1960 Katharine Hepburn Original Watercolor

Value (2012) | $15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
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APPRAISER:
My heart went pitter-patter when you came.

GUEST:
Did it?

APPRAISER:
You have a personal relationship with Ms. Hepburn.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Tell me about it.

GUEST:
When she came to the Shakespeare Theater, I was very young at the time, and pregnant. She invited me over to her cottage and she showed me all her paintings on the wall. And she was asking my advice. She said, "Well, I know you went to college and you studied some art and I'd like to know your opinion." And I gave her an honest opinion, and she liked that.

APPRAISER:
And so how did you get this wonderful watercolor?

GUEST:
My husband was working at the theater at the time. At the end of the season, she had it wrapped up in white tissue paper, pink ribbons all around it, and she gave it to my husband to give to me. And she said, "Make sure she puts it in the front hall, and that way, someday it'll be worth a lot of money."

APPRAISER:
Oh, isn't that a wonderful thing?

GUEST:
Yes, she was quite the person.

APPRAISER:
Well, everyone knows Katharine Hepburn as the great international actress, and it's almost as if there were two separate worlds for her as this famous actress who died in 2003 at 96 years old, who won four Academy Awards, but yet a very private person who lived in Old Saybrook. And her hobby was, in fact, painting and drawing. And these things really were never sold on the secondary market. I only know, before her death, of one that came up that she had donated to charity for an auction. She just felt that these were personal and she wanted them to be enjoyed or given away sometimes as gifts, like yours.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And I love the viewpoint of it. Very often she'd go out on her boat and she would paint from her boat. And you can see that this is probably a view from her boat as well.

GUEST:
It was. My husband used to take her out on the boat with Spencer Tracy.

APPRAISER:
It is initialed "K.H." down here, but we also have this fabulous signature. At the collectibles table, we often see signatures by Katharine Hepburn, and most of them were done by her secretary or a personal assistant. In fact, we often see notes that are typewritten that say, "Oh, you know I'm a personal person, I don't sign anything," and it was signed by her secretary. So when we see an original signature, it's really quite special. Very often she signed with something that looks more like a "C" than a "K" and it's one of the reasons why you can tell the secretarial signatures from her original signatures, because her original signatures don't look almost at all like her name sometimes.

GUEST:
That's right.

APPRAISER:
And as she got later on in age, they're very shaky.

GUEST:
Shaky, yes.

APPRAISER:
Sometimes original signatures, when they're dedicated, actually make the object worth less. But in this particular case, it sort of reinforces how authentic and original this is. If I was to put an auction estimate on this, I would put an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.

GUEST:
Oh, wow. That's wonderful.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
New York, New York
Value Update (2012)
$15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Appraised value (2008)
$15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Event
Hartford, CT (August 23, 2008)
Period
20th Century
Form
Landscape
Material
Watercolor
December 17, 2012: We contacted appraiser Kathleen Guzman for an updated appraisal in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $15,000 - $20,000 (Unchanged)

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