Walter Inglis Anderson Watercolor

Value (2008) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction

Walter Anderson was born in New Orleans but lived most of his life in Mississippi. He did not become famous, though, until after his death. He was a very interesting person, but, as many artists, had his own way of doing things and would leave his family for much time and go off and paint. His family also has pottery. There now is a museum down in Mississippi with his work,

That would be Shearwater.

part of it. Mm-hmm, yes. When he died of lung cancer, the family needed money, so what they did was collect a lot of his work, because they found a lot of it in his cottage so they could get some money for... continued their business in the pottery and they came to Memphis, Tennessee, in about '69, I believe it was.

And is that where you acquired this one?

And that's when we got these.

Do you remember what you paid for it back then?

Um, I think it was around $75, $80.

Many of his works aren't signed. This one isn't signed, in fact. And occasionally you'll see a monogram by him, where he'll sign with initials. And I don't think I've ever heard of any being dated. I think he's a fascinating individual. He really epitomizes the visionary, driven artist. And it was very important for him to be both in and of nature, which is why he spent so much time in isolation on Horn Island.


Leading a very frugal existence and really just creating art. And here was a man who really believed in the transformative power of art. It was really a mission for him. He wanted to create work that was... had mass appeal but was well produced, that a lot of thought had gone into, and that was affordable to many people, too, which is why he would produce pottery, through Shearwater, and why he produced linocuts as well, which was a good mass medium to get his work out there. You can see this work embodies an energy that you see in his watercolors. And in this one you get a glimpse of his working method. It looks as though he perhaps uses a little bit of pencil line here. You can see traces of the graphite here and around here and even here, where there is some pencil drawing which he hasn't, in fact, filled in. So he would lay out the bare bones of the composition and then go at it with his brush. And this one has terrific color, great rhythm to it. I think this one, at auction, would reach probably $10,000 to $15,000 or so.

Hmm... very nice.

It's got a wonderful energy to it that I really enjoy very much.

Appraisal Details

Freeman's Auctioneers
Philadelphia, PA
Appraised value (2008)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Chattanooga, TN (July 19, 2008)

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.