Whistler & Rembrandt Etchings
Appraised Value: $6,000 - $10,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (3:31)
Prints & Posters
Director, Works of Art on Paper
Swann Auction Galleries
GUEST: I've known this woman since I was four years old. She and her husband moved to the block back in 1949 and had a house built and I became her friend. She never had any children and over the years we communicated. And in '97, her husband died and she started clearing out the house and she started giving me things.
APPRAISER: And do you know where she got them from?
GUEST: Yes, she used to do domestic work in Pasadena and the woman she worked for gave her things over the years. And so then she gave them to me.
APPRAISER: Excellent. The print closest to me is an etching by arguably the first great etcher, Rembrandt. And it represents Christ disputing with the doctors. And it's signed up here "Rembrandt" and dated "1654."
APPRAISER: The print closest to you is an etching by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. And that's signed down here and dated "Whistler 1859."
APPRAISER: Basically we have 200 years separating two of the greatest printmakers who ever lived.
APPRAISER: Rembrandt was the first major etcher. And etching was revived by Whistler some 200 years later. And what you see here is the revival--
GUEST: I see.
APPRAISER: --of this process. There is this spot in the Rembrandt print here in the upper right, and that was caused probably by somebody dropping water or something like that onto the print itself. And then down in the lower right, you can see there's a soft crease that has broken through the paper, so you have a break in the ink. It's also darkened over time.
APPRAISER: The paper's sort of stained. Originally, the sheet that the print is on would've been more the color of the matte,
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: a nice cream color. And that's probably from sunlight and by association with acidic materials. The condition of the Whistler overall is very good. That is also nice to me because it's on a different sort of paper. It's a fibrous Japan paper, which is sort of a deluxe paper that Whistler used. Now this is a later courier print by Rembrandt. He worked from the 1630s through the 1660s. And the '50s were sort of his last major decade of output. The Whistler print on the other hand is one of the earliest prints he made just after he had gotten to Paris in the late 1850s. In terms of value... do you have any idea, any sense of what they might be worth?
GUEST: No. I can't tell you the things that I've thrown away since watching the ROADSHOW that I know had value. So, no, I have no idea what the value of these pieces are, but I thought because these are numbered and this doesn't seem to be an only copy, I didn't think it was worth that much because it's not a single copy.
APPRAISER: Well, remarkably, they're about the same value.
APPRAISER: At auction, each would sell for approximately $3,000 to $5,000.
APPRAISER: The Rembrandt possibly a little bit more. The condition problems that I discussed with the Rembrandt, they are all reversible. And all of that could be done for a few hundred dollars.
APPRAISER: And that will only help its value.
APPRAISER: And the Whistler's a very scarce print. I've not seen it at auction in the last ten years. So that one could surprise us, too. It could sell for more than $5,000. But basically around $6,000 to $10,000 for the prints.
GUEST: Okay. Well, that sounds good.
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