Thomas Hill Oil Painting, ca. 1890

Value (2011) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
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GUEST:
I have owned it since the mid-1970s. And I bought it because I went to the mountains in 1968 and became very enamored of the mountains, and it appealed to me.

APPRAISER:
Where were the mountains?

GUEST:
In Montana.

APPRAISER:
Oh, okay.

GUEST:
Glacier Park, Yellowstone Park, and the mountains in between.

APPRAISER:
And how did you acquire it?

GUEST:
I bought it at an estate sale in Edina, and it was priced at $300, and the second day I put in a bid of $175, and I was fortunate to get it.

APPRAISER:
And who's it by?

GUEST:
Thomas Hill, who was an American artist. And he must have painted it in the late 1990s, I would think, something like that.

APPRAISER:
1890s.

GUEST:
1890s, excuse me.

APPRAISER:
He was ahead of his time.

GUEST:
Because he died in 1908.

APPRAISER:
That's right, absolutely. And of course, he is associated with painting in the West, and is considered now one of the great 19th-century American landscape artists.

GUEST:
Is he really?

APPRAISER:
Yes, like, Bierstadt as well would be another contender.

GUEST:
Yes, Bierstadt I rec... and Thomas Moran I know about.

APPRAISER:
Indeed, absolutely. But although he's considered a great American artist, he was actually born in England, and came over when he was a young man. He was about 15 and came with his family at that point, and lived in Massachusetts to begin with. But he divided his time between the East, New Hampshire, but probably best known, and is known as the artist of the Yosemite for the time that he spent there. Sadly, he spent a lot of time in Yosemite because he had a very unhappy marriage, and I think to get himself out of that situation, he spent a lot of time painting. In fact, I believe he did somewhere around about 5,000 paintings of Yosemite. But we're not quite sure where this is, are we? Do you have any ideas, this painting?

GUEST:
No, no.

APPRAISER:
I'm not entirely clear.

GUEST:
Someplace in the Sierras.

APPRAISER:
Maybe in the Sierras, absolutely. And it's a very attractive work by him. It's an interesting one. Quite sketchy, in a way. You know, it's somewhere... there's that line between sketchy and impressionistic, and I think it treads that quite closely. We can see here, you know, his use of umber and stippling. So we have all that in the foreground, and then there's a great sense of depth going into... you can see that little waterfall, which is probably huge when you get closer to it, but here it's just a little stroke of white paint, and then obviously the snow-capped peaks in the background there. So it's an attractive piece. I think, at auction in the current market, I would feel comfortable putting an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.

GUEST:
Wonderful.

APPRAISER:
Yeah. So I hope that's a nice surprise.

GUEST:
It is a nice surprise.

APPRAISER:
Good. If this were one of his more grandiose, one of the more majestic mountain scenes, very dramatic, those paintings can make well into six figures. But those tend to be, as I say, much more dramatic scenes than this one, which is a little more subdued, let's say.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Freeman's Auctioneers
Philadelphia, PA
Appraised value (2011)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Event
Minneapolis, MN (July 09, 2011)
Period
19th Century
Material
Oil

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