John Fery Painting, ca. 1912

Value (2005) | $20,000 Retail$30,000 Retail

GUEST:
My father was a foreman for a small construction company, and the gentleman that he had worked for, one of the owners had passed away. And his wife was selling some tools and so on, and we were going through a back room and came upon two oil paintings in there. And she said to me, "What am I going to do with these?" She said, "Do you guys want them?"

APPRAISER:
Yeah.

GUEST:
And her daughter said, "I'll take one of them." And I said, "Well, then, I'll take the other." And that's how I came upon it.

APPRAISER:
And do you know where they got them?

GUEST:
They thought her father had done remodeling on a large hotel in downtown Fargo. But someone has mentioned to me recently they thought it might be even out of an old railroad station. But again, I don't know much more about that.

APPRAISER:
Well, first of all, it's amazing you were able to get it here. It's, I think, the largest painting we've had here today. And it's interesting. It tells the story of the Great Northern Railroad, which James Hill completed in 1893. His son, Louis Hill, was rather enterprising and thought one way to get people out to the West would be to commission artists to do paintings of the beauty of the West and to put these paintings in the various railroad stations to lure people out to the lodges out at Glacier National Park. This wasn't a new idea. The railroad barons who opened the Southern Pacific Railroad did the same thing. One of the artists commissioned was an Austrian-born artist by the name of John Fery. And John Fery did a number of paintings for Louis Hill. And it's signed down here, and it's also titled on the back. This is in the original frame, and unfortunately you have some damage in here... (chuckling) You did a nice job taping it up...

GUEST:
Thank you.

APPRAISER:
with masking tape on the reverse. And you have some paint losses here and in other places. And so that's going to affect the value. If we were to sell this painting at a gallery, in this condition it would probably bring $20,000 to $30,000...

GUEST:
You...

APPRAISER:
And if it were to be cleaned and put in good condition, it would take about $3,000 to $4,000 to get it in good condition-- it would probably be something like $30,000 to $40,000.

GUEST:
You are kidding! That much for this?

APPRAISER:
Yeah, so you were very lucky to get this as a gift. (laughing) Thank you so much, and congratulations on preserving it.

GUEST:
Well, thank you, Peter. That's great.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2005)
$20,000 Retail$30,000 Retail
Event
Bismarck, ND (July 30, 2005)
Period
20th Century
Material
Paint

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