Zelda Fitzgerald Oil Painting, ca. 1935

Value (2011) | $10,000 Auction$20,000 Auction

I brought to you a painting by Zelda Fitzgerald. She painted this while she was a patient in Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1930s. And she painted this picture for a doctor who was the psychiatrist in charge of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. I inherited it from the doctor.

This is such an interesting item for us to see here. Everyone knows the story of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. They're kind of an iconic American couple of the 20th century. The story of Zelda, the beautiful young Southern belle who married F. Scott Fitzgerald, the rising artist in 1920, and they became the quintessential sort of golden couple of the jazz age of the '20s and had a storybook life, knew everyone who was everyone in Europe. Zelda obviously encountered many of the modernist painters and was influenced by them, and their life was almost idyllic for quite some time until it began to come to a rather bad end when Zelda eventually succumbed to mental illness. She was in various mental institutions during the course of the '30s and the '40s, first in Europe, and then in America. She died tragically in a fire in 1948, in a mental institution, and part of her therapy was painting. She became a very accomplished painter. And from what I see here, we're looking at oil on canvas in what is probably a frame from around that period, and it appears to be in reasonably good condition. And the paintings, as far as I understand it, were largely given away as gifts, and so today, we never see them on the open market. Now, the rarity of these pictures does raise the question of authenticity. I don't have an authenticity question about this picture because you brought us some very compelling documentary evidence supporting the provenance, and this rather wonderful painting of nasturtiums also is convincing in its own right as her work. But it would require consultation with some Fitzgerald scholars and experts in order to absolutely confirm the authenticity without any question. The one picture which I have tracked down, from 15 years ago, sold for $4,000 at an auction in New York City. That was a long time ago. Markets change, interest changes. In today's market, a conservative auction estimate on this painting would be between $10,000 and $15,000. And I think for you to insure it, you should be thinking about perhaps $20,000.

Well, that's very nice, thank you.

Well, thank you. I'm very excited. I got chills when you told me what you had in that box.

Appraisal Details

Kathleen Harwood Fine Art
South Hadley, MA
Appraised value (2011)
$10,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
El Paso, TX (June 18, 2011)

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