1919 Emil Artur Longen Oil Painting

Value (2010) | $30,000 Auction$50,000 Auction

You brought in a painting of a Parisian landmark of the Porte Saint-Denis. Have you ever been there?

Never been there.

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.

I can understand that.

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

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

Pitterman, yeah.

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.

Now, where did you get it?

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.

Now, was that lady Czech, do you know?

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

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.

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

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.

Thank you very much.

Appraisal Details

Bonhams, NY
New York, NY
Appraised value (2010)
$30,000 Auction$50,000 Auction
San Diego, CA (June 12, 2010)
20th Century

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.