Folk Art Drawing, ca. 1880

Value (2012) | $4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction

It belongs to my husband's grandfather grandfather.

So your husband's great-great-grandfather?

I didn't know how many greats, but some greats. He was in the Civil War, and he died in 1901.

And where was he from?

Valparaiso, Indiana.

Well, this picture, to me, epitomizes what was happening in this part of the world in the Midwest in the last half of the 19th century. This was the breadbasket of the United States. And what we have here is a group of Improved American Merino sheep owned by Isaiah McKinley, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana. And it's signed here, "Sketched from life, by N.W. Wineland, Centerburg, Ohio." Wineland is only one of a number of Ohio artists that were doing this sort of drawing. It represents a style of folk art where these itinerant artists would go and see a prosperous farm, go up to the door, knock on the door, and say, "Hey, I'm an artist. I can do a rendering of your home, your farm, your animals that you will have to commemorate your prosperity." What I love about this is the...just the fatness of the sheep. These sheep were so great. And you can see each one is numbered here. And the number refers to a registration that the farmer was keeping for breeding purposes.

Oh, okay.

It's a way to keep track of their breeding records.

I didn't know that. I thought that was the number of the painting.

This does show a little bit of age damage. And particularly these vertical and round places are from where a wooden board has burned through the paper on the back. Any idea what it's worth?


I would say a good auction estimate for this charcoal and pen drawing is somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000. Surprise you?

Actually, yes. I like it. And I like it better now.

(laughing) Of course, well...

Appraisal Details

Cowan's Auctions, Inc.
Cincinnati, OH
Appraised value (2012)
$4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
Cincinnati, OH (July 21, 2012)

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