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.


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