Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Art Find: Carpinteria Flea Market

(Originally published in Coastal View News, August 25, 2011)

When it comes to discovering great art you know digging around at a flea market, thrift store -- or even your garage -- might just be the next great treasure hunt!

What makes art valuable? The answer is this: it depends. Art appraisers base value on such factors as the artist’s notoriety, the condition of the artwork, art market trends, as well as authenticity, provenance, and subject. An art appraiser also has to consider whether the appraisal report is for insurance, resale, donation, or estate purposes.

When we asked readers to submit artworks for this month’s Art Find we discovered a great local Santa Barbara area find. Our Carpinteria resident went treasure hunting about a year ago at the Carpinteria flea market where she came upon a painting of a hawk. She did not recognize the artist and decided to move on. An admirer of hawks, she said she couldn’t stop thinking about it and decided to go back. She bought it for $20.

As an art appraiser, my first big clue was the signature on the lower right corner identifying it as painting by Ethelinda. After some research I discovered Ethelinda Robbins studied art at the University of the Pacific in California. After a traveling throughout the world, she worked as an illustrator in Hawaii and New York City. How this painting got to Santa Barbara we don't know.

Upon moving back to California in 1969, she stopped doing illustration and focused on painting. She also dropped her last name and went simply by Ethelinda. While working in Santa Fe, New Mexico Ethelinda became entranced by the allure of the Southwestern deserts. She painted portraits of Native Americans, wildlife, and horses.

In my art appraisal, I found that collectors of Ethelinda’s work tend to pay the highest amounts for her well-known horse paintings. Paintings currently listed for sale in galleries range from $8,500-$27,000. Auction records are lower, ranging from $2,000-$4,000. Still, the scarcity and size of Ethelinda’s work gives “Hawk Portrait” of a strong market value. While the painting appears to need cleaning, it is in good condition. A demand exists for Ethelinda’s paintings.

The Appraisers Association of America defines Auction Replacement Value as “a reasonable amount in terms of US dollars which would be required to replace a property with another of similar age, quality, origin, appearance, provenance and condition within a reasonable length of time in an appropriate and relevant auction market.”

At auction this painting would be estimated between $5,000-$7,000. A treasure indeed. . .

Please submit your painting, drawing, or sculpture for next month’s Art Find. Email Us a photo and brief description.

Alissa Anderson Campbell is an art appraiser for Anderson Shea Art Appraisals. She specializes in appraising American art and European 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/