Walter Launt Palmer Painting, ca. 1900
Appraised Value: $50,000 - $70,000 (2007)
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:02)
Paintings & Drawings
Vice President Director of Fine Arts
WOMAN: I got it about 22 years ago, and I got it basically because it was a snow scene. I bought it in the thrift store. And it was $125.
GUEST: Which seemed like a whole lot of money at the time, and I even waited a week to buy it. And then the lady who ran the thrift store was nice enough to hold it for me for another week until my husband got paid. And I love it because of the snow, and I just wanted more information about it.
APPRAISER: Well, you know the artist?
GUEST: I knew the artist. I looked it up before I bought it. Walter Launt Palmer.
APPRAISER: Mm-hmm. Yeah, it's Walter Launt Palmer. He was a 19th-century artist. Do you know anything more about him at all?
GUEST: His father was a sculptor, and other than that...
APPRAISER: Well, he was a 19th-century artist trained as a Hudson River School artist. He was born in 1854 and lived to 1932. It was painted probably around 1900. He did almost exclusively these snow scenes, and he was very popular during his day. And he's able to capture the tones of the sunset, the beautiful light coming through the trees. He sort of went out of favor, but he's coming back in these days. One thing about this painting, though, which is very evident, is the fact that it's under glass. Did you put it under the glass at all?
GUEST: No, it was under glass when I purchased it, and the paper on the back mentioned that it... over fireplace in library, and I just figured somebody put glass on it to protect it from soot or something.
APPRAISER: Yeah. Right. Well, these days, general practice is to not have paintings under glass, but the ones that have been under glass have been protected. We don't like it to a certain extent, because there's a... sometimes a micro climate that happens under there, that they tend to bake a little bit underneath there. But it's saved many paintings from a mop handle going through it, or a tennis ball being thrown at it by the kids. Or as you say, the soot from a fireplace or nicotine smoke, things like that. So what we have here is a really good condition Walter Launt Palmer.
GUEST: Oh, good!
APPRAISER: If you look at it, you can see up in here this impasto, and it's very distinctive. You can see the brushstrokes up in there, beautiful light coming through the sun and the trees, and then also down here, we love the pinks and the lavenders, you know, all these colors he's brought out of white snow. And here we have the signature W.L. Palmer, Walter Launt Palmer. I would recommend at some point having it reframed and a light cleaning.
GUEST: Was this the original frame?
APPRAISER: Most likely not, but it's probably been in there for at least 50 years. So it's a terrific example of his work, and it's been preserved very well because of the glass. If you brought this to me about three years ago, I would have said $20,000 to $30,000.
APPRAISER: But he's recently spiked. Some of my colleagues... Right now, if I put this in auction, I'd put an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000.
GUEST: Oh, no! Oh.
GUEST: Oh, my. (giggling): Oh! (laughing) How much... I'm serious, how much did you say?
APPRAISER: $50,000 to $70,000.
GUEST: Fifty... Oh! Oh! (giggling) I can't wait to tell my husband! (laughs) (laughing) Oh, my. (laughing): Oh. (laughing) Ooh!
APPRAISER: Now, you be careful with it on the way home now.
GUEST: He's driving. He's driving. It's okay. Oh!
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