Appraisal Video: (2:54)
Paintings & Drawings
Debra Force Fine Art, Inc.
GUEST: I think I've had it about 60-plus years, and I bought it from a gallery here in Chicago. And it's by Grant Wood, who was an Iowa painter, and I'm from Iowa, so it had a sentimental attachment. And I think the title of this is "A Doorstep in Amana"-- Amana, Iowa, which is an Amish community, not too far away from where I was born. I just wanted to know how it stacks up in his paintings. I know it's not one of his significant ones.
APPRAISER: Grant Wood, of course, is one of the premier American regionalists, spending most of his time painting in Iowa. Of course, his perhaps most notable piece is the wonderful painting called "American Gothic," which shows the couple with the pitchfork. But he also, of course, painted a lot of scenes of Iowa-- rolling hills and things of that sort. Early on, he did do a little work in Europe, and his European paintings were very much in the style of yours, although yours is actually from 1930, which is well into his established career. This painting is a bit unusual in terms of its style for this period, because most of what he was doing in 1930 and a little later was more linear or realistic. Here, we've got much more of a looser brushwork and not nearly as defined. It's also painted on composition board, which is something that he did on occasion, but not all that frequently. He usually worked on canvas, also, of course, did drawings and lithographs. This might have been done on site, because it's on a board and it's small and it has sort of a spontaneous feel about it, which makes it very nice. Do you remember how much you paid for the painting so many years ago?
GUEST: I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever, but I think it was probably in the hundreds of dollars, not more.
APPRAISER: In terms of the market, most people, when they think of Grant Wood, probably prefer his more typical subject matter. Grant Wood is extremely popular. His work is very marketable today. Paintings like this have, in recent years, sold somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000 to $50,000.
GUEST: Like this one?
APPRAISER: Yes, absolutely. Last month, at an auction house, a painting of this size from Amana of a cider mill actually sold for $130,000.
GUEST: My word.
APPRAISER: Now, that's not to say that all works are in that range. We'd have to see, if another one came on the market, if it, in fact, made it in the same league. Then we could evaluate this one in that category. Up to this past month, we'd probably have evaluated this in the range of $30,000 to $50,000.
GUEST: Well, that's a good deal more than I paid for it.