Thrill, was the idea to arrange a cultural exchange program with the Russian government. A few art scholars jazzed me pretty good and I was the butt of some funny jokes, because it was 1975 and the Cold War was in full blast.

Through Armand Hammer and Occidental Petroleum I met Madam Betrova who was the Russian Minister of Culture for Western and American Affairs. She took me to the circus in Moscow and we made a hand-shake deal while the acrobats were swinging through the air.

FechinWe agreed to a five-year cultural exchange program. As a result of that meeting and lots of telexes going back and forth, I visited seven Russian museums and picked out thirty-six paintings by the Russian/American painter Nicolai Fechin. One was a very large portrait of Vladimir Lenin. The show opened at Fenn Galleries Ltd in Santa Fe with Madam Betrova and various government officials from Washington and Moscow in attendance.

When our show closed we traveled the exhibition to museums in Cody and Seattle. Then our gallery borrowed thirty-six Fechin paintings from American museums and private collections, including our own, and sent them to three Russian cities for exhibition.

The show cost me some tears, a bunch of money, a fight with the State Department, and lots of sleepless nights. But it was favorably reviewed internationally and Fechin’s top work has sold in recent years for over $2,000,000.


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23 Responses

  1. Jenny Kile says:

    Since working on the Chase, I have learned and researched so many different things; things I wouldn’t have explored if I wasn’t involved in the hunt. Fechin’s work is definitely one of them. Thank you. His paintings are beautiful and I am grateful you introduced his talent to me/others.

    It makes me want to recall (and jot down) what are some other things I have researched while trying to understand the poem’s directions. And what other searchers have learned along the way or been inspired to do……..I bet there is so so much……any one want to share?

    • Jenny Kile says:

      I think I have said it before, but I know one of the things the Chase has done for me is inspire me to get on with living life to the fullest…..or chase dreams more eagerly….time isn’t forever for some of these things.

      If any of you remember the Necklace given as prize on Dal’s site (http://dalneitzel.com/2014/07/31/theprize/), and of how Forrest prescribed certain ‘powers’ to the items on the necklace, you will understand the following better……..but I had joked with Forrest saying I think a secret bead, which held the power of fire and encouraged a person to always keep moving so not to burn, was hidden in the book. Stay in one place, and you’re toast!

      Every time I read it, it has the same effect, and seems to be saying, explore, try new things, and enjoy life to the fullest….Get going! lol… (oh…and look for a bronze chest on the way!)

    • E* says:

      Jenny – A Haiku,…about what can be learned,…while on “The Chase”:


      “The Glowing Mushroom”

      Just like a mushroom
      Hidden, buried in the dark
      And then they all glowed

      • Sixer/Jenny says:

        Thanks E*…… I wasn’t expecting strobe-light like mushrooms….totally cool..:)

        • E* says:

          Jenny – I thought the bioluminescent tree mushroom looked kind of like a brain,…so I was creating a Haiku-poetic analogy,…to how we are all activating previously unused and dark areas of our brains,…when we acquire knowledge during “The Chase”:


          The oldest recorded documentation of foxfire is from 382 B.C., by Aristotle, whose notes refer to a light that, unlike fire, was cold to the touch. The Roman thinker Pliny the Elder also mentioned glowing wood in olive groves.

          Foxfire,…”worth the cold”. 🙂

  2. Forrest Fenn says:

    Jenny, you are so intuitive. Thanks for posting that question and answer. The Fechin show was almost forty years ago but it seems much longer to me now. Events in one’s life can happen fast and soon they are gone to make room for next one. Then all of a sudden nature suggests that we slow down and reflect back over the many opportunities we were offered along the way, and how we reacted to them. I wish I had learned earlier some of the things I know now. I guess we all do.

    • locolobo says:

      LOL!! Well Forrest, it certainly seems that your one hour solitude spent contemplating has served you well. There may be a few opportunities that you would change your reaction to, but I doubt there are many. Time spent in reflection is never wasted, nor too late. Even at this late date I still find myself putt-putting back and reflecting. I am amazed at the number of opportunities I didn’t recognize which I can still act upon!

      Speaking of recognizing opportunities, and reacting to them. Could you tell us about the opportunity which your “Street Smarts 101” served you the best, on the trail of life??

      Thanks again Forrest, and Jenny!!.

  3. lia says:

    Dear Mr. Fenn,
    I’m so pleased you answered that question. I couldn’t agree more with Jenny’s comments. You have inspired me to ‘really live’ with a fire for life and exploration of my passions. Your introduction to Fechin, Sharp, and their history largely influenced by you have been highlights in my thrill of the chase. And, wow! What an amazing challenge to see your visionary cultural exchange through to fruition. A relative of mine was an AF colonel and undercover spy in Russia during the 1960’s – I understand the coldwar climate of mistrust you had to negotiate in order to accomplish art exhibitions in two countries. Art in all forms transcends hostilities and builds cultural bridges. Thanks for all you’ve done during your life to serve others and promote artists.

  4. lia says:

    Mr. Fenn, I forgot to mention why I’m captivated by the artists Fechin and Sharp…both painted with broad, bold strokes but achieved subtle intimacy with their subject matter.

  5. Cynthia says:

    I so agree with your comments, Jenny…like most of us researching our solves to the poem and reading Forrest’s stories and books, I have stumbled upon many new discoveries that I otherwise would never have known. I now have a Nicolai Fechin print hanging in my home, but even more thrilling to me has been coming to know Eric Sloane through reading Seventeen Dollars a Square Inch and Glenna Goodacre’s large-scale bronze sculptures through visits to the Nedra Matteucci Galleries (formerly Fenn Galleries) in Santa Fe. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them…I frequently drive past the elementary school corner in Albuquerque with her bronze of the kids playing, and every time I look at the clouds, I think of Eric. To quote Forrest when he wrote about Fechin, I feel the same about Eric…”I feel like I knew him, although we never met.” For those of you who are fortunate enough to live here in New Mexico or visit while searching, I believe it is worth your while to visit the Fechin Art Museum in Taos and the Nedra Matteucci Galleries in Santa Fe. Not only will it expand your mind artistically, it will give you a greater sense of closeness to Forrest and who he is and was….

  6. Mark J says:

    That was a great question, and a great answer. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Carolyn says:

    I’m glad I live in America where I can like what I like and don’t what I don’t, for now anyways. I just don’t see what everyone sees in the paintings above. They seem very bland to me. I have also figured out that I don’t like abstract art; I prefer real life looking pictures. Just my taste. Thanks for allowing it.

  8. The Thrill says:

    I could only imagine the stress with all those paintings in your care and the stress that comes with the hope they don’t get damaged or loss. I deal with contracts and policy and would be nice to go back to a hand shake and a mans word was all you ever need.

  9. Moonshadow says:

    It is indescribable how much I have learned and people I have met because of the chase. I have countless number of places I now want to visit, whether the chest had been found or not. In fact, there are a couple of places I have discounted as a hiding place (if that’s actually possible) but I’m still going to visit at some time. I have 5 places I’m absolutely positive of where the treasure is…the problem of course is that at least 4 of them are wrong. But…that will be okay, they are places I want to visit.

  10. Geydelkon says:

    Great story. Sometimes one needs to pull some strings in order to make things work. I have seen a similar story somewhere, I can picture it.

  11. The Wolf says:

    Mr. Fenn, that is a very interesting story and very ambitious and reminds me that during that same time Canada, France and the USA was working with the then Soviet Union on a space aided search and rescue system (COSPAS-SARSAT) and we had to work with the Russian Scientists in secrecy, building systems that would talk to each other for peaceful reasons but it was very difficult due to the cold war. In the end it was worth the cold because we have a global system that saves many lives every year. Those kind of stories can motivate you to take up bull riding, sail the pacific or at least clean your bathroom.
    The Wolf

    • Michael says:

      this doesn’t work, elsewehere – other countries, etc

      • The Wolf says:

        If you are talking about Cospas-SARSAT then your statement is incorrect. It works all over the globe detecting emergency beacons. Those four countries were the originators. Many countries have signed on since then

    • The Wolf says:

      I had forgotten this old post. Cospas-Sarsat was a very interesting organization where we used space satellites to detect distress beacons. 121.5 MHz beacons are no long detected by the system only 406 MHz beacons are not detected.

  12. I was at the 1975 opening at Fenn Galleries. In fact, my mother wrote the famous book about Fechin and it debuted there that night. She and Fechin’s daughter Eya were in attendance for the book signing. I saw some amazing art in that show!

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