Late 19th-Century Vincent G. Stiepevich Painting

Value (2009) | $15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
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APPRAISER:
When I came back from my honeymoon, we wanted to decorate our first apartment, and we needed some art for the walls, and one weekend in Greenwich Village, they had an art show where you could buy a painting for five or ten dollars. And so that's where we were headed, until I got a phone call from my mother, who wanted to see us because she hadn't seen us since we got back from our honeymoon. And when I told her, "We can't do that because we're going to New York City," she said, "Well, if you want some art, I have a friend who has a lot of art." So she said, "You come visit me and I'll introduce you to my friend." This woman had paintings from the ceiling to the floor and on every wall. And right over her bed was this painting. She said that it was given to her when she got married and she wanted us to have it. And she mentioned that it's just $35. And so we took it home and we put it over our bed, and it's been there ever since.

APPRAISER:
Well, she's just lovely. It's by an artist whose name is Stiepevich. Now, there is a plaque here. It's also signed in the upper right corner.

GUEST:
Oh, I didn't know that.

APPRAISER:
Very faint, but it is signed up there. Mr. Stiepevich, for an artist who painted such lovely paintings, has very scant biographical information. We know he was born in Russia, probably around 1840, and that he died in New York City, probably around 1910. Clearly he was very well trained as a painter.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And there is record of quite a few works by him. Are you familiar with the term "Orientalism"?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
The Orientalists were popular for most of the second half of the 19th century. There was a great interest in the Middle East. People traveled to the Middle East and came back to Europe and told tales about how exotic it was. And many artists became fascinated by this, traveled to the Middle East and began to paint these subjects. And there was a big market for them when they brought them home, because the public was kind of fascinated by this, too. And as you can see, she's probably a Western woman, but she's in this environment that's very exotic and romantic and just beautifully painted. And the frame you put on is very appropriate.

GUEST:
Yeah. The frame cost five dollars.

APPRAISER:
So you've got $40 invested in this.

GUEST:
$40 invested.

APPRAISER:
I think today a very fair auction estimate on this painting would be between $15,000 and $20,000.

GUEST:
Wow. Boy, oh, boy! $15,000 to $20,000?

APPRAISER:
$15,000 to $20,000.

GUEST:
Okay. Well, thank you very much.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Harwood Fine Arts, Inc.
South Hadley, Massachusetts
Appraised value (2009)
$15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Event
Atlantic City, NJ (June 06, 2009)
Period
19th Century
Form
Painting

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