Monday, February 10, 2014

Pacific Northwest Artist David Marty

A reader submitted this painting by Washington artist David Marty. He purchased it last October at a thrift store in Palo Alto, California for $15!

David Marty (1951- ) was born in northern California. He studied at Art Center College of Design, Biola University, and the Scottsdale Artists School. His landscape paintings are influenced by the French and California Impressionist style. His works attempt to capture atmospheric contrasts of light and shadow.

After a bit of digging in my appraisal auction record databases, I found that David Marty’s painting have sold for as little as $375 and as much as $7,500. While auctions in general tend to be mercurial, this is a wide range of pricing for an artist. In the case of Marty it appears his later, more detailed, tonalist paintings demand the highest prices -- while his early work sell for less.

Although undated, this painting is likely an early work by the artist. It depicts a dark forest likely in the Pacific Northwest, where Marty has spent most of his life. Although well-painted, it does not have the luminosity that appears in some of Marty’s later works. He is well-known for his skill at painting atmospheric skies, which unfortunately this painting does not have.

Still, a painting of this quality in excellent condition and of this large size (20 inches by 20 inches) by Marty would likely warrant an auction estimate as high as $1,000-$3,000. A comparable painting entitled “Golden Touch” by Marty recently sold at auction in 2013 for $3,250. 

I was also able to find galleries selling Marty’s work. Retail prices can be as much as 50% higher than auction values, and would likely be priced on the higher end if sold in a gallery.

If this were appraised for resale purposes it would be estimated to have a Fair Market Value of approximately $1,500-$2,000. A treasure indeed!

*Fair Market Value Fair Market Value is defined as “the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to by or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.”

**This is not an official art appraisal. It is for informational purposes only. An appraisal is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert who has examined the artwork in-person and is paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object. This article is restricted-use and is intended for educational purposes only.

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Alissa Anderson Campbell is an art appraiser for Anderson Shea Art Appraisals. She specializes in appraising European and American art for insurance, resale value, estate, tax, and charitable donation. Campbell is a member of the International Society of Appraisers. www.andersonshea-artappraisals.com







Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Edgar Ewing Depicts Ancient Subject for Modern Painting

Edgar Ewing "Vesalius as a Naval Surgeon" Oil on masonite

This month's artwork selection is by California artist Edgar Ewing (1913-2006). Our local reader bought “Vesalius as a Naval Surgeon” on eBay for $110. The size 12” x 6” painting is an oil on board.

Edgar Louis Ewing was born in Nebraska. As a young art student, he attended the University of Chicago, where he was given an art fellowship to study in Europe. Ewing was heavily influenced by his travels through Europe was especially intrigued by the history of Spain, Greece, Rome. Ewing eventually moved to the West Coast where he began teaching at the University of Southern California. He painted and taught alongside many other painters of the mid-century.

This portrait is part of the well-known Vesalius Series by Ewing. Andreas Vesalius was an anatomist, physician, and author of the book on human anatomy entitled, De humani corporis fabrica (On the Workings of the Human Body). Vesalius is referred to as the founder of modern human anatomy.

It is claimed that in 1565, Vesalius performed an autopsy on an aristocrat in Spain while his heart was still beating. This was deemed so atrocious to Spain’s Emperor Charles V, that he condemned Vesalius to death.

The painting depicts an ominous five-pronged hook hanging above the portrait of Vesalius, who wears a traditional naval cap and coat. Ewing paints in his signature post-cubist style, deconstructing the forms. The palette of red and black reflect the dark subject of the painting.

In researching the appraised value of this painting, it appears Ewing’s work has sold for up to $5,700 at auction, but most paintings of this size have sold between $200-$400. His large masterworks are priced as high as $10,000 in private galleries.

“Vesalius as a Naval Surgeon” is in good condition with minor signs of dust but no abrasions or paint losses. In appraising this painting, an appraiser would consider the morbid subject which means it might only appeal to a small audience. This would limit the market value. If this painting were listed for sale in a gallery it would have an estimated Retail value of approximately $500-$700. A savvy, if sinister, investment indeed!

* READERS: This is not an official art appraisal. It is for informational purposes only. An appraisal is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert who has examined the artwork in-person and is paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object. This article is restricted-use and is intended for educational purposes only. Any portion of this text CANNOT be reproduced or copied without the consent of the author.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A California Modernist Artist's Pilgrimage

A most interesting painting came along this month -- by California artist Richard Haines (1906-1984). It was purchased by a Santa Barbara art collector from an estate sale. She bought it for a whopping $1,000, just because she loved it!

After some research, I found that Charles Richard Haines was born in Marian, Iowa 1906 and studied at the Minneapolis School of Art. Like many artists he became involved in the New Deal government-sponsored art program and won nine mural commissions from the Treasury Department's Section of Painting and Sculpture between 1935 and 1941. The murals were primarily done in U.S. Post Office in the midwest. In 1941, Haines moved to Los Angeles, where he began teaching at two important art schools of the time, Chouinard Art Institute and Otis Art Institute.

Haines was a founding member of California Modernist style of painting and worked primarily as a painter. A prominent mid-century Los Angeles art dealer Dalzell Hatfield said Richard Haines's paintings “[capture] a meandering silence, a pause in time, a captive moment, all of which tend to reveal the spiritual values of humanity while depicting its physical form."

This painting entitled, “The Pilgrimage” depicts a group of religious figures walking through the desert. Nearly abstract in its decomposition (and subject), the artist appears to be influenced by both cubism and surrealism. The broken planes of color and unique palette of pink and brown give the painting a distinctive quality that is unique to Haines' work.

After a bit of art appraisal research, I discovered that few of Haines’ paintings have sold at auction. His works have sold up to $8,800 but most auction records indicate paintings selling between $500-$1,000 depending on subject, size, date, condition, and provenance. His strongest market is at auction but only a few galleries carry his work.

There are a number of artists like Haines who I appraise in and around Southern California. They were part of the California modernist artist group working during the 1940s-60s -- and their work is still undervalued. Comparable artists on the East Coast are demanding more than five times as much as these artists. Considering the skill, subject-matter, and style I believe it is a genre of work that will likely rise in value as more art collectors discover these artists’s work.

If this painting were appraised for auction purposes it would have an estimated value of approximately $800-$1,200 so our reader paid just about what it is worth on today’s market.

READERS: We need your submissions! Please email us a photo of your painting,  drawing, or sculpture for next month’s The Art Appraiser. Send the artist name, title,

Alissa Anderson Campbell is an art appraiser for Anderson Shea Art Appraisals. She specializes in appraising European and American art for insurance, resale value, estate, tax, and charitable donation. Campbell is a member of the International Society of Appraisers. Ph. 805.616.2781/www.andersonshea-artappraisals.com

* This is not an official appraisal. It is for informational purposes only. An appraisal is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert who has examined the artwork in-person and is paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object. This article is restricted-use and is intended for educational purposes only.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Samuel Thal: American Scene Painter

Samuel Thal "Farm" circa 1940s, Oil on canvas

This painting by American artist Samuel Thal (1903-1964) is was purchased by a local reader through an online auction in Connecticut. These days, it is easy for anyone to find artworks at online auctions throughout the world. Our reader bid on this painting without even seeing it! Although it was estimated to sell between $800-$1,200, she snatched it up for $500.

Samuel Thal was born in New York City in 1903, as the son of Russian immigrants. He grew up on a farm in Hadlyme, Connecticut and studied art at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League. Thal spent most of of his life in Boston where he studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and spent many years doing architectural sculpture. By the 1930s Thal was working as a full-time artist.

He also assisted in the establishment of the art education programs under the WPA Federal Art Project. Thal also taught life drawing classes at Garland Junior College in Boston, the Boston Architectural Club and the Boston Museum of Modern Art.

This painting, "Figure in a Landscape" is a signature painting for Thal, depicting a figure overlooking his farm. Like the American Regionalists and Ashcan painters of the 1930s and 1940s, Thal depicted images of everday life in America including cityscapes, landscapes, and figures. Thal’s realist style and loose, expressionistic brushstrokes can also be compared to the style of Van Gogh's early work.

After a bit of appraisal research, I discovered that a number of Thal’s paintings have sold at auction. His auction records range from $600-$4,000 depending on subject, size, date, condition, and provenance. His strongest market is at auction with only a few galleries carrying his work -- but retail prices could be up to 50% higher in a gallery setting.

If this painting were appraised for Insurance purposes it would have a Retail Replacement Value of approximately $2,000-$3,000. *Retail Replacement Value is defined as the highest amount in terms of US dollars that would be requireda to replace a property with another of similar age, quality, origin, appearance, provenance, and condition with a reasonable length of time in an appropriate and relevant market. When applicable, sales and/or import tax, commissions and/or premiums are included in this amount.

* This is not an official appraisal. It is for informational purposes only. An appraisal is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert who has examined the artwork in-person and is paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object. This article is restricted-use and is intended for educational purposes only.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Local California Artist Barnaby Conrad


This painting by Santa Barbara artist Barnaby Conrad (1922-2013)was chosen this month for its local connection. Our reader bought the piece in May 2009 in Carpinteria, California. With an asking price sticker of $800, our reader was able to negotiate the price to $450.
Best known as a writer, Conrad lived an extraordinary life. Born in San Francisco, he studied Yale, University of North Carolina, and the University of Mexico (where he began bull fighting). He was a friend of Sinclair Lewis, John Steinbeck, William F. Buckley Jr. and Ray Bradbury, many of whom he painted. His portraits of Alex Haley and Truman Capote are in the National Portrait Gallery.
This whimsical painting entitled "Fish Diary" is watercolor, oil and collage. Conrad has playfully signs his name in the fishing license section of the painting, giving it a personal touch. This is an example of a trompe-l’œil painting, meaning “trick of the eye.” The style is meant to create an optical illusion where the subject appears in 3-dimensions. A popular style in 19th century Europe, the style is still used by contemporary artists.
Unfortuntately, Barnaby Conrad has virtually no auction market. With only two auction records that could be located, his paintings have sold at auction for $200-$300. An auction specialist would likely suggest a very low sales estimates of $100-$200 and hope that interested buyers would bid up the price.
            Conrad’s most common and strongest market appears to be in the regional gallery market of Carpinteria and Santa Barbara. The Palm Loft Gallery had an exhibition of his work in 2006. Currently, no galleries are selling his work. In valuing artworks, appraisers often consider the regional market of a certain artist. For instance, California impressionist paintings tend to sell for more in California, as one might expect.
Since many people knew Barnaby Conrad, his values would be higher in this area than in the general art market. He recently passed away which also tends to up the values of an artist’s work. Collectors would pay slightly higher retail prices than the auction records reflect. If this piece were appraised for Insurance, it would likely have a Retail Replacement Value of approximately $500-$600, which is close to what the buyer originally paid.
Retail Replacement Value is defined as the highest amount in terms of US dollars that would be requireda to replace a property with another of similar age, quality, origin, appearance, provenance, and condition with a reasonable length of time in an appropriate and relevant market. When applicable, sales and/or import tax, commissions and/or premiums are included in this amount.

* This is not a formal appraisal. An appraisal is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert who has examined the artwork in-person and is paid for by the owner of the item.  An appraisal involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object. This article is restricted-use and is intended for educational purposes only.



Monday, April 29, 2013

Dixie Selden: American Impressionist

Dixie Selden "Portrait of Frank Duveneck" Oil on canvas (Photo:  Courtesy of Cincinnati Art Museum)

I recently did an art appraisal for a Santa Barbara collector of a painting by Dixie Selden. Dixie Selden was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and is best known for her impressionist portraits, still-lifes, and landscapes. She studied art at the Cincinnati Museum Art School under the esteemed artist Frank Duveneck. 

Like many artists of her time, she did the grand tour, seeing art in Selden traveled to Spain, Italy and  France and the rest of Europe. She also gained further artistic training with William Merritt Chase.

Selden also traveled in the U.S., painting the New England coastline during the summers, often with Emma Mendenhall as a painting companion. Selden was President of the Cincinnati Women's Art Club, and was active in the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. She exhibited with those groups as well as at the Pennsylvania Academy, the Corcoran Gallery, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Selden is considered a listed artist with strong gallery listings and auction records, indicating her work is widely traded on the market. Past auction records indicate auction sales up to $62,100 although most artworks sell for less. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Helen Lundeberg: California Surrealist

One of my favorite California artists in the genre of mid-century modernism is Helen Lundeberg. I always love seeing new paintings by her. Lundeberg painted surrealist subjects as well as hard-edged geometric compositions. Her depictions of macrocosms and microcosms are some of her most interesting works.

Helen Lundeberg (1908-1999) was born in Chicago, Illinois 1908. As a child she moved to the artist colony of Pasadena, California. In 1930 she enrolled at the Stickney School of Art in Pasadena where she was met Lorser Feitelson, her future husband.
From 1933-42 Helen Lundeberg worked as a muralist and lithographer for the WPA California Federal Art Project, including a 240-foot-curved wall in Centinela Park in Inglewood, CA. Simultaneously, she and Feitelson founded an art movement known as Post-Surrealism. 

Early in her career Lundeberg's work was exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Later in her life she had work shown in the San Francisco Museum of Art. She was working during the same time period of Georgia O’Keeffe and some similarities can be found between the two artist's interest in the abstract quality of extreme close-ups. Still, Lundeberg often depicted the cosmos and planetary structures. 

Helen Lundeberg is one of the rare women artists whose work has a strong market value comparative to her male contemporaries. A recent auction at Bonhams and Butterfields sold three of her works in their Made in California sale.