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    1953 James Kenneth Ralston Painting

    Appraised Value:


    Appraised on: June 26, 2010

    Appraised in: Billings, Montana

    Appraised by: Alan Fausel

    Category: Paintings & Drawings

    Episode Info: Billings, Hour 1 (#1510)

    Originally Aired: April 11, 2011

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 1  

    More Like This:

    Form: Landscape, Portrait
    Material: Paint
    Period / Style: 20th Century
    Value Range: $15,000

    Update 6.27.2011:

    In this segment, appraiser Alan Fausel mistakenly said that the first initial in artist J.K.Ralston's name stood for John. In fact, the "J.K." stands for James Kenneth.

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    Appraisal Video: (2:17)


    Appraised By:

    Alan Fausel
    Paintings & Drawings
    Vice President Director of Fine Arts

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: The man on the horse is my grandfather. He was a neighbor of J.K. Ralston on the Missouri Breaks. Culbertson is across the river from there. And he was also a neighbor of Charlie Russell. When my grandfather died at a fairly early age, my grandmother requested that Kenny, as they called him, would paint a picture of my grandfather, which he did. And that was in 1953. My grandfather died in 1924.

    APPRAISER: The artist we're dealing with is John Kenneth Ralston. And your grandfather must have known him when he was a much younger man. Ralston was born in 1896.

    GUEST: Oh, yes.

    APPRAISER: But lived a long time, until 1987. So he's recalling some of his youth. It's a Western painting, and it's a painting that has a lot of associations here in Billings.

    GUEST: Yes.

    APPRAISER: You mentioned he's a neighbor of Charles Russell, who was a very famous Western artist.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: And he has a lot of things in common, I think, with Russell. He's a younger generation. But one of the things is the closeness to the land. Ralston's family were ranchers. His first love, his first vocation, was cattle ranching…

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: …before he became a painter.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: We see your grandfather here on horseback.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: I guess he had a distinctive handlebar mustache.

    GUEST: Yes.

    APPRAISER: And is this the brand for the family?

    GUEST: Uh-huh.

    APPRAISER: Now, it looks like he has horses. Did they have horses or cattle?

    GUEST: He had horses.

    APPRAISER: Horses. Billings is important because Ralston has his studio here in Billings.

    GUEST: Right. There's a log cabin studio.

    APPRAISER: That's a very common thing to have out here, out west. You had the studio of Charles Russell here in Montana, Remington down in Wyoming. The frame is a Western frame. It's fairly plain, but I don't think I would change it or anything. It's a family painting. It's not something I think you would ever part with.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: He's a lesser light in the firmament, but he's still a good, competent painter. And I would think if you were to insure this I'd probably insure it for about $15,000 these days.

    GUEST: $15,000?

    APPRAISER: Yeah.

    GUEST: Great, yeah. That's wonderful.

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