1919 Emil Artur Longen Oil Painting

Value (2010) | $30,000 Auction$50,000 Auction
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APPRAISER:
You brought in a painting of a Parisian landmark of the Porte Saint-Denis. Have you ever been there?

GUEST:
Never been there.

APPRAISER:
I have. I know it well because I was trying to get to the garage from my hotel and I kept going around like six times the Porte Saint-Denis, so I know it quite well.

GUEST:
I can understand that.

APPRAISER:
Now, it's not by a Parisian artist, though. Who's it by?

GUEST:
A Czechoslovakian artist, Emil Artur Longen, sometimes used the name Pitterman.

APPRAISER:
Pitterman, yeah.

GUEST:
He was a director, a painter, a writer, and he was an actor. I found another painting that he did in Paris around the same time, 1919, of the Place de la Concorde. It's a beautiful work, and that's the only two I've found as far as France goes.

APPRAISER:
Now, where did you get it?

GUEST:
My mother-in-law lived in Salt Lake City in the '40s and '50s, and she had a dear friend who gave this painting to my mother-in-law, and then we inherited it. We've had this painting possibly as long as about 40 years.

APPRAISER:
Now, was that lady Czech, do you know?

GUEST:
I know her name, but I don't know her roots.

APPRAISER:
She probably was, I would think, because I was very surprised to see this painting. You know, very few of those paintings getting outside of that area. He was born in the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1885 and died in the Czech Republic in 1936. He only lived about 50 years. And he went to Paris in 1919. And we can see down here "Paris" and "Porte St. Denis." And then it's clearly signed down here as well, "E.A. Longen" and dated "1919." So you have all that information, which is great. What I was impressed with was the brushwork. You see the staccato brushwork of these little figures. And you look in on them, and you zoom in, they just dissolve in the brushstrokes, just individual strokes are all these crowded people waiting for the trolley car that's supposed to come here. And then you get these areas of color with the trees. And they're all, again, this rhythmic kind of brushstroke. Beautiful evocation of a summer day in Paris. For a long time, his paintings at auction were selling for $2,000, $3,000, $4,000, $5,000 for landscapes and still lives and things like that. And most of the auctions are in Czechoslovakia. Recently, in 2009, a couple have done very well. Landscapes have made $16,000 and $20,000. This painting, compared to those, is miles beyond that. This is a fabulous painting. The colors on it, this composition. This would be, as far as I can see, one of his best works. I'd probably put a pre-sale auction estimate at $30,000 to $50,000.

GUEST:
Wow, that's fantastic. Do you think the frame is original?

APPRAISER:
I don't think it is. It's actually not a great frame; I might recommend that you think about maybe cleaning it and then putting a new frame on it. Thanks for bringing it in.

GUEST:
Thank you very much.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Bonhams, NY
New York, NY
Appraised value (2010)
$30,000 Auction$50,000 Auction
Event
San Diego, CA (June 12, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Form
Painting
Material
Oil

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