Joseph Whiting Stock Folk Art Portrait, ca. 1845

Value (2012) | $20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction
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GUEST:
Well, this is my grandmother's older brother and sister. I know that Godwin was the portrait painter. Not too famous, but he did do...I think he did Seward when Seward was governor of New York.

APPRAISER:
And this was the Godwin who was a New York painter?

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
These people all lived in New York.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
Upstate, around Ithaca area.

APPRAISER:
All righty. And you've had some conservation work done to this painting, haven't you?

GUEST:
Yes, yes.

APPRAISER:
And you had it cleaned and relined and made presentable. What if I was to tell you that your family story about who painted this painting was not right? Would you believe me?

GUEST:
Well, I have no idea.

APPRAISER:
This painting has all of the characteristics of a Massachusetts painter named Joseph Whiting Stock. Joseph Whiting Stock was from Springfield, Massachusetts. He was born in 1818 and died around 1854 in Springfield. Along the way, he painted in Connecticut and Rhode Island and in western Massachusetts. But the reason we know it's Stock, when you look at the rug down here, that's very characteristic of the kind of detail that Stock put in his paintings. The little hat on the floor. And the little grapes that the children are holding. He very typically would have children like this holding items in their hands. Now, Stock has an interesting history himself. At the age of 17, he became paralyzed from the waist down. And so he had a special wheelchair made for him so he could travel around and paint. And I would date this painting probably mid-1840s, maybe late 1840s. Because it's been cleaned and relined, that's affected its value.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Purists and connoisseurs of these types of early folk art portraits would rather see them with their original dark, grimy, untouched finish, rather than completely cleaned and redone.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Now, what do you think this painting might be worth?

GUEST:
I have no idea.

APPRAISER:
None whatsoever? Well, in consultation with my colleagues, we all agreed that a good auction estimate for this painting would be $20,000 to $30,000.

GUEST:
You're kidding.

APPRAISER:
No, I'm not kidding.

GUEST:
(sighing) That's interesting.

APPRAISER:
(laughing) Well, I hope it's more than interesting.

GUEST:
I don't intend to sell it.

APPRAISER:
Of course not.

GUEST:
It's really interesting, but I'm shocked that it's a different painter.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Cowan's Auctions, Inc.
Cincinnati, OH
Appraised value (2012)
$20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction
Event
Rapid City, SD (July 14, 2012)
Period
19th Century

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