How to deal with unwanted gift of a cougar painting?

(Apologies to those of you who clicked on this thread hoping to claim a picture of an attractive older woman.)

I recently received a rather large art print of a cougar from a friend of mine. She purchased it while on a recent holiday to Canada and said that as soon as she saw it, she knew it was “me”. I was quite taken aback by this, partly because I can’t say I know her all that well (she’s the wife of a former colleague), and partly because it’s probably the least “me” thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

This is what it looks like:

The art my husband and I have on display in our home is mostly Australian Aboriginal paintings and weavings, collected during a time when he and I were working in various remote communities in the Northern Territory; watercolours done by my father, who is an accomplished painter; and a collection of Jewish-themed vintage photographs. In other words, items that have a deeply personal meaning to us or our heritage. Also, on a practical level, many of the walls in our home are floor-to-ceiling glass, so we don’t even have much space in which to hang new artwork.

So my question is this: beyond being gracious and properly appreciative of the gift when she gave it to me, do I have any obligation to display it in my home? This woman and her husband do attend dinner parties at our home from time to time, so yes, there would be opportunities for her to see the print “in situ”. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but neither do I want to put up a print that looks to me, frankly, like a cross between Serious Cat and a Three Wolf Moon t-shirt.

Sounds like a secondary sitcom plot, where the solution is to hang the thing only when the woman comes over to visit, and hilarious hijinks ensue when she arrives unexpectedly … :smiley:

But seriously, you have no obligation to change your decor to accomodate a gift. Thank the person certainly, as you have done, and put it in storage and forget about it. If she makes a point of asking what you’ve done with it, truthfully say that it does not match your current decor and you have no place to hang it at this time, but that you are keeping it as a momento.

Maybe she sees you as the cougar. RRRRRRRRROOOOOWWWWWRRRR!!!

No, I don’t think you have an obligation to display it. You might find a place to donate it. Are there any schools in the area that have Cougars or Bobcats as the mascot? Or maybe some other organization. If asked about it, politely say that you didn’t have a place for it in your home, but greatly appreciated the sentiment, but that you donated it to an organization that could get much greater use of it.

Yeesh, I would never have the nerve to deliver Malthus’ speech to anyone. I most I would be able to muster is, “we haven’t found the right place for it” and leave it at that.

Then again, for a person who’s given someone wildly inappropriate artwork, this isn’t going to make them suddenly astute enough to realize that you can’t stand the damn thing.

Keep in mind people forget all about things not right in front of them. Can you remember every gift you’ve given?

I wouldn’t feel especially obligated. Don’t stress over it, definitely.

Pack it away in a cupboard, pull it out maybe, if she’s over in the next 6 months or so, lean it up against something and, if asked, say you’re still trying to find the, ‘right spot’.

After that I would give it away. If asked I would say another friend came over and fell in love with it so much, you said she could take it for her cottage/beach house/whatever, but she’ll have to return it when you decide where you want to hang it! Any future inquiries, (highly unlikely, in my opinion!), can easily be met with, ‘That bitch won’t give it back!’

You have to live there so obviously the answer isn’t to hang a painting you hate in your home. I don’t suppose it’s an option to lie and say it’s hanging in your (or your spouse’s) office, huh?

Alternately, cut out the background and stick the cougar in your picture window so passing criminals think you have a cougar guarding your home.

Amusing sequential thread title to this: “Cat pictures v. Porn”. :smiley:


You could find an image/painting the same size that you like to put over the cougar. Then whenever your friend comes over, just pull your picture down for the visit.

“Where did you hang that picture we bought you?”
“Oh, it’s far too valuable to hang! It’s been stored in our vault in the Caymans.”

ETA- if your friends happen to know any Russian oligarchs, then the painting is best gotten rid of quickly.

I was trying to find the right words to suggest this, and these seem about right. This will especially work if your walls are all pretty much full as they are.

However, if I had a kitcsch corner, I’d hang it there. I actually had a couple examples started before I got tired of hanging stuff on my walls – it wouldn’t look bad next to Coca Cola girls and fairies. The scenery actually isn’t completely horrible, and the expression on the cougar is at least interesting in a cheesy way, but the framing of the animal is what puts it over the top as kitsch.

Naw. A “momento” is a word for an unwanted gift kept as a keepsake.

I’d rather coin a neologism than admit to a typo. :smiley:

I think you ought to move away.

OK, now there’s two threads going: "What should I do with a captured raccoon? " and this one that make me want to post in with “put him in the longboat 'till he’s sober.”

Send it to me if you hate it that much. I love kitschy stuff like that. It would go well with the chicken-patterned wallpaper borders we are putting up right now.

I was going to say this. But I actually kind of like it, in the right setting. Not in a living room or other place where you put your best stuff, but I have a wall in an extra bedroom that could use a “big cat study” kind of thing like this. But back to the topic–I also concur with the suggestion that you are looking for a place or it. Also, they would be pretty bold to ask where it is, so it might not even come up.

it seriously looks like its thinking ‘Whatchoo talkin’ bout Willis!?"

Is there a local charity that you both like? I would keep it for a few months, and then ask her permission to enter it into the Junior League or High School Band charity auction. Enter it with her and her husband’s names, of course.

If she’s particularly sensitive, do you have a pet you could claim is “freaked out” by it?

Also, how certain are you that this gift is really meant for you? How did your husband react to it? Could it be that he’s mentioned in the past that he likes that sort of thing, and she imagines she’s helping him or something?

I ask because a friend of mine had a husband who really wanted a zebra skin on the wall of their living room. Knowing she’d never go for it, he asked his brother to “give” them one for Christmas. Then, of course, they “had” to hang it for family unity, blah, blah, blah.

P.S. Just realized this is only a print. Is it even framed? If not, you could just be having trouble finding the “right” frame for it. . .

Or tell 'em it’s at the framing shop. That way you explain its absence AND make them think you like it.

Big, heavy pictures sometimes fall off the wall, requiring another visit to the framing shop. :slight_smile: After several falls, you can explain that you’ve had to take it down for good because you found out that Mr. Mittens (or whoever your resident pet is) kept attacking it.