Frank Tenney Johnson Painting, ca. 1931
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $20,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:00)
Paintings & Drawings
Vice President Director of Fine Arts
GUEST: Well, I'm originally from Oklahoma, and the American bison is a cultural icon to me and it's the monarch of the plains. I found it in a gallery in upstate New York, of all places. It seemed to be quite out of place there.
APPRAISER: Yeah. Did you pay a lot of money for it?
GUEST: Well, um... I paid about $3,500 for it.
APPRAISER: Okay. About how long ago?
GUEST: Within the last ten years.
APPRAISER: You obviously know the artist, Frank Tenney Johnson.
GUEST: There's a museum in northeastern Oklahoma, in Bartlesville, by the name of Woolaroc, that had his paintings that I saw as a young kid. Growing up we'd take high school trips up there and... but it was a very different style. Those paintings I saw were kind of night paintings.
APPRAISER: Yeah, Frank Tenney Johnson is known for those night paintings. He does cowboy scenes, scenes of the range. He was born in Iowa, trained in New York, came out to Colorado around the turn of the century and then went to California around 1920. He was a commercial artist, did a lot of illustrations and knew people like Russell and Norman Rockwell and other people like that. But I thought this was a nice thing that you brought an American bison. I think it's the state animal here. His market has really gone up. It's gone up and down, but recently it's very high. There's a lot of interest in American painting, especially American paintings of the West. And when you get something that's very iconic-- very centered, very large bison there-- it's something that collectors really like. It's a little bit smaller for him. There's only one other thing I would say would be a detriment to this painting. It's something I learned early on in the art world is what you have here is a southbound view of a northbound bison. Okay? And so, when you're looking at it, you're looking at not his best side.
GUEST: Right, I see.
APPRAISER: But I would say a value these days, it's probably in the neighborhood of $15,000 to $20,000.
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