Elizabeth Shippen Green Illustration, ca. 1907

Value (2006) | $20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction

GUEST:
It's a picture that belonged to my great-aunt. And she was supposedly the subject in the painting. She lived in Pittsburgh when she was growing up, and her family was a friend of the artist's family.

APPRAISER:
The artist being...?

GUEST:
Elizabeth Shippen Green. And the picture's been in my aunt's possession until she moved to Maine, and she moved in with my parents and my family. And when she passed away, it went to my father, and then about 11 years ago, he gave it to me. 'Cause I've always admired it.

APPRAISER:
Elizabeth Shippen Green is quite an important American illustrator. She goes back to what we call the Golden Age of illustration in America. She was a Philadelphian, and she came from an artistic family. Her father was an artist and she studied first at the Pennsylvania Academy under Thomas Eakins.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
She subsequently studied at Drexel with Howard Pyle, who's one of the great American illustrators. When she was in Pyle's studio, she met two other women named Violet Oakley and Jessie Willcox Smith. And the three of them formed this triumvirate of the most important female American illustrators. She was the only woman who was under contract to "Harper's Weekly."

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
And she was under contract exclusively to them for about 20 years from around 1900 to about 1920. And with Violet Oakley and Jessie Willcox Smith, she took a communal studio and living space in Villanova that was called The Red Rose House or The Red Rose Inn.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
Red Rose Girls. And the three of them became known as The Red Rose Girls. This is a particularly charming picture and typical of the subjects that she did in the very early part of the 20th century when she was focusing on illustrations of children.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And it's typical of her technique. She would work in charcoal first--

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
--and apply some sort of fixative over the charcoal drawing, and then work in these glazes over the top with watercolor and gouache. And she would get these very jewel-like tones of color in her work. She was also known for incorporating outdoor landscape scenes in her work.

GUEST:
Oh, I didn't know that.

APPRAISER:
And there's a little tiny example of that here with the window. Her work has come up at auction, but not frequently. There are about a dozen examples that I've been able to find. And only two or three that are very comparable to this particular picture.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
I'd say an auction estimate conservatively, based on some of those prices would be between $20,000 and $30,000.

GUEST:
Oh, wow. That's nice.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Harwood Fine Arts, Inc.
South Hadley, MA
Appraised value (2006)
$20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction
Event
Philadelphia, PA (August 05, 2006)
Period
20th Century
Material
Gouache, Watercolor

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