Joseph Stella Painting with Original Frame, ca. 1930

Value (2008) | $250,000 Retail

GUEST:
This belonged to my great-granduncle. He managed a hotel on the West Side of New York, and he had a room that had a skylight, and so he let Thomas Benton use it as his studio and other artists from the Student League, and some of these paintings were gifts for using the room, I believe, and they bought some of them. And this Joseph Stella was an early work, and he had Stellas and Bentons and... all kinds of wonderful associations through the years.

APPRAISER:
And how did it come to you?

GUEST:
After he passed away, it went to my mother and then it came to me. And I've lived with it and loved it for years. We called it "The Angelfish," and I know it was painted somewhere between 1922 and '26.

APPRAISER:
Has it always been under glass?

GUEST:
Yes, and I'm very thankful it did, because they all smoked. It would have been destroyed, probably, if it hadn't been under glass.

APPRAISER:
Joseph Stella, as you probably know, came to the United States from Italy when he was about 19 years old and studied at the Art Students League. And I think this is a wonderful example of his later period. This was a popular frame that was used by Georgia O'Keeffe and Arthur Dove. They loved this white gold and this real simplicity, which is also an added value to the painting.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
So it's nice that you've been able to keep them together. You had it appraised. Do you have a sense of value?

GUEST:
Well, in 1987, it was appraised for insurance purposes for $7,500. That's all I know.

APPRAISER:
And have you had it, any sense of value?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
Want to take a wild guess at what it might be worth?

GUEST:
Well, I thought maybe it would go down. I didn't know. I don't know what the market is for Stella.

APPRAISER:
Well, the market for this has been very good.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
I would appraise your painting, for both insurance value and for if it were to sell in an art gallery at about $250,000.

GUEST:
Oh... I feel it's...

APPRAISER:
I've just been consulting with my colleagues. I think it's quite a spectacular piece.

GUEST:
You amaze me.

APPRAISER:
You're lucky to have this... Lucky to have this inheritance. Oh, thank you so much.

GUEST:
That's amazing.

APPRAISER:
Well, congratulations.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Montgomery Gallery
San Francisco, CA
Appraised value (2008)
$250,000 Retail
Event
Palm Springs, CA (June 07, 2008)
Period
20th Century
Form
Frame, Painting
Material
Paint

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