Charles Edwin Ruttan Oil Painting, ca. 1920
This painting belonged to my parents. When the bank closed here in El Paso in 1929, my father was an officer of the bank, and when the day was over, all he and my mother had left was 50 cents in her purse and he was able to save this painting out of the bank. And my mother said that this painting is by a California artist. It was painted up the valley here of the Organ Mountains, just over the state line in New Mexico on a November afternoon.
Well, it's a great example of California impressionist painting by Charles Edward Ruttan. Ruttan was born in Canada in 1884 and moved to LA in 1919. He's primarily known as an illustrator, so there aren't a lot of these scenes on the market. He died at age 55, so he didn't have a very long life. It's an oil on canvas, painted probably circa 1920, and it's got typical wear for a painting of that age. It's got nice, even craquelure. It's got a stretcher mark, which is normal. The frame is newer, you said.
Yes, it's about 20 years old.
Yeah, I had it reframed. I do have the original one at home, but it wasn't very pretty, so I didn't like it.
Oh, now that's a good thing. It might add to the value of the painting if you have the original frame.
I think a good auction estimate would be in that $2,000 to $3,000 range, but it could surprise us. Because there are so few on the market, it could be more like $5,000.
Okay, that's wonderful. Thank you.
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.