Arthur Wardle Oil & Decorative Painting

Value (2012) | $15,500 Auction$20,700 Auction

I brought in a pair of Arthur Wardle, at least I'm hoping so, oil paintings. I've had this one since I believe it was 1988. I bought this one from Mrs. Markoff. She was the owner of the Marbro Lamp Company, which made exquisite lamps, and this was in her High Point showroom, and I just fell in love with the painting. Came back the next year, it was still there, and the third year, I just kept on lusting after it, but it was more money than I had to spend. She asked $8,500 for it in the showroom. She said she would look up how much she paid for it and sell it to me at what she bought it for. She looked it up in her books and she bought it in 1951 for $27.50, so that's what I paid.

And how about the one closest to you?

I purchased this I think two years ago online. I paid $800, and it was kind of a throw of the dice.

Throwing the dice, all right, a little bit of a gamble. Arthur Wardle was born in 1864, lived until 1949, and is today considered really one of the pre-eminent painters of dogs. And amongst the dogs that he painted, it is the terriers typically that are considered the most popular, as compared to, say, spaniels that we have here. He is known for giving the animals a certain character, a certain personality. The picture closest to me, you look at the eyes, you look at the expression, there's really a real personality that's captured there. This one is titled "Rough Haired Fox Terriers." It would have been executed in the last quarter of the 19th century or possibly the first quarter of the 20th century. This picture is clearly signed in the lower center, "Arthur Wardle." It's an oil on canvas. This picture is also signed, "A. Wardle," and it's dated. Of the two pictures, is there one that you prefer, one over the other?

Oh, yeah.

This one. The quality, the brushwork, the intensity of the expressions on these two dogs, these two terriers, as compared to the brushwork, the facial features of these two spaniels, there's a little bit of a difference. I look at features like the tongue on this dog on the far left a little bit heavy-handed. You look at some of the features of the snout of the dog, even the way the signature and the date are rendered, it's a little bit heavy-handed. The more we look at the one closest to you, we come to the conclusion that it's not by Arthur Wardle.


Now, in our parlance, we would therefore say it bears the signature of Wardle, as well as the date, but we wouldn't say it's actually signed or executed by Wardle. It's not bad as a decorative picture, but Wardle was simply better than that; he had a more sensitive, delicate touch, and he was a better painter than the one that you see closest to you. Today, in the current market at auction, this Wardle of the two terriers would be valued at $15,000 to $20,000. This painting closest to you, for auction purposes, probably closer to about $500 to $700, and it would really be offered as a decorative picture of two spaniels, an original oil painting, but one that bears Wardle's signature but not really to be confused with Wardle. Thank you so much for bringing them in.

Thank you, David.

Appraisal Details

Freeman's Auctioneers
Philadelphia, PA
Appraised value (2012)
$15,500 Auction$20,700 Auction
Seattle, WA (August 18, 2012)

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