French Modern Art Collection
Appraised Value: $71,200 - $71,500 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 5
Appraisal Video: (3:42)
Prints & Posters
Director, Works of Art on Paper
Swann Auction Galleries
APPRAISER: Well, it's pretty astounding that you show up in the show with three works by some of the greatest artists in the 20th century in France.
GUEST: My sister collected, and I inherited them from her.
APPRAISER: So your sister was a collector, and she owned the Picasso, the Rodin and the Matisse?
APPRAISER: And have you had them appraised lately? Do you have any idea what the value of them is?
GUEST: Just had them hanging on the wall.
APPRAISER: Okay, well, let me start with the one closest to you. That is a Picasso etching. It's a portrait etching that he would have done in his mid-career, in the 1950s. And you were wondering, I think, why that was in reverse.
GUEST: Didn't understand it.
APPRAISER: Well, he would have signed his name in the etching plate straight forward as Picasso. And when it printed on the paper, it would print in reverse. Now, the reason why this is not signed in pencil, like most of his etchings, is because it was printed later. He had sold the plate to someone else, and they had printed from his plate, and obviously because somebody else has printed from the plate they weren't allowed to sign it with Picasso's signature. Only he was doing that. So that's your Picasso etching. It's a portrait of his good friend. Probably printed around the late 1960s, early 1970s. This is a lithograph by Matisse. It's from later in his career. This is from a series of lithographs. He was doing these portraits of women in the 1940s. And you can see down here, it's signed "H. Matisse" and then it's numbered 247 out of 300, also in pencil. This is an iconic Matisse image with a great economy of line, the beautiful head of the woman with the shut eyes. He was a master at this, able to capture such emotion and such humanness in just a few lines, really. And now, your third piece here is this bronze by none other than Rodin. Two clasped hands. It's called "A Study for a Secret." And it was a bronze that he executed in 1910. You can see it's signed right down here in the front.
GUEST: Yes, I saw that.
APPRAISER: And if I turn it around, you can see right here, it's a lot harder to see than the signature, but it's the foundry name, which is Alexis Rudier in Paris. Now, though Rodin conceived this in 1910, it was actually cast posthumously, much later than that, probably sometime in the 1950s. Here you have this four-inch tall sculpture of hands, and there's a ton of emotion wrapped up in that, isn't there? In this little statement. I think it's lovely. Have you any guesses as to what these might be worth?
GUEST: I couldn't begin.
APPRAISER: Let's start with the Picasso. It is a later printing. It would have a replacement value of around $1,200 to $1,500, comfortably.
APPRAISER: Now, the Matisse. It's a classic work by Matisse. I would put a replacement value on this in the $20,000 range.
GUEST: Well, that was a lovely gift from my sister.
APPRAISER: That was a lovely gift. And my favorite thing here, the Rodin bronze.
GUEST: Oh, thank you.
APPRAISER: I would put a conservative replacement value on the hands, "A Study for a Secret," at $50,000.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness!
GUEST: It's just sitting in the living room!
APPRAISER: All combined...
GUEST: Oh, gosh!
APPRAISER: You have somewhere in the neighborhood of $70,000 for replacement value.
GUEST: I did not expect that.
APPRAISER: They're lovely images, and I don't think you could have three more evocative images for each artist.
GUEST: I never would have thought of that.
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