Olaf Carl Seltzer Watercolors

Value (2008) | $20,000 Auction$28,000 Auction

GUEST:
They hung in my grandfather's home for many, many years when I was a child, and I've had them hanging in my home since the late '70s.

APPRAISER:
Now, do you think he bought them?

GUEST:
On the back of one, I think, was written in my grandmother's handwriting that it was a gift from somebody, but other than that, I really don't know much about them at all.

APPRAISER:
They're really wonderful American Western watercolors by the artist Olaf Carl Seltzer. Seltzer was actually born in Denmark in 1877 and moved to Montana, where he was a cowboy and sketched in his spare time. He began studying art in Denmark at the age of 12, I believe, uh, which means that he was something of a child prodigy.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
And he became friends with a wonderful Western artist, Charles Russell.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And Russell became his mentor and friend, and the two of them went off sketching into the West. There's two generations of Western art. There's the first generation, including Remington and Russell. And they were really capturing the vanishing West. Seltzer is the second generation, and he was relying a bit more on the myth of the West. So his pieces are more imaginary and mythic than the first generation.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
But he's an extremely popular and important Western artist. And the Western market is strong. It continues to be strong and continues to grow. They're in quite good condition. The smaller pieces on the Native Americans are probably a better subject. The detail that you can see in the figures is quite extraordinary, and he was known for the great truthfulness that he would bring to capturing these scenes. The scene in the center, the larger scene, one of our military experts tells me, is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
In terms of the value of the pieces, the two smaller pieces, I would estimate at between $6,000 and $8,000 apiece at auction.

GUEST:
Oh, you're kidding me!

APPRAISER:
Yes. And the larger piece, at between $8,000 and $12,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my word! Wow! That's amazing! That just blows my mind! (chuckling)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Colleene Fesko Works of Art
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2008)
$20,000 Auction$28,000 Auction
Event
Grand Rapids, MI (August 09, 2008)
Form
Painting
Material
Watercolor

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