1883 Edward Emerson Simmons Oil Painting

Value (2012) | $20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction

I do know it's an...is it Edward Simmons? It was something that my father bought in the 1950s, and it came to me through my stepmother's estate. When I was going through her possessions, I looked at my father's inventory. He just had his own notes on it, and that's all.

So you remember it hanging in the house someplace?

Not in their house. I never saw it until about the last two years of her life.

Did you find out anything about the artist, Edward Simmons?

I think he was primarily a muralist, from the little bit I saw.

You're right about him being a muralist. His name is Edward Emerson Simmons. His uncle was Ralph Waldo Emerson. He grew up in Boston but spent a lot of time in Europe. He was born in 1852, but from '79 to '91 he was in Europe, and he painted over there and then came back and was associated with "The Ten" artists. It's a group of ten artists that showed together-- people like Childe Hassam and Edmund Tarbell-- but Simmons is perhaps the least known of them because as you said, he was known as a muralist. A lot of his works were on walls, and they aren't traded in the art world. But this is a work that he did in an era in...probably in Brittany in western France, and it's dated 1883. It's one of those scenes he did out in the open. That's what we call plein air painting. You would take a small piece of canvas on board and then paint this right there. So he would try to capture the light, and you can see that coming off the little sand here, the little greens and the light on the side of the church over there. Beautiful light in the sky. He's really trying to capture the essence and the atmosphere of that place. It's a beautiful little painting. Since he's a muralist, there aren't many of them, and a lot of them are in Europe. Looking up his records, he's only had about 50 paintings that have come up over the last 20 years or so, so that makes him very rare. Now, this one's in fairly good shape. Did you have it cleaned at all?

Yes, I inherited it about 2003 and I had it cleaned about a year after that.

This one's very lively. Some of his little seascapes that he's done are just sort of fairly plain, there's just water, but here we have the lively rocks, the sand, the light, and since they're rare as hen's teeth, I would say this is probably, if we were to put it at auction, I'd put an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000 on it.

That's very nice.

Appraisal Details

Bonhams, NY
New York, NY
Appraised value (2012)
$20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction
Seattle, WA (August 18, 2012)

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