1930 John Wells James Painting
Now, I understand you're, in fact, related to this artist.
Uh, actually... he's related to my wife. His names is John Wells James. He was born in New York. I understand he was an insurance person, became very involved with the early American Impressionists, New Hope School, Rockport, Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Cornish, New Hampshire. Painted pretty much as a personal hobby. Um, enjoyed France, traveled a good deal to Southern France, Pyrenees, perhaps, and a number of the paintings that we know of that are scattered through the family are of that area.
We're in Philadelphia today, and I must say I would have been very disappointed if we hadn't seen something by the New Hope School or the Pennsylvania Impressionists, or, as some people call them, the Bucks County Impressionists. And here we have, as you say, John Wells James. And this one dated 1930. Now, he's perhaps one of the lesser known members of that group, and as you say, he was a hobby artist, but he's a lot more than a gifted amateur. Now, one of the attractions of New Hope, of course, was that it was very near to Philadelphia. It's about an hour's drive from here. And it's not too far from New York, either. And, of course, the other attraction was the fantastic scenery. It's a beautiful part of the country. Well, he's used this wonderful impasto technique using a palette knife in most cases. There's a lot of energy there. And there's a lot of sort of cross-hatching. So he's really built up a wonderful, colorful tapestry on the surface of it. Reminiscent-- I think he was looking at Van Gogh, actually. You can certainly see that influence. Now, the New Hope School has become increasingly popular at auction over the last few years. I'd say really over the last six or seven years. And artists like Redfield and Garber make, you know, comfortably six-figure, sometimes seven-figure sums. And in their wake, you had artists like Sotter and Coppedge, who have all got pulled along. There's been a sort of domino effect in the market. And then you have artists like John Wells James, who doesn't appear quite so frequently. So have you been keeping track of the market? Have you any idea?
Um, we've tried to. We've kept track of the pieces in the family. I would think there's probably around 80 pieces that are still floating about. Many of the paintings, in fact, this particular painting never left his house until he died. He died in Southern France in 1955. And when they were breaking up his home, these paintings were parceled out among the Jameses. They all got their paintings.
Well, you've had it recently conserved and reframed. And I think at auction, this should comfortably fetch $20,000 to $30,000.
I am surprised. I am surprised.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
Last Tango in Halifax
Enjoy the third season of this award-winning series that celebrates life and love