Thursday, November 17, 2011

John Sykes (1859-1934) California Impressionist

John Sykes “View of Castle Rock, Santa Barbara"
(Originally published in Coastal View Nov. 24, 2011)

When we asked readers to submit artworks for ArtFind, our art appraiser Alissa Campbell of Anderson Shea Art Appraisals, discovered an interesting painting by California Impressionist John Sykes. Our reader lucked out we he unearthed this oil painting, “View of Castle Rock, Santa Barbara” on eBay about five years ago. He paid $500 and wants to know -- how valuable is it now?

Values can change quickly which is why insurance companies require art appraisals to be done every 2-4 years on artworks valued over $5,000. The value of art depends on a number of factors including artist notoriety, condition, provenance, size, and quality. When valuing a painting, an art appraiser also has to consider the current popularity of an style -- and whether the artwork is being sold at a gallery or auction.

John Sykes (1859-1934) was born in England but at age 25 he immigrated to the Unites States. Sykes settled Santa Barbara, California where he would establish himself as an renowned painter and watercolorist. He is best known for his paintings of the California Missions, which were a favorite subject of the artist. Sykes was also known to paint coastal scenes, landscapes, and local architectural views.

Like other artists of the era, Henry Chapman Ford, Alexander Harmer and Mary Stevens Fish --- John Sykes would sketch outdoors and finish the painting in his studio. He was a self-taught artist but managed to establish recognition as an accomplished painter and draughtsman. Sykes’ work is held in the collections of Santa Barbara and San Obispo Historical Societies, as well as the Carmel Mission.

After a bit of appraisal research, I discovered that a number of Sykes’ works have sold at auction. A similar coastal scene entitled “Castle Rock, Santa Barbara” sold in 2007 for $4,313, with other paintings selling for up to $7,000. Sykes’ work is also sold at galleries, which indicates a demand for his work on the art market.

In discussing the condition of the painting with the collector, he said that “a couple of minor dings” were repaired on the painting. This minor damage would slightly decrease the value, if it were to be appraised for Insurance purposes. Also, if any issues of authenticity were to arise, the value would be affected. It is important to note that qualified art appraisers assess value - but are not authenticators.

This painting depicts a recognizable image of the Santa Barbara coastline and is fairly large at 24 x 13 ½ inches. If “View of Castle Rock” by “View of Castle Rock” painting was to be sold in at at a gallery would be estimated to have a Retail Value between $5,000-$7,500. A treasure indeed!

*Retail Value is defined as a reasonable amount in terms of US dollars that would be required to purchase a property of similar age, quality, origin, appearance, provenance and condition with a reasonable length of time in an appropriate and relevant market. Unlike retail replacement value (Insurance), retail values do not include any fees or additional costs such as taxes, framing, conservation, restoration and additional commissions. (Source: Appraisers Association of America)


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©2011 Alissa Anderson Campbell, Santa Barbara, California. All Rights Reserved. This is not an appraisal. Authenticity is not guaranteed. This article is for educational purposes only. None of the contents of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanic, photocopy, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of Anderson Shea Art Appraisals, and the appraiser’s signature. )

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