Ada Belle Champlin Landscape, ca. 1940

Value (2007) | $5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction

GUEST:
I inherited this picture from my aunt, and I just grabbed it off the wall.

APPRAISER:
Did she collect a lot of paintings?

GUEST:
Yes, she has a lot more, but I just got that one.

APPRAISER:
Do you know who painted it?

GUEST:
No, I didn't. That's why I brought it. I wanted to know something about it.

APPRAISER:
Okay, well, it's signed down here, and I had a hard time reading it myself. The letters are all together and they're dark on dark, so it doesn't read as well. But it says Ada Belle, and then the last name is Champlin.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
C-H-A-M-P-L-I-N. Champlin was an artist who was born in St. Louis and then studied in Chicago and other places and came out to California around 1910. She's known more for the California scenes.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
And this is very typical of California scenes. You see the bright sky, the brownish hills and the live oak tree here is very typical of California landscapes, and the sort of brownish grass. Now, this painting is not on canvas. Do you know what... what it's painted on?

GUEST:
No, I never knew. I didn't know what it was painted on.

APPRAISER:
We'll actually hit it; it's not going to hurt it. It's actually on a hard board.

GUEST:
It is?

APPRAISER:
It's on a board called Masonite. Masonite is a fiber board, and it has a very smooth side and then a rough side, which is more fibrous. And you can see it here, if you can see that pattern right there.

GUEST:
Oh, yeah, I can see that.

APPRAISER:
It makes it easier for the artist to have the paint pulled off the brush because it's rough. But the thing about it is it tells us when this painting was painted. Now, she lived 1875 to 1950, but since Masonite really wasn't used until 1930, we know this painting was done somewhere between 1930 and 1950.

GUEST:
Oh, wow.

APPRAISER:
Now, your aunt, did she tell you how much she paid?

GUEST:
She never talked about money.

APPRAISER:
She never did. Well, it's in its probably close to original frame. It's a little dirty; you might want to get it cleaned. It's got a little yellow. The market for Ada Champlin a few years ago wasn't very strong, but the market for California paintings is one of the great regional schools in America. Now there's a big market for California paintings. If I were to put this in auction, I would probably expect you to make $5,000 to $7,000 for this at auction.

GUEST:
Wow, I would have never thought. That picture? Oh, my goodness. (laughing) It's been hanging there for two years. And I just look at it and walk on. I'll be paying a lot more attention to it, that's for sure. Dang, that was something else. I don't believe that one.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Bonhams, NY
New York, NY
Appraised value (2007)
$5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
Event
Las Vegas, NV (August 18, 2007)
Period
20th Century
Material
Masonite, Oil

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