Italian Micromosaic Portrait, ca. 1880
Appraised Value: $30,000 - $40,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:14)
C. Wesley Cowan
Arms & Militaria, Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Photographs
Cowan's Auctions, Inc.
GUEST: I have a micromosaic. A great-grandmother brought it back from Rome.
APPRAISER: When, about?
GUEST: Uh, around 1920.
APPRAISER: It's a great thing. A micromosaic is a piece of art done in little tiny pieces of, in this case, glass. So this whole picture is made up of literally thousands of pieces of glass. And what kind of stone did you think this was it's set into?
GUEST: It's black onyx.
APPRAISER: It's onyx? It's probably slate in which there's been a little well cut out where a mastic could be put in and then the picture could be made out of these little tiny pieces of glass. Now, this piece of micromosaic you think is from the 1920s, but I can tell you this is very much an 1880s-style frame. So I would guess that even though your relatives might have bought it in the 1920s, it was made in the 1880s. It was made for probably tourists, but wealthy tourists. Most micromosaics are classical buildings and landscapes. Very few are figures like this. And notice all the tiny little pieces of glass that go into this, and then you move over here from looking at the wall, at the guy's face and see how incredibly detailed it is. It's signed down here "Roma," Rome. And then there's an artist's name here, but it's very difficult to read. At some point the frame was refinished. I know you said you didn't do anything. It would have been better if the frame hadn't been refinished. But it still doesn't take away from how wonderful this piece is. How much do you think it's worth?
GUEST: I would hope well over $100,000 but I don't know.
APPRAISER: Well over $100,000? Well, it might bring that on a really great day, but I think in the poll that we have done among the appraisers, we feel very comfortable saying $30,000 to $40,000.
GUEST: $30,000 to $40,000?
APPRAISER: And then on a really good day it could go north of $40,000 very easily. It's just a magnificent example. A true piece of art. It's been great seeing it.
GUEST: Thank you.
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