Western-Style Furniture, ca. 1930

Value (2007) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
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GUEST:
My dad was a doctor. Late 1920s, um--

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
--he had no furniture, and a lot of his patients had items to offer for barter. In Southern California, Studio City, there is two studios-- RKO and Republic Studios.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
There is a prop master down there by the name of Ernie Hickman, who made a lot of furniture for the different studios for the Western sets. We aren't sure that he's the one that made this set. It might have been somebody in his prop department. My father had a lot of patients who... needed medical services, and he needed furniture, and barter was the way, back in those days.

APPRAISER:
This is in... where?

GUEST:
19... Early 1930s, late '20s.

APPRAISER:
In California. Okay.

GUEST:
In California, San Fernando Valley.

APPRAISER:
Okay, well, this is made of fir. And one way we know-- you see this grain with these medullary rings you can see? That's typical. And this is the Western look. It was very popular in the 1920s and '30s. It combines part cowboy, it's romantic,

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
and with the advent of cowboy movies, it became really popular. One of the things I love about this table, for example, which you'll see, what, about four on each side? Do you use this?

GUEST:
Yeah. All the time. (laughs)

APPRAISER:
There's chairs on each end, and two benches, yeah. That's great. Probably pretty comfortable. Can we try it out? Want to sit down? Well, it's really nice, and I love the soft-hewn edges. This is part of the Arts-and-Crafts movement. So you have these dovetails. And sometimes the dovetails don't even hold the crack, they're just put there to give that hand-hewn look.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
And this guy was doing this before George Nakashima. So this is pretty... pretty early use of these techniques. Now, we look in the front, you've got these transverses, which show the hand-hewn look.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
You've got these large, scooped-out pegs, axed out. Now, this cupboard is kind of neat, because it has these motifs, some cactus, and the bottom-- what's this, like, a bullfight?

GUEST:
Yeah, mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Going on here is a bull, so a little Mexican influence,

GUEST:
Oh, yeah.

APPRAISER:
typical of this cowboy style.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And these big hinges. Now, with this chair, which is one of my favorites... Now, if a lady were to sit in this, like yourself, you'd probably put your back against the... the back of it, right? And sit down in it facing forward. If I were to sit in this, coming off the fields from a hard day at work, right? I'd just pull up the chair like this and go like this, put my arms up, maybe order a whiskey, or a bottle. You know, maybe the whole bottle. And if you look at this guy right here, you'll see this cowboy-- I think he's had one too many-- and there's even a knot that's been used to show the moon-- very clever. The details on this are just really, really great. Now, what about the movie connection? Do you know anything else more about that? Because that would be interesting to follow up on, if this was on a movie set.

GUEST:
I'm not... I'm not absolutely sure it was on a movie set,

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
but I... most of my father's clientele were in the business one way or the other.

APPRAISER:
Okay, so the possibility exists, okay.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
So research might help with that. If this could ever show up in an early movie set, that could affect the price.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
As it is, without any provenance relating to the movie set, the auction

estimate would be between $10,000 and $15,000.

GUEST:
Yeah. And that's great.

APPRAISER:
Now, if you can establish it was in a certain particular movie, depending on which one, it could bring much more.

GUEST:
Yeah. It's fun to have. But I can't tell you how many people think it's just a picnic set.

(both laugh)

APPRAISER:
Pretty nice picnic set.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
You can invite me to your picnic any day.

GUEST:
Yeah.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Leslie Keno Art Advisory
Waccabuc, NY
Appraised value (2007)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Event
Spokane, WA (August 04, 2007)
Period
20th Century
Material
Wood

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