George Rickey Kinetic Sculpture, ca. 1958
Appraised Value: $10,000 - $15,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:00)
GUEST: I've brought in a little mobile that was done by George Rickey in the late 1950s. My mother and father had gone to an exhibit at the Delgado Museum in New Orleans, which is now the New Orleans Museum of Art, and they had seen his work and my father fell in love with it. So my mother was auditing some courses at Newcomb College at that point, and Rickey was a visiting professor at the time at Tulane, so mother went to Mr. Rickey and said, "Do you have any small sculptures or a mobile that my husband could put on his desk?" And he said, "No, but I'll make one for you." And mother asked him how much it would be and he gave her the price, so she bought some Maytag stock and when the stock went up enough, she sold the stock and Mr. Rickey made this piece of sculpture for her. It has led a hard life. It has lost a few pieces along the way. But we've always treasured it.
APPRAISER: Always treasured it. Do you have any idea how much that was that she saved up for?
GUEST: I know exactly what it was. It was $150.
APPRAISER: Back in the late 1950s?
GUEST: The late 1950s.
APPRAISER: Well, George Rickey is a really interesting artist and really very heavily influenced by Alexander Calder, worked really sort of in parallel time-wise. And we've got a little bit of a breeze here, and just as it's intended to do, with the slightest breeze, it moves. It's a kinetic sculpture.
GUEST: Yeah. It's great, it's very delicate.
APPRAISER: You mentioned that there are a few pieces missing, and for us it's tough to know unless there are pictures of it, maybe you can scour your family photos and see in the background. What would be interesting is they are starting a foundation for Rickey's... for his workshop. He died in 2002. As you probably know, he exhibited in dozens and dozens of exhibitions both solo and joint from the 1930s on and was making kinetic sculptures of various sizes from the early '50s on. So it would be very interesting to see if he has in his diaries or if he has a journal entry where he notates what he made and what was sold and the prices. That would be a wonderful way of connecting it up with the artist because it's not signed.
APPRAISER: So we have two factors that are a little bit of a hesitation. One is the condition, and we noticed that there were maybe some small elements missing from the top. The base has suffered a little damage and has been repaired. But overall, a wonderful piece and I would say even in its condition as it is now, for auction, a conservative estimate would be between $10,000 and $15,000.
GUEST: I'm overwhelmed. I really am surprised. I thought you would say $25, but if you put it back together it might be worth $500 or something like that.
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