William Aiken Walker Oil Painting
Appraised Value: $7,000 - $10,000 (2007)
$8,000 - $12,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:29)
Paintings & Drawings, Rugs & Textiles
GUEST: It was just found in an abandoned house that was going to be tore down, so there was a lot of trash throwed outside in a pile, and this was in the pile of trash.
APPRAISER: This was in a pile of trash? That's really pretty amazing. Do you know anything about the painting?
GUEST: I looked it up on the Internet, and I've seen that it was a painter that had some prints on the Internet. So that's all I know about it.
APPRAISER: Well, the painting is by an American artist, who's really a Southern painter from Charleston, William Aiken Walker. Walker was born in 1838 and he died in 1921. While starting in Charleston, he traveled throughout the South. He traveled through New Orleans. He actually lived for a time in Baltimore, and spent some time overseas in Germany. Now, his father was a cotton agent, and Walker was essentially considered a self-taught painter, an itinerant painter. And he did landscapes, he did some still lifes, but what William Aiken Walker is best known for is really exactly what you have. Here, we have a family, and kind of a little charming addition, we've got a hog with some chickens, roosters, and then we've got a dog here, sitting right by the foot of the cabin. He was really popular in his day. He would go to a lot of these Southern tourist areas, such as New Orleans, and he'd set up shop. He'd take artist boards, and he'd actually cut them up to designated sizes-- usually, this long narrow size, although he did do some formats that were vertical-- and he would do a lot of paintings like this, pretty much one after another. He was very, very prolific. It's a little bit difficult to peg exactly when it would have been done. Generally, the paintings aren't dated. As you said, you found the painting in a house that had been abandoned. Down the road, a little bit has happened here in terms of some scratches, a little bit of surface abrasions, some losses, and some of the areas in here through the sky, a little bit yellowed. And I think it's the kind of thing that if it were shown to a professional restorer, it could be very lightly cleaned. And I think it would really come out that much better. It's a terrific example of his work. A painting today like this, with the condition issues, which in the scheme of things I think are generally minor, I think it's probably a painting at auction that would sell for between $7,000 and $10,000. It's a terrific thing to find. You're very lucky.
GUEST: Oh, yes.
APPRAISER: Well, thank you so much.
GUEST: I want to cry.
APPRAISER: No, that's...
GUEST: I'm going to be flying high going home.
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