Preston Dickinson “Village” Watercolor, ca. 1925
About 14 years ago, I had a coworker who injured himself, and he couldn't get to work on his own. So I offered to pick him up and bring him home on a daily basis until he got better. And he regularly offered me money to help with the car expenses, and I never accepted any of that. So when he had recovered, he basically gave me this painting out of his gratitude for helping him.
It's certainly a wonderful gift to have received from your friend. How do you think he came by it?
Well, his wife was an artist. They immigrated here from Europe. And while they were here, they frequented garage sales and estate sales. And I suspect that this is one of the items that they picked up at one of those sales.
Let me tell you a little bit about Preston Dickinson. He was born in the late 19th century in New York and originally studied at the Art Students League. What really made his Precisionist style was his trip to France, to Paris, specifically, where he was very impressed with the Cubist artists and also with the artwork of Cézanne. When I was in college, arguably many years ago, one of the ideas that our professors would always drill into us about the importance of Cézanne was that he believed that the natural world should be broken down into geometric shapes-- sphere, cone and cylinder. And we can see in this Dickinson painting that he's followed his teacher very well. We have spherical shapes here, we have a cylinder and we have the cone shape. And the premise behind the Precisionist movement was that you would have almost clinically precise scenes-- industrial, urban. And one of the items that you never see in a classic Precisionist painting are people. It's all about the formal line of the architecture or of the nature. And this is a terrific example of that. The Precisionist movement in the United States really coalesced in 1920. And I suspect that this piece was executed between 1920 and arguably 1925 or '27. It is a watercolor.
Which means that you need to keep it somewhere dark so the colors don't fade. Precisionism is a phase or a style of Modernism. And while the market is, as we know, quite up and down, Modernism is very popular right now. Given that, I would estimate it at auction at $30,000 to $50,000.
Wow, very good. I'm very excited about that.
Yes, yes. You're a good friend.
(laughs) Thank you.
Thank you for coming.
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Last Tango in Halifax
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