Gerhard Bakker Works Progress Administration Prints
Appraised Value: $2,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (1:53)
Prints & Posters
Director, Works of Art on Paper
Swann Auction Galleries
GUEST: I work in a civic building, and they were standing by the trash pile waiting to be thrown out, and I liked them. I was attracted to the quality. And when I saw the label and saw it was the public arts, I said to my boss, "You can't throw those out." And he says, "Well, if you want them, take them." Nobody else wanted them.
APPRAISER: Well, you're absolutely right, uh, that they are the WPA prints, as you can tell by the, by the labels that you see on the bottom of both of the frames-- these plaques in brass,
APPRAISER: which say they're from the WPA. It's very unusual to find prints of this nature in the original frames.
APPRAISER: And it's a good thing that they were in the frames, because it tipped you off to that.
APPRAISER: The prints are by a German-born artist who worked in Milwaukee-- Gerhard Bakker. And he did primarily linoleum cuts and wood cuts. And these are a pair of linoleum cuts.
APPRAISER: They're unusual, first, in the frames that they're in. And because they were done for the WPA, they're also in a very small edition. They normally didn't print much more than 15 impressions of these at a time.
APPRAISER: They're also very interesting because of their semi-industrial nature.
APPRAISER: The views are very stark, and the technique itself lends itself to the depictions here. They're actually in very good condition, too.
APPRAISER: It's unusual to find these prints in good condition, and as I said, in the original state that they were issued.
APPRAISER: I've never seen them in the frames with the plaques on them. If they came up to auction, they would bring about $2,000 for the pair.
GUEST: Oh, my. Do I have to tell my boss? (laughs)
APPRAISER: You did very well. No, you don't have to, but you did very well for, for finding these and salvaging them, more or less.
GUEST: Oh, that's wonderful. Yes. I didn't-- I couldn't bear to see them thrown out.
GUEST: Thank you.
APPRAISER: They're wonderful.
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