Minnesota Folk Art Painting, ca. 1900

Value (2011) | $4,000 Retail$6,000 Retail

In 1957, my parents were looking at a home to purchase, and in the attic this painting was laying on the floor, so my mother asked them, "Well, can I buy this painting with the house?" because they were going to purchase the house, and they said, "Sure, for two dollars." So she bought it for two dollars. And it hung in that house for 40 years.

Have you got it hanging in your house now?

Yes, I do.

Well, when you first walked over with it, I just saw the frame for a second, and I loved the fact that it still had the original fire gilt there on the frame.


And when you undid the scene, I figured it must be a local scene around here somewhere, it's hard to know for sure, but I bet you we could probably look around and find those falls somewhere, and maybe once somebody sees this on TV, we'll find out where it is.

That would be good.

It's got a nice feel to it, and it's a very naïve interpretation. The houses look a little bit out of kilter as far as perspective, and the other thing that I liked about it besides the fact that it's set in that nice, mountainous landscape, is right here, I figured that must be some kind of a water wheel, probably a mill or something. I can see a lot of dirt on there, and this does not need to be relined or have any kind of major restoration done on it, but if you took it to the right person and got a light cleaning, I'll bet you that thing would jump off of there. So have you ever had anybody look at this or appraise it or anything?

One time an insurance person asked my mother if he could buy it, but my mother said no.

So was the insurance... what was the insurance person?

He was insuring things within her home for homeowner's insurance.

Most appraisers organizations have a code of ethics where you're really not allowed to do that, and it's important that if somebody appraises something for somebody that they don't buy it. This is late 19th century, maybe 1890, 1900. It could be a little bit after that, even. If this painting were in New England or some other part of the country where there's so much more material to pick from, the price would be pretty reasonable, but I think because it's from this region and it has good local appeal and a good scene that its retail value would be probably $4,000 to $6,000.

Oh, my stars! Well, that was a good find.

Appraisal Details

Ken Farmer LLC
Charlottesville, VA
Appraised value (2011)
$4,000 Retail$6,000 Retail
Minneapolis, MN (July 09, 2011)
Folk Art

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