William Zorach Carved Wood Sculpture of a Cat, ca.1930

Value (2012) | $35,000 Auction$40,000 Auction
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GUEST:
I got it from my sister, and she got it from a friend of hers about five or six years ago. It was sitting on her mantel and she just decided she didn't want it anymore, and I have cats at home, and I have a cat picture on the wall, so it was natural for her

to give it to me.

APPRAISER:
So you know who the artist is, a fairly well-known artist.

GUEST:
I do.

APPRAISER:
Tell me what you found out about Mr. Zorach.

GUEST:
I looked on the Internet. He was an abstract painter, it looks like, in the first part of the last century, and then he started doing carvings, and cats were one of his things that he liked to do.

APPRAISER:
That's right. He was born in Lithuania and came here as a child. He studied in New York, he studied in Paris, and he did start as a painter, an abstract painter. In fact, he exhibited at this famous Armory show of 1913. He became well known as a sculptor, and this is a great example of his carving. It's signed here on the back, "Zorach," and I like that really bold, bold signature there.

GUEST:
Oh, I do too. Yeah, that's great.

APPRAISER:
I think he was really proud of this wonderful, wonderful cat. I mean, it's amazing how he captures his personality.

GUEST:
The personality is what I really liked about it.

APPRAISER:
t's very, very heavy, as you know.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Pretty sure it's made out of mahogany. It's tough to carve, so this is a great testament to his carving abilities. And I don't know if you noticed, but this is made out of two pieces of wood.

GUEST:
No, I didn't notice that!

APPRAISER:
You see right over here?

GUEST:
Yeah, I thought it was a crack or something like that.

APPRAISER:
No, because it goes all the way around.

GUEST:
Oh!

APPRAISER:
The wood was not quite high enough, so typically, artists would glue together two pieces and then carve it.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
I think this was carved probably in the 1920s or '30s.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
He did a lot of sculptures. He liked these cats. Most of his work was done in bronze. The carved wood ones are much rarer. And that's what's so great about this is its surface, the way it's carved, the sort of faceting, and it gives it a life, it gives vitality to the piece.

GUEST:
Yeah, yeah.

APPRAISER:
I would think at auction, this is probably in the $25,000 to $35,000 range.

GUEST:
That's quite a bit.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
And I think it's toward the higher end of that.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
Because the size is very good, and the personality that he's been able to capture in this cat is just so wonderful.

GUEST:
Yeah, I had no idea. A cliché, but I... That's amazing, it really is.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lillian Nassau LLC
New York, NY
Value Update (2012)
$35,000 Auction$40,000 Auction
Appraised value (2011)
$25,000 Auction$35,000 Auction
Event
Eugene, OR (June 04, 2011)
Period
20th Century
Form
Carving
Material
Mahogany, Wood
November 12, 2012: We contacted appraiser Eric Silver for an updated appraisal in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $35,000 - $45,000 (Increased)

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