Peter Hunt Folk Art Bench
Appraised Value: $1,000 - $1,500
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:38)
Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture
GUEST: I was very interested in folk-art painting, and I knew about Peter Hunt. And when we were in an antiques show in Minneapolis, I happened to spot this Peter Hunt bench. And it's not my husband's sort of thing, but I convinced him that we should buy it. It stayed at the end our bed, and it's been there for ten or 15 years.
APPRAISER: Great. Let me turn it down here. The exciting thing here is really the painting on the top. Tell me what drew you to buy this piece.
GUEST: Well, the colors and the little figures, and I felt we were very fortunate to find it. I hope it really is a Peter Hunt bench.
APPRAISER: Well, it's a wonderful bench, and it's painted in the mid-20th century, in the 1940s. Peter Hunt was a decorator and a man-about-town in Provincetown and Cape Cod region in Massachusetts. And he had a shop called the Peasant Shop, where he sold old furniture that he had hand-painted himself. And the reason that I think this is particularly interesting is that he is drawing on, when he painted this, a long tradition of folk painters over the last two centuries of the Pennsylvania Germans and other painters who were decorating furniture. People are always asking us "What are collectibles of the future?" And we have seen with other artists, contemporaries of Peter Hunt, people like Ralph Cahoon, um... whose folk paintings were underappreciated for a long time and now are bringing huge prices in the market. I think that Peter Hunt is probably a candidate for being one of those underappreciated artists that in the next ten or 20 years will go up in value a lot. The painting on this is very fun. It's a depiction of a boat departing with wonderful ladies here offering flowers up at the departure. The inscription here is in French, and it talks about the departure of a boat, and there's a date after that that looks like '44, which is on the right time frame for when Peter Hunt was sort of at the height of his work. Below you can see his signature, "'Ovince," which is a shortened version of "Provincetown," which is just locating it, and it's his way of signing the piece. You were curious about whether this was, in fact, by Peter Hunt. In a new, emerging market like this, there's very little scholarship to go on. Peter Hunt published books on how to paint, so we know that he was influencing lots of other people. But I do think this was painted by Peter Hunt. The way the paint is rendered on the top of this is very fluid and painted with great ease, and that's a difficult thing to copy if you are only emulating what someone else is doing; it tends to look more strained and carefully done. So I think it's a wonderful bench, and I think you've bought it at a great time in the market. And maybe, like Ralph Cahoon, down the road this will be worth exponentially more. How much did you pay for it at the show?
GUEST: I'm pretty sure it was $225.
APPRAISER: I would expect in the current market for it to be worth probably $1,000 to $1,500.
GUEST: My goodness.
APPRAISER: And who knows? In 20 years, it could be worth many times that.
GUEST: Thank you very much.
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