Othon Friesz Oil, ca. 1930

Value (2012) | $8,000 Auction$12,000 Auction

In 1937, my husband, who was then almost 16 years old, went to France with his mother and his sister. And they bought this painting, and they paid $30 for it. So it's been hanging in various family homes ever since, and now it's mine.

And do you know anything about the artist?

I know his name is Friesz. That's all I know about him.

Emile Othon Friesz, who laterally was known just as Othon Friesz. He was born in Le Havre, the French port in Normandy, and came from a long line of mariners. But his parents were very encouraging of his artistic career, and he went to art school in Le Havre and became friends with Raoul Dufy, a famous French impressionist who was to become a lifelong friend. And also at the same time, he got to know George Braque, who subsequently went on to develop cubism with Picasso. He had studied in Paris. I think he moved to Paris around about 1897 or so. And there he met Matisse, and he met Manguin, Rouault. And all those artists are associated with a group of painters known as the Fauves, who I'm sure you've heard of. I don't know if you know what the Fauves literally translates as.

Tell me.

The wild beasts.

(laughing) Oh my.

It was one of these pejorative terms used by a critic during one of their exhibitions. He was called a wild beast basically because they were using such aggressive brushwork, and vivid, strong bold colors. And this was considered outrageous at the time. Now, Othon Friesz was perhaps best known for his association with those Fauve painters. Perhaps Matisse is the best known of them, followed by perhaps Derain. And Friesz wasn't quite in that company, he was perhaps in the secondary group, but he was still a wonderful artist. And those critical years were really from about 1904 to 1908. And for those works, there's great demand at auction. Now, this is a later work. And I suspect it may even have been painted around about the time that your husband bought the painting. You said 1937 or so.


So I would think maybe the 1930s or so. But it's a very nice example of that later mature style. He actually reverted after his foray into the world of the wild beasts. He became more of a traditional painter and looked more to the old masters, artists like Poussin and Chardin, rather than his contemporaries, artists like Matisse. I suspect that this is indeed an original frame. I'm not sure what $30 would translate into in current monetary terms, but at auction I would expect a piece like this to fetch somewhere in the $8,000 to $12,000 range.

Oh, how wonderful. Oh, that...the kids will be thrilled.

Good. In 2007, I believe it was, in London one of the paintings that he did in 1906 when he was really at the top of his Fauve game sold for $2.5 million.

Oh my.

Appraisal Details

Freeman's Auctioneers
Philadelphia, PA
Appraised value (2012)
$8,000 Auction$12,000 Auction
Cincinnati, OH (July 21, 2012)

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.