Appraisal Video: (3:41)
Paintings & Drawings
Debra Force Fine Art, Inc.
GUEST: My father's great-aunt was Emma Bellows, and she was the wife of George Bellows. When my father was a young boy, they used to visit Emma in Upstate New York, at her home there. He used to go and see the paintings in the house, and apparently there was tons of them. And he was the only boy that used to be interested in these paintings. Emma was so intrigued that this young boy loved the art so much that she actually gifted this painting to my father.
APPRAISER: Oh, that's wonderful.
GUEST: And it's been in my family ever since.
APPRAISER: And then you inherited it from your father?
GUEST: I did. I also enjoyed the painting, and it's going to be passed down through the family, hopefully, for a long time.
APPRAISER: That's great. It's a painting by George Bellows, who, of course, is one of the most important American artists in the course of our history. He ranks right along with Aikens, Homer, Sargent and Edward Hopper. He was born in Columbus, Ohio. And he actually was truly enchanted with art, because he gave up a professional baseball career in order to follow his artistic pursuits.
APPRAISER: He went to Ohio State and then went on to the New York School in New York, studying with Robert Henri, another important American artist. And that's where he met Emma, who was also a student, and they got married around 1909. By 1920, they moved to Woodstock, New York, which I guess is where your father was.
APPRAISER: Bellows was born in 1882, and he died very young, at the age of 42, of appendicitis in 1925. So his career was very short. And there is really not a lot of material out there, so it's always exciting to see one of his works. Now, the painting that you have here, do you have any idea where the subject is?
GUEST: It's been a tale in the family-- I'm not sure if it's true-- that it's the Catskill Mountains up in... by Woodstock. It was from his house there. And it was supposed to be after a storm that had gone through the mountain range, he painted it. I don't have any tangible information that that's, you know, exactly what it is. But it does look like the mountain ranges that are, you know, viewable from his home in Woodstock.
APPRAISER: This painting, of course, is unsigned. We've searched and not seen a signature. The provenance is so impeccable that obviously the authenticity of this painting is intact. In terms of authenticity, there is a catalogue raisonné project which is organized, and I think at some point you should submit the painting to that group, just more for information purposes as opposed to anything else. This painting may have been exhibited also, I think, at the Detroit Institute in 1913. And I do think the painting is from 1913, given the style, given the wonderful, heavy impasto, the palette-- this dark, bluish gray and then this bright green. It also has a rather dramatic sky, and Bellows was doing a lot of that in 1913 and primarily in Maine. So this particular subject being in the Catskills is very, very unusual for him. He did paint in Woodstock, but not scenes of the mountains like this.
APPRAISER: And this, of course, is also on panel, and it has a rather heavy varnish, which could be toned down and also cleaned, because up here you've got some coagulated varnish.
APPRAISER: And that's just on the surface. And so you could clean this very easily and it would brighten up tremendously.
GUEST: Oh, great.
APPRAISER: His work in terms of prices or value is all over the map. A painting like this-- given the size, the date and the subject matter-- a gallery in New York would probably sell it for $150,000.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh. Really?
APPRAISER: Yes, yes.
GUEST: Oh, that's fantastic!
APPRAISER: Yeah, it's really... it's really exciting.
GUEST: Oh, wow. Thank you.
APPRAISER: Oh, you're welcome. You're welcome. It's fantastic.