Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Jack Martin Smith - Gaviota Beach
Smith (1911-1993) was an art director, perhaps best known for his work on The Wizard of Oz, Cleopatra, and many other major films. Jack Martin Smith was born in California. As a young man, he attended USC. During the 1930s, he lived in Los Angeles and was hired as a set designer for the movie studios.
Smith also painted in both watercolor and oils -- but in the fine art world very few auction records exist and no galleries sell his work. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for appraisers to assess values. The value of an artist’s work is based on comparable sales records that have occurred in the public art market (both gallery and auction). A paper trail of pricing must exist in order to substantiate value.
In my appraisal research, I found that a gouache painting by Smith’s entitled, “The Emerald City, from the Wizard of Oz” sold for $4,000. The only other painting I could find was a seascape that sold at auction in 2005 for $225. Pricing for “Gaviota Beach” would not be estimated to sell as high as Wizard of Oz painting, a very famous subject and therefore most desirable to buyers.
The technique and subject of Smith’s “Gaviota Beach” would appeal to a number of collectors – but the lack of auction records would make auction houses hesitant to place a high estimate on selling price. An auction estimate for this painting would likely be estimated between $300-$500 based on it’s large size, quality, subject, and condition. If this type of painting were by an artist with stronger auction records and/or galleries, it would be expected to sell for much more.
Many of my art appraisal clients ask how to be sure the art they buy will increase in value. My suggestions is that you buy what you love and not worry about it rising in value. If you do want to invest in art, do some research before purchasing. Buying art by a listed artist with auction records means that the artist’s work already has demand on the market and will likely continue to rise in value.
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 Appraisers Association of America (USPAP-compliant). Ph. 805.616.2781/www.andersonshea-artappraisals.com
* This is not considered 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.