1917 Daniel Chester French Bronze Sculpture

Value (2010) | $5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
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GUEST:
Someone brought it into my doll shop and wanted to sell it to me. They didn't know where to go, and they... guess they figured it was similar to a doll, and I looked at it and it was really interesting, and the lady offered it to me for a hundred dollars. I thought about it and I said, "How about $80?" And she said okay, so I purchased it.

APPRAISER:
And how long ago was that?

GUEST:
About ten years ago.

APPRAISER:
About ten years ago. And then you did a little bit of research? There are the initials here, D.C.F. How did you find out then?

GUEST:
I went on the computer and I went under "sculpture" and I looked at names and I realized it was Daniel Chester French, and I knew it was something special, but I wasn't sure how special or if it was really that old.

APPRAISER:
Daniel Chester French is one of the leading American sculptors in this country. He was born in 1850, and when he was a very young man, he had this important commission. He did the sculpture of the Minuteman that's in Concord, Massachusetts...

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
And it was done in 1875 to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Lexington-Concord battle. And from there on, his career zoomed. You know his most famous public commission?

GUEST:
Yes, the Abraham Lincoln monument.

APPRAISER:
That's right, the Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C. Massive, massive undertaking. This is a quite interesting piece in that it's a female nude. Sort of the last subject you'd think that Daniel Chester French would ever do. It's certainly not like any of his public commissions. It has his initials. It's dated 1917. There's no foundry mark, but I don't think that really makes a difference. Collectors tend to like the standard subject matter, so they would like a reduction or a copy of the Minuteman or an Abraham Lincoln. This is a little bit more unusual, but I think it's a wonderful piece. It shows his skill as a sculptor. It's beautifully modeled. The finishing and the patination is really very, very good. I don't think you've done anything to it, have you?

GUEST:
No, I haven't.

APPRAISER:
No? A little dusting off?

GUEST:
No, no.

APPRAISER:
Well, that's great, because it's in perfect condition. You might put a little bit of clear wax on it, clear paste wax, but it's really all you can do. The current auction value for this would probably be in the $5,000 to $7,000 range.

GUEST:
Oh, wow-- that's great.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lillian Nassau LLC
New York, NY
Appraised value (2010)
$5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
Event
Miami Beach, FL (July 10, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Form
Sculpture
Material
Bronze

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