Folk Art Portrait, ca. 1845
Appraised Value: $30,000 - $40,000 (1997)
$20,000 - $30,000 (2011)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:40)
Asian Arts, Paintings & Drawings
APPRAISER: Well, you've really made my day today.
GUEST: Oh, thanks.
APPRAISER: Real surprise.
APPRAISER: I wasn't expecting this when you came in. At first, I thought it was a poster and I didn't think it was original painting. Now, I want you to tell me about the subject, where she's from, and the history of it.
GUEST: Well, we know her name's Barbara according to the family genealogy. We're not quite sure which Barbara she is. She can either be the one that was born in 1752 or there was one born, like, 1830s. We do know that she came from a wealthy family out on Staten Island. The family had a ferry. Her uncles and grandfathers had connections with George Washington. We have lots of the family history like that.
APPRAISER: But you have no idea who might have painted it or...
GUEST: No, no.
APPRAISER: Well, I've had a lot of non-academic or folk paintings like this. It looks like a number of paintings that I've seen before, but I can't tell you exactly who might have done it. Now, what I want to tell you is this is the dream painting that everybody looks for in Americana. It's a little girl in a landscape. We've got a beautiful fence here, a beautiful rendition of her head, a non-academic painter-- this means somebody that's not exactly trained as an official academic artist with great background and training. But he's got all the wonderful decorative elements. There's the background. There's the lace, the flowers, the strawberries here, and he's even repeated the strawberries down here. So, it's really remarkable. Now, what you're seeing up here is the discoloration that shows that the varnish has changed color. It's never probably been cleaned. It's never had the varnish removed. And on the back, if you look at it, as you know, it has its original stretchers and canvas. Do you have any idea what this painting's worth?
GUEST: We had it appraised years ago for insurance purposes, but he wasn't able to tell us anything. He just gave us a...
APPRAISER: Well, in the market today, possibly at auction, I would think the picture would bring between $30,000 and $40,000.
GUEST: Really? That wasn't even close to what he insured it for for insurance purposes. But it is... as I said, it's what everybody wants in a great American primitive painting.
GUEST: Well, thank you.
APPRAISER: Thank you for bringing it in.
GUEST: Oh, you're welcome.
APPRAISER: So you are surprised?
GUEST: Yes, I am. It's great, thank you.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.