About 15 years ago, when I was employed and more prosperous, I purchased an oil painting from the University of Utah Medical Center's volunteer's office. The painting was exhibited in the hall there. I fell in love with the painting because of certain circumstances in my life at the time. Also, I had an appropriate place to hang it.

I paid something like $300 for it in its fine frame but feel sure that the price included a contribution fo the Pink Ladies to be used for hospital charity and such.The painting is 30 by 38 inches, including the frame. As near as I can tell, the artist is "Luaine" and the painting is dated 5-7-73. I may have even purchased it in '73.

There are no existing records of its purchase. The subject is a lovely female child lying in the grass gazing at some tiny flowers. It is a beautiful picture.

Now I am retired, on a modest fixed income, and not in as good of health as I was in '73. I no longer have a place to hang this work of art and I could surely use the money I might get for it.

I have advertised it in the newspaper. People who inquired about the painting wanted to know something about the artist. Galleries have turned me down for the same reason. The Pink Ladies office at the University Hospital has no record of this painting or any information about "Luaine."

I would like information about persons or institutions that might be interested in purchasing this painting. It would be attractive hung where children and families could see it. I am enclosing a snapshot of the painting.

I would prefer to remain anonymous. - V.M., Salt Lake City.

Judging from the photograph you sent us of the painting as well as the response of galleries to which you took it, its marketability is limited. The best suggestion we could come up with is to try to sell it to an antique store, which might be able to resell it.

Its marketability and its sentimental value to you are two different things. The painting has given you years of enjoyment. The fact that you may have a hard time getting money for it should not detract from that.

In the way of advice to art collectors, whether they take their art seriously or just dabble in it, a painting or sculpture is more likely to be marketable if it has a certificate of authenticity as well as a listing of the galleries where it has been displayed. Such a listing is referred to as the painting's "provenance."

Keep any information you're given about the artist. Works by well-known artists will have a better resale value than works by obscure ones.

A painting should have a museum-quality mounting. That means the materials used contain no acid and the painting does not touch the glass, if there is glass.

Original paintings have a better chance of increasing in value than prints, says Dolores Kohler of Marble House Gallery and president of the Salt Lake Galleries Association. The association sponsors a gallery stroll the third Friday of every month from 6 to 9 p.m. Sixteen galleries, 11 of which are located in downtown Salt Lake, will participate in the upcoming stroll. Maps are available at participating galleries.

If you're serious about placing a value on a painting, have it appraised. Allen Dodworth, of Allen Dodworth Fine Art Appraisal, charges $60 an hour. Dodworth received a undergraduate degree in fine art from Stanford University. He received a graduate degree in art history and worked as a graphic artist and a museum director before becoming a professional appraiser.

"Before I start charging $60 an hour I try to determine whether the client really needs my service and I give him an estimate of what it will cost."

His expertise is in American and European paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and photographs.