1865 John F. Francis Still Life Oil Paintings
Appraised Value: $100,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (2:29)
Paintings & Drawings
Debra Force Fine Art, Inc.
GUEST: They're still lifes by an artist named John F. Francis, dated 1865.
APPRAISER: Well, he is really considered one of America's foremost 19th century still-life painters. But during his lifetime, he wasn't really very well known. It's only been in more recent times that that's the case. Francis started out as a portrait painter. And he was itinerant and spent time outside of Philadelphia in the Middle Atlantic states. And he didn't really begin painting still lifes until the 1850s, so somewhat later in his career. He died in 1886. His still lifes generally are tabletop. They vary from dessert subjects like the one closest to you, to fruit pieces like the one closest to me. He generally likes to paint to scale, and he also depicts the fruit in their natural way. You see here we have a little indentation in the apples and black spots. So he painted very realistically. Now, these were done, of course, in 1865. And we see that they are signed J.F. Francis, and also they're signed on the back. Now, these are oil on panel. Francis usually painted on canvas. But for the smaller works, he usually would use panel. I guess he felt more comfortable with it. Now have you ever had these appraised or valued?
GUEST: No, never have.
APPRAISER: And how far back in your family do they go?
GUEST: We don't know that exactly, but it's possible that they purchased them from him.
APPRAISER: And they lived in that…?
GUEST: They were in that area.
APPRAISER: Yeah, well, that's exciting. That's very exciting. Well, what makes these very special is the fact that we have a pair. And of course they're fresh to the market because your family has owned them for decades. And we also have the original frames.
GUEST: The original frame.
APPRAISER: And they're also in great condition. And a lot of the ones that we see coming into the marketplace have condition problems. So in terms of value, if we found these in a gallery for sale, I think a gallery would ask $100,000 for the pair.
GUEST: Fun. That's more than I thought it would be. Well, thank you.
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