Mary Elizabeth Price Oil Painting, ca. 1930

Value (2011) | $40,000 Auction$60,000 Auction
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GUEST:
It's by Mary Elizabeth Price. This painting hung in my grandmother's living room, and I always told her how much I loved it, and she promised me I could have it. And so when she passed away, it became mine, and it now hangs in my living room. My grandmother was a student of hers, and she actually took painting lessons from Mary Elizabeth Price.

APPRAISER:
How wonderful.

GUEST:
I don't know how my grandmother came to acquire this. I don't know if it was a gift or if she purchased it, but it's always been very, very special to me.

APPRAISER:
Wow, what a painting teacher for her to have had.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
That's terrific. Do you have any sense of the value of the picture?

GUEST:
I really don't. I know that a painting of hers sold this summer at auction for a little over $17,000, but I don't have any way to compare that particular painting to this particular painting.

APPRAISER:
The painting I think you're thinking of was a work called View of the Delaware, and it was a bird's-eye view of a landscape, basically.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And she certainly was known as a landscape painter, but what she was best known for were her floral panels. She would do these flat, almost screen-like, decorative floral panels. And in this particular instance, she picked a flower, it's called white mallow.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
It's also sometimes called marsh mallow, because it grows in marshes. And it's a European flower that sort of naturalized over here in the Northeast, in Pennsylvania in particular. It probably would have been painted in the 1930s. There's a real hierarchy for paintings by all artists. What they're best known for is what's going to bring the most money. She also has something else very interesting about her that you may not know, and that is she also worked a lot up in Bucks County. She was also part of the New Hope School. And her connection to the New Hope School was probably through her brother. She was a very well-established painter in her own right, but her brother was a frame maker-- his name was R. Moore Price.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And he was a frame maker to all of the great New Hope School artists. So this has that New Hope connection.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And it also is a quintessential version of what we want to see in her work. She's known for these sort of floral screens, and the ones that are the most desirable are the ones that have the silver and gold leaf, just as what you're seeing here in the background, and that's part of what makes them seem so screen-like. So in terms of desirability, this is a larger-than-usual format for her. It has the gold and silver leaf in exactly the style we want to see from her, plus it has the New Hope affiliation.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
You put all that together, and you end up with a picture that's worth, at auction, about $40,000 to $60,000.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
Really.

GUEST:
Oh, my God!

APPRAISER:
Way better than what you were thinking.

GUEST:
Wow, okay.

APPRAISER:
Thank you. Well done. Thank you so much for bringing it. It's a beautiful example of her work.

GUEST:
Thank you. Wow. It's time to up the homeowner's insurance.

(both laugh)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2011)
$40,000 Auction$60,000 Auction
Event
Atlanta, GA (August 06, 2011)
Period
20th Century
Form
Painting
Material
Oil

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