Appraisal Video: (3:49)
Paintings & Drawings
Director American & European Paintings & Prints
APPRAISER: Tell us a little about what you brought.
GUEST: A painting of apples. (both laughing)
APPRAISER: How did you come by it?
GUEST: My uncle had purchased it from an antiques store, or a flea market or something, and he had passed away, and it was brought to me.
APPRAISER: Okay, so you inherited it from him.
APPRAISER: Now was that recently, or...
GUEST: Uh, 2005?
APPRAISER: Okay, and what do you know about it other than it's beautiful apples.
GUEST: Well, it's Stanley S. David, and I've never heard of him before.
APPRAISER: Okay. Well, there's probably a reason you haven't. He's not generally known by that name. He's actually known as De Scott Evans. He was born David Scott Evans in 1847, and for whatever reason, he decided to play with his name a little bit. So, for a while, he signed his works as first initial, "D", Scott Evans, and then it became De Scott Evans, "D-E" Scott Evans, but he would play with pseudonyms as well. He would use the Stanley S. David that you're seeing here, and you can see he's attached, into this little still life, this little calling card that says Prize Apples, that tells us what the title of the picture is, and then here's his name, or his nom de plume, or maybe "nom de brush," Stanley S. David, and his job as artist. This whole element tells us quite a bit about him. He was sort of a quirky artist. He's, ironically, very much a different artist as we know him today than he was in his day. In his day, he actually painted as De Scott Evans, and he was best known for portraits of beautiful, stylish young women in elegant interiors.
APPRAISER: And he would generally do these trompe l'oeil pieces, these still lives-- trompe l'oeil is a French term meaning "to fool the eye"-- and he would do these more for himself, it seems. The commercial work were the portraits. Those stylish young women were very Victorian in feel, and although they were very prized in their day, today they've really sort of fallen out of favor, and instead, what collectors tend to be interested in are these types of work. And what makes this different from sort of a typical still life, rather than being an arrangement of, say, flowers or fruit in a compote, we've got the apples sort of hanging here by strings as though they're hanging in front of a cabinet door, and he's very cleverly, he's attached this business card here with a tack. We see the shadow that the tack purportedly makes fall on the business card. We see the shadow from the light that's created underneath the business card. The work is oil on canvas. Now, while it's signed, it isn't dated. But De Scott Evans did not live terribly long. He actually died in 1898. So this was probably painted in the 1880s. That's when he started working on these trompe l'oeils. The frame is a later edition, probably done sometime in the mid-20th century, probably 1940s or so. Now, do you have any sense of the value for the piece?
GUEST: Just what my uncle had said it was appraised for.
APPRAISER: And what was it appraised for?
GUEST: Well, he said it was $10,000, but somebody else in the family had said $6,500.
GUEST: So, I'm not sure.
APPRAISER: Okay. Well, at auction, a work very similar to this, but without the wonderful card, just brought $12,000 at auction.
APPRAISER: So, this is easily a $12,000 picture for auction. Were you to insure it, however, I would recommend you insure it around $22,000.
APPRAISER: Did I surprise you?
GUEST: Yeah, you did.
APPRAISER: How do you like them apples?
GUEST: Well, I don't know about them... (both laugh) But I like apples.