Joseph Henry Sharp Oil, ca. 1920
Our neighbor next door was an older lady, and she would have no fear of walking up into anybody's yard to pick flowers. My dad loved to grow roses, and he had groomed a rose that he was going to enter into Cincinnati's Rose Society. Well, one day he came home from work and he found that this Peace rose that he was grooming to put in the show was gone.
So he wandered over to this lady's house. He said, "I see you have picked my Peace rose. "From now on, if you want any flower in my garden, "just come and ask me, "and if I'm not going to put it in a show, I would be happy to cut it and give it to you."
So they became friends. She willed my mother and dad this painting. Later on, we decided we would go on an adventure, trying to trace something about it because nobody in Cincinnati knew exactly what this painting was about. So we went up to Taos and this lady said, "This was where Sharp lived with his wife. This is the kitchen door--he loved hollyhocks--and this over here was called Little Egypt, which was the outhouse. (laughing) And then this mountain here is where the Indians went and they worshipped on top of this mountain.
Well, as you've already said, Sharp is the artist, and you can see his signature down here, "J H Sharp" for Joseph Henry Sharp, and he was a local boy. He was born here in Ohio. He was not much of a student in any case, and he actually had an accident--he nearly drowned--and that led to the deterioration of his hearing.
Oh, I didn't know that.
And because of that, he found school increasingly difficult, but what he loved more than anything else were the stories of James Fenimore Cooper, and that's what really ignited his interest in the Southwest and in American Indians. And as he got older and had increasing trouble with school, he became more interested in art and painting, and he started taking classes here at the Cincinnati Academy of Art. He studied in Germany for a while. He took his first trip to the desert Southwest in 1883. He went to Santa Fe, traveled up through California. He went to the AcadÈmie Julian in Paris in the 1890s. It wasn't until 1909 that he bought his first permanent studio down in Taos. He moved there permanently in 1912. He loved gardens and flowers. So this is a wonderful oil on canvas, and it's in a period frame. The picture probably dates from right around 1920. If you were to put this at auction today, you could expect it to bring $25,000 to $35,000.
For insurance purposes, I'd cover it at $50,000.
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