Paul Lacroix Oil Painting with Original Frame, ca. 1850
Appraised Value: $15,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:25)
Paintings & Drawings
Debra Force Fine Art, Inc.
GUEST: My wife and I bought it about 30 years ago from a antique dealer in the local area. She didn't give us any information about it. It was just a painting that we liked.
APPRAISER: Well, it's always good to buy what you like. And this is actually a very interesting painting, and we were able today to find a signature. And it's located right here in the lower left. And the signature reads "P. Lacroix," for Paul Lacroix. Now, Paul Lacroix was of French-Swiss descent. He was born in 1827 and he comes to the United States in the late 1840s. And he shows up in New York, actually, as being actively painting between 1858 and 1869. So he really is more considered an American painter rather than a European one since he did most of his work here. He traditionally painted still lifes, and they could be fruit, flowers or vegetables. Here we have one of his examples with fruit. He's most associated with an artist named Severin Roesen, who was of German descent. And Roesen worked in New York, and it's believed that Lacroix worked with him because their paintings are very, very similar in certain parts of their lives. After Roesen moves to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Lacroix emerges as an artist on his own. He also was an artist who exhibited at the National Academy of Design, which was very prestigious, as well as the Brooklyn Art Association. Now, this particular painting is quite interesting because both Roesen and Lacroix were very much painting in the 17th-century Dutch tradition. And in that type of painting, usually the fruit is placed very, very precisely and posed. In this case, we've got two or three layers of fruit, which is typical of what Roesen would do, but the scene is actually more natural. We see these leaves that are helter skelter; you’ve got a... cherries are a bit of a trompe l'oeil and they're not nearly as precise as what you would have found in most paintings of this time. Now, a painting like this was probably done around 1850, or in the early 1850s, so his midcareer. He died in 1869. The piece, of course, is oil on canvas. And as we are looking here, we can see it looks pretty grimy. We couldn't see the signature at all and really had to hunt for it. So, I think this piece would clean up tremendously. Generally speaking, a restorer would probably charge somewhere in the neighborhood of maybe up to about $500 to clean a painting of this size. And otherwise, it’s in very good condition. The frame is also original to the painting. It's quite a wonderful package when you have the frame and the painting match one another. You bought it how many years ago did you say?
GUEST: About 30 years ago.
APPRAISER: And what did you pay for it then?
GUEST: Well, it wasn't more than $50.
APPRAISER: A painting like this, if it were sold in a New York or East Coast gallery, today would sell in the range of $15,000.
GUEST: What a surprise. What a surprise. That is amazing.
APPRAISER: He's very popular. The top price for his work is actually around $68,000, and that was for a very rare subject with onions. The vegetable pictures tend to be a little bit more desirable because they’re more unusual.
GUEST: Thank you very much.
APPRAISER: Oh, well, you’re welcome. You're welcome.
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