Samuel Halpert Oil Painting, “The Studio Interior,” ca. 1910

Value (2008) | $20,000 Auction$45,000 Retail

I know it's by Samuel Halpert, who, I guess, would fall in the American Modernist school. He painted in both the United States and France, and I think his parents actually were Russian émigrés to the United States. And my paternal grandparents had put together a major collection of American and French painting in the '20s, in Ohio, and unfortunately, the great majority of it was sold four days after Pearl Harbor. And this is one of the things that I don't think was even in the auction. It was probably not considered valuable enough.

Now, when did you come into possession of this painting?

It actually went to an uncle of mine who had no children, and he died about six years ago and I inherited it through him.

Oh, so you've had it really rather recently.


But you've been aware of it your whole life, right?

Right. The Studio Interior is the title. It looks sort of like a French garret, and I've always gotten a kick out of it because it has two Toulouse-Lautrec lithographs in the background, which is sort of fun.

Yes. Well, Samuel Halpert is, you're right, he's an American Modernist. He died fairly young, in 1930, and his wife, Edith, went on to form a gallery in New York and became a major figure on the New York art scene. He was less known for quite a while, not a major figure, and he's become important rather recently. He's known for certain interior architecture, where the pieces are related to each other in a kind of interesting way-- the way this ladder makes a diagonal against the pillar here and the chair that's set behind it. The interesting spatial relationships that are created. Samuel Halpert, characteristically, his paintings are oil on canvas, as this is. It's an undated work. We have a nice signature down here. And I would say it's done probably around 1910. I'm sure you're right, it's painted in France. He studied in France. And, you're right, it looks like a French garret. Here are these wonderful Toulouse-Lautrecs on the wall. And the other thing I find very interesting, because you don't see this in his later work, are these marvelous patterns, this hanging here and the tablecloth and how they're related to the still life on the table, all of which remind one of Matisse.

I think he might have studied with Matisse. I'm not sure about that.

Well, whether he studied with him, I think he was clearly looking at him.


Because you really see these qualities that come into his work at this period. I really think it's an especially interesting, beautiful, important early work. I would expect it to sell for around $20,000 to $25,000 at auction, if it came up.


And a dealer would have it for, I'd say, approximately $45,000.

Well, that's wonderful news.

Appraisal Details

Doyle New York
New York, NY
Appraised value (2008)
$20,000 Auction$45,000 Retail
Dallas, TX (June 28, 2008)

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