Alson Skinner Clark Oil Painting, ca. 1900
Appraised Value: $30,000 - $50,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:47)
Paintings & Drawings
Bonhams & Butterfields
GUEST: Unfortunately, I know very little about the painting. You asked me earlier if I even looked up the artist. I didn't bother because it's not one of my favorites. But I bought it through an estate where I grew up in that town, and the lady had a bunch of paintings, and she was going into a care facility, so my mom called and said, "Why don't you come down and see what we can get?" And that's the story.
APPRAISER: And how long ago was that?
GUEST: I think in the early '70s.
APPRAISER: You said you didn't like it, so where has it been?
GUEST: Well, it was in a closet for a while.
APPRAISER: In a closet?
GUEST: It finally made it out to the wall, but it was in a hallway upstairs where no one else could see it.
APPRAISER: Okay, and do you remember how much you paid for it?
GUEST: Well, I think it was either $50, it could have been $75. I'm not sure.
APPRAISER: Well, the painting is by Alson S. Clark, and this picture was done in Paris in... I've been having trouble with the date. I think that says "1908." He was born in Chicago. He had wealthy parents. In 1898, he was in Paris. He actually studied with Whistler, who had a lot of influence on his work.
APPRAISER: Whistler was a notoriously difficult teacher, but Clark always said that he really appreciated that time that he spent with him. He traveled extensively. He was in Paris on and off until about 1914. His real claim to fame is actually the work that he did on the Panama Canal. He was there when they were building it, and he did a number of paintings of it. And that's what a lot of people know him for. He died in about '46, in his 70s. This picture is among a set of things that he did in Paris. What you have here is a beautiful day, summer, obviously, in a garden in Paris. I'm pretty sure that's the Tuileries, but I'm not positive. This painting is executed in oil on canvas, so pretty typical for him, and it's in great shape.
GUEST: Does it need to be cleaned?
APPRAISER: It does need to be cleaned. It's actually on the order of filthy dirty.
GUEST: Oh, thank you.
APPRAISER: But that's not bad. The varnish is discolored as well, but there's nothing, you know, egregious that couldn't be corrected pretty quickly. And you'll probably be pleased to know that it's worth today at auction conservatively in the realm of $30,000 to $50,000.
GUEST: You are kidding me. That's incredible. $30,000. Oh, my. So... I don't know what to say. I'm stunned. I guess I like it a lot more now. It'll have a place of honor from now on.
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