Appraisal Video: (3:20)
Paintings & Drawings
Colleene Fesko Works of Art
GUEST: Got this from my mother. She grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, where her father was a librarian at the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss.
GUEST: And this was commissioned, I guess you would say, by my father for her, uh, by the artist John McCrady. He was a Mississippian by birth, a New Orleanian by profession, or where he had his studio in New Orleans. They lived a few houses down from each other in New Orleans. Daddy was, uh, in Tulane Medical School, and my mother was in social work school at Tulane, and they were introduced by the artist, John McCrady, and his wife, Mary Basso McCrady.
APPRAISER: Well, that's great. It's such an interesting portrait, and John McCrady is such an interesting artist.
APPRAISER: He's arguably one of the most important Louisiana artists, if not Southern artists of the 20th century.
APPRAISER: And looking up his work and style and subject matter, it was interesting to me that he studied at the University of Mississippi, and also, at the Art Students League in New York.
APPRAISER: And his style is such a combination of those two places. On the one hand, you have great realism, to the point of almost surrealism. The background of the piece and even in the print that you brought along with you. The Wreck of the Old '97. The realism is really heightened, and I think that's what makes him one of the most interesting 20th century Southern artists. Now, to my mind, the style of the painting is sort of '30s, '40s. Uh, when was the painting actually done?
GUEST: Well, we know it was finally completed, uh, in November 1943. Uh, my father had written home from the Philippines during the war, kind of admonishing John for not having finished it yet, but then we got word... or he got word that within days after writing that letter, it was completed, November of '43.
APPRAISER: And the wonderful print of The Wreck of the Old '97 was in 1942. In terms of subject matter, he's best known for his scenes of the rural South. Historical scenes, uh, scenes on plantations, scenes in old New Orleans. And really sort of vibrant, really interesting takes on what was going on at the city during that time. There's some discoloration here that I think is in the varnish layer.
APPRAISER: And that might clean up. His price range is quite high. Pieces have sold at auction for as much as $300,000 by the artist. Portraits are a different category. Portraits are more specific. More... Of more value to the family in many ways. There was a portrait, however, at auction that sold for $17,000 by the artist. Given that, I would estimate the lithograph at probably between $300 and $500, and the oil painting of your mother at auction, between $10,000 and $15,000, with an insurance value of about $15,000.
GUEST: Well, thank you.
APPRAISER: Did you get to meet him?
GUEST: Oh, I was young, but, yes. He had his studio on Bourbon Street, and, uh, what I remember most about it was the nude model that was present when I was visiting there.