Appraisal Video: (3:59)
Prints & Posters
Director, Works of Art on Paper
Swann Auction Galleries
GUEST: My wife, before I met her, was going around with this guy here. He lives in California now. He's married and long gone out of her life.
APPRAISER: Right. It was an off-and-on relationship. They had a falling out...
GUEST: They had a number of falling outs, but during one particular period, he thought a clever way to get back with her would be to give her a Picasso autograph if he could get it, so he wrote to the famous columnist for the Herald Tribune and for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, Art Buchwald. Asked Art Buchwald in a very funny letter, begged him, "Please get Picasso's autograph for me. "That would make my girlfriend very happy and we'd be back together." Well, it was a slow time in Paris at the Herald Tribune, so Art Buchwald decided he would do a column about this, and he said maybe Picasso would come through on this. Well, sure enough, Douglas Duncan, a photographer friend of Buchwald's and also a very close friend of Picasso's, was with Picasso. And he read the column in the Paris newspaper and he read it to Picasso, who was painting. Picasso supposedly put down his paintbrushes, said, "Hand me a piece of paper and some pencils," and he did this colored drawing here. And he signed it "Pour Miss Gloria Segall." That was my wife's maiden name. Right. He signed it "Picasso." And then a telegram came to Harvey Brodsky back in Philadelphia. The newspapers, all the newspapers were talking about this. It was the first time that Picasso had ever done anything like this. The irony of it, of course, is that he's out of the picture now, right? I married her. And therefore, I married into a family with a Picasso.
APPRAISER: It's a wonderful color crayon drawing by Picasso. You see it is dated, in the lower right, 1958. And it was done in Cannes, France. And the dedication to your future wife. And you can see also it has fold marks on it to be put into a letter. Now, it's not exactly true that it's uncommon for Picasso to have done this. Specifically, it's more uncommon for him to have done something like this to help a man try to regain the love of a woman. But Picasso actually drew a lot of designs like this on the front of books and exhibition covers for shows that he did, so we do see them quite often. We have sold checks in the amount of a dollar that Picasso would get, do a drawing on the back, cash the check, and so the check would go back to the person who'd have a Picasso drawing. So he was in the practice of doing quick drawings like this.
GUEST: And you know, the envelope that this came in-- which I cannot find, it's misplaced-- the stationery was Picasso's personal watermarked stationery. You can hold it up to the light and you can see his name.
APPRAISER: Actually, you said that you had taped it on the back of the frame.
GUEST: We wanted to keep them together. Of course, they didn't wind up together.
APPRAISER: So it was taped on here?
GUEST: Right, it was taped on there and it had the colored pencils used on the front, like, it has little stripes around the edge.
APPRAISER: So you don't know where that envelope is?
GUEST: It's somewhere... we're going to look for it.
APPRAISER: Okay, so you actually have two drawings by Picasso. You can only find one at the moment.
APPRAISER: So have you had any occasion to have the drawing appraised, or...?
GUEST: Many years ago, I took it to a traveling clinic that came around to different hotels. Picasso was still alive and at the time, it was estimated to be worth about $6,000, and they said the one good thing about it was all this authenticity.
APPRAISER: The background documentation really does help this and really any other work of art like this. At auction today, I would say a drawing like this has a value of about $12,000 to $18,000. With all that background documentation and the story that you have for it, with all the characters who were involved in this, Art Buchwald and Douglas Duncan, I would put its auction value at $15,000 to $20,000.
GUEST: Wow. That's good to know. I can't wait to tell my wife.
APPRAISER: And even that value doesn't mean so much in that you got the lady.
GUEST: That's right, that's the most important thing.
APPRAISER: Now, if you find the envelope, that's at least another couple thousand dollars, so go home today and look through the drawers.