19th-Century John La Farge Drawing
Appraised Value: $50,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:48)
Paintings & Drawings
Owner and President
Harwood Fine Arts, Inc.
GUEST: It's a pastel done by John La Farge and my great-grandfather purchased it from him in the late 1800s. And then it has been passed down in our family on through the generations. My mother gave it to me in the late '60s as a wedding present.
APPRAISER: Well, La Farge is associated with Boston in many people's minds because perhaps the most well known work that he did was at Trinity Church in Boston. He was actually a New Yorker, but he's certainly well known as an American artist of the late 19th century and the turn of the century and most people, I think, are more familiar with his stained-glass work. It's one of the reasons I was interested to see this when you brought it in, because he is known to a smaller group of people as a painter. And he was actually a very well versed gentleman and he worked in many different medium. And the paintings are some of the loveliest paintings of the period in America, but not nearly as well known as the stained glass. He trained in Europe. He was an artisan as well. He actually did the hands-on work himself on a lot of the glasswork. It's one of the reasons the glass is so distinctive and so... sort of sensitive, as opposed to commercial-feeling. Um... and not long before this, the Trinity Church murals were done by him. They were done in 1876, I believe. And your work here, as you've pointed out to me, is signed and dated right down here in the lower right and it's dated 1881. It would be interesting to do the research and see whether this may perhaps be a study for another mural series or project he might have been doing. And it would be easy to track that down, because there's been a lot of research and exhibition work done on La Farge in the recent past. Um... I guess I need to ask you, since you already knew quite a bit about it, what is it that you were hoping I could help you with today?
GUEST: Basically, I was really just wanting an appraisal. It's been in the family. It has never been appraised or insured or anything, and I just felt it was time that we put a value on this, I guess.
APPRAISER: It's a good idea. I'm going to assume, because of the family history and so on, that it's an insurance value you'd like, because I doubt you have any intention of selling it.
GUEST: Correct, yes.
APPRAISER: But you should certainly have a valuation on this, because for insurance purposes, I'd suggest a figure around $50,000.
GUEST: Oh, my word.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh.
APPRAISER: He's a lot more interesting and well known than you might realize, and you have quite a treasure here.
GUEST: Oh... I'm speechless.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2013 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.