1946 Leo Kenney Oil on Canvas

Value (2012) | $5,000 Retail$8,000 Retail

It is a Leo Kenney, and Leo Kenney was from Seattle, Washington. He was born in 1925 and died in 2001. He painted it in 1946, when he was 21 years old, and it was probably one of his first paintings. It wasn't anything that would have been displayed anywhere because it was a painting that he sold to friends of his, to a couple. One of them had died. The surviving spouse held an estate sale and sold it to my sister.

It's clearly signed down here in the lower right, "Leo Kenney," and also dated, "1946." It is a very early painting for the artist, who was a Seattle-based area artist. He was born in Spokane, but he moved here at a very young age. This young man was considered a prodigy. He was painting this kind of picture when he was 20 years old. He was given a one-man show at the Seattle Art Museum just a few years after this and was the youngest person to ever have that distinction, and I think that record holds until today. He was very, very influenced by the Surrealist movement. When he was in his teens and was initially taking an interest in painting, he saw the work of Salvador Dalì and Giorgio de Chirico, and this is what you're seeing here. The only really recognizable elements are this boat down here; there's what looks like the moon, perhaps, weeping tears in the sky. It's an oil painting on canvas. The palette of these muted tones and blues and grays and things is attributed in part to the colors of the Seattle areas: the cloudy skies, the gray days. And, he also again was influenced by the Surrealist artists, who used palettes that were primarily shades of grey and black. Now, you purchased this painting from your sister, I believe, but she had purchased it prior to that, so what's the price history?

She, in addition to the painting, also purchased furniture. I asked her what she paid at the estate sale, she said, "$2,700."

And when you purchased this from her subsequently?

I purchased it from her in 2003 for $1,500.

His market is very specifically here in the Northwest. I believe an appropriate estimate would be between $5,000 and $8,000.

Oh, wow.

And if you were to see this in a retail gallery setting here in the Seattle area, I think it would be up to as much as $10,000.


Appraisal Details

Harwood Fine Arts, Inc.
South Hadley, MA
Appraised value (2012)
$5,000 Retail$8,000 Retail
Seattle, WA (August 18, 2012)
20th Century
Canvas, Oil

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