Cullen Yates ”Hazy Day Autumn“ Oil Painting, ca. 1920
My wife's grand-uncle was in the road construction business. And he was in Upstate New York. It was the first time the roads had ever been paved. And this fellow came out and asked him, while he was right on his street, would he mind doing their driveway? So he said no, he'd be perfectly fine doing the driveway. So he did it, and then afterwards when he went for the money, the fellow said, well, he didn't have any money. Would he take one of his paintings? So he took this. And when he got home, the wife said, "Well, where's the money?" (laughing) And he said, "Well, I got this instead." And she never let him forget it for the rest of his life, so...
Now, do you know anything about the artist? All I know is that he's in the American Who's Who of painters, but other than that, no.
Okay, his name is Cullen Yates. It was actually technically Owen Cullen Yates. He dropped the "Owen." And your painting is signed here on the lower left. It's a little hard to see, but you can just make out the signature over here. And the reverse, there's actually a wonderful label that gives us the title of the picture, which is just "Hazy Day Autumn." It doesn't tell us exactly where he painted, but we know quite a bit about his life. And of course, we know where the painting itself came from. Yates was born in Ohio and showed a lot of talent as a young man and was very interested in art. And as many artists did in the late 19th century, he went to New York and he studied at the National Academy of Design. And there he met an artist by the name of William Merritt Chase. Now, Chase was one of the premier painters of the day. One of the things that made him so influential was that he loved and really espoused the virtues of painting on the scene. Rather than creating an image in your studio, you would go to the place. And he had a real love of landscape, and that was something he imbued in many of his students. And Yates was certainly one of those, and would go on site to work as well. Now, Yates is most associated with the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania. But he also did live for a time in New York state, and this is clearly where he would have found it. And it was probably a stream right in that neck of the woods, right local to his studio. He did travel some, but he tended to work very locally wherever he was based at the time. Now, do you have any sense of the value of the painting?
Well, we had it valued I'd say about 15 years ago, and they said about $2,000.
Well, I think there might be some forgiveness in your family over the question of where the money is, because the money is here. It's just hidden in the landscape. If you were to sell this picture today at auction, you would be looking at $5,000 to $7,000 for it.
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