Early 20th-Century Sheldon Parsons & Adolph Robert Shulz Oil Paintings

Value (2009) | $12,000 Auction$18,000 Auction

GUEST:
I found this one about 15 years ago and that one about two years ago.

APPRAISER:
Where did you find them?

GUEST:
At the thrift store.

APPRAISER:
No shame in that.

GUEST:
No. (laughter) This was kind of damaged and only the artist's board, and it was in the three-dollar bin.

APPRAISER:
In the what bin?

GUEST:
The three-dollar bin.

APPRAISER:
Three-dollar bin? Okay.

GUEST:
That one I think was a little closer to $10.

APPRAISER:
$10, so not exactly breaking the bank, then.

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
No. Okay. And what do you know about the artist?

GUEST:
I know nothing about him at all except that it says on the back, "Santa Fe, New Mexico." And I did find his name on the Internet, but not really much of anything about him.

APPRAISER:
This one, the smaller of the two here, is by Sheldon Parsons, who... originally from Rochester in New York. Lived in New York and was quite a well-regarded portrait painter there, and studied while he was there with William Merritt Chase. However, in 1913, he moved to Santa Fe. His wife had just passed away and he had been diagnosed as having tuberculosis, so for health reasons he thought it made sense to move to Santa Fe, so he went there with his daughter. And his work changed. And this is more typical of his mature style. This is an impressionistic work; in fact, he rarely painted figures after leaving New York, having done all the portraits. And he was credited as being one of the first artists to take up residence in what became a big colony of artists in Santa Fe. It wasn't really until the early 1920s that it really took off as an art colony. So, nice little example of his mature style. Signed here, dated 1917, so four years after he had actually moved out there. And located on the back, Santa Fe, and also with a date, too. Sheldon Parsons is an oil painting on board. This one was also oil and board. Now, this one here is by Adolph Robert Shulz, and, coincidentally, he was also the originator of another artist colony, in this case in Brown County in Indiana.

GUEST:
Right, right.

APPRAISER:
Now, are you from that area?

GUEST:
Well, when I first saw the piece I recognized it as southern Indiana because the barns are all kind of like that. And that's what attracted me to it because I'm originally from Indianapolis, so...

APPRAISER:
So you know the landscape pretty well.

GUEST:
I know the landscape, yeah.

APPRAISER:
Well, he, with his wife, traveled to Paris. He studied there and he also studied in Munich. And, ultimately, he moved. Having visited Brown County over a number of years, he took up residence there in, I believe, around 1917, I think it was. Very nice painting; would be very popular in the market because it's got good autumnal colors, which is what collectors of Brown County artists want to see, or at least his work. So, what do you think they're worth? Have you any idea?

GUEST:
Oh, I haven't the faintest idea.

APPRAISER:
This one, at auction, I think should fetch $4,000 to $6,000.

GUEST:
Oh, marvelous.

APPRAISER:
Rather ironically, this one, which you paid almost less than half for-- three dollars, is that correct? The three-dollar bargain bin?

GUEST:
The three-dollar bargain bin.

APPRAISER:
This one, I think, would comfortably make $8,000 to $12,000.

GUEST:
Oh, whoa.

APPRAISER:
So, I'm going to move to Denver and start following you around on the thrift tour. (both laughing) You obviously have a very good eye for these things. So, congratulations on getting them and keep looking.

GUEST:
I do, every day.

APPRAISER:
You've got a happy knack.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Freeman's Auctioneers
Philadelphia, PA
Appraised value (2009)
$12,000 Auction$18,000 Auction
Event
Denver, CO (July 25, 2009)
Period
20th Century
Form
Painting
Material
Artist's Board, Oil

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