1879 René de Saint-Marceaux Bronze
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $20,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:30)
GUEST: I bought it from friends that were in the antique business when they liquidated their business. This was back in the Boston area, in about '76.
APPRAISER: What did you pay for it at the time?
APPRAISER: That was a lot of money.
GUEST: (laughing) I liked him.
APPRAISER: So are you a collector, or was this something that struck your eye?
GUEST: No, he just struck my eye, and I had to have him when they offered him to me. Yeah.
APPRAISER: So you don't know much about the artist or...?
GUEST: I just know that he's French.
APPRAISER: Well, it is a French artist. René de Saint-Marceaux. And he was born in 1845 and died in 1915. He did a lot of public commissions, but he also did some small-scale works that were mostly portraits and animals. I think those were the more commercially viable works. This is a wonderful figure of a harlequin, a jester.
GUEST: It may have been what attracted you to it. I think it was the mask, the eyes. Yeah.
APPRAISER: No, it's wonderful. And he's standing on this naturalistic wooden floor, this great, defiant pose.
GUEST: Very confident.
APPRAISER: And it's signed here on the back. We can spin him around a little bit. But it's signed Saint-Marceaux here, 1879. And then it has a Barbedienne foundry, which was one of Paris's best known bronze foundries.
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: And then there's this little mark here, which shows that it's a reduced version of a larger-scale piece.
APPRAISER: There's a marble of the same subject that is a life-size figure.
GUEST: Where is it located now?
APPRAISER: It's in Vichy, in France.
GUEST: Okay, okay.
APPRAISER: And there are also on the market have been some life-size plaster reproductions of the marble, and this version, which seems to be his best-known sculpture, in a whole bunch of different sizes--so everything from probably around a foot high and up. And this is probably the largest scale.
APPRAISER: So you paid a fair amount for it in the '70s.
APPRAISER: Have you had it looked at in this intervening time?
GUEST: I did about ten years ago with a local antique dealer. And he thought about $6,000.
APPRAISER: Based on its size, the fact that it's the largest scale, I think that price was undervalued. I'd say in today's market, at auction, probably in the $15,000 to $20,000 range.
GUEST: You're kidding.
GUEST: What a wonderful surprise.
APPRAISER: Yeah, it is a wonderful piece.
GUEST: (laughing) I can't believe it.
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