Folk Art Oil Painting, ca. 1880

Value (2013) | $8,000 Auction$12,000 Auction

I'm told that my great-grandfather purchased it in a bar in Laguna Beach around 1900.

Good grief! In a bar?

In a bar, and we were told he was also a teetotaler, so we're not sure why he was in the bar.

Oh, my goodness.

Maybe buying art in Laguna, which is of course an art colony.

Yes. Your family has had the painting for all this time?

All this time. It's always been kind of a mystery, and we just really decided it would be fun to try to find out where it came from.

And you came to the folk art table, which is totally appropriate because it is a very folky picture, if you will. It's not painted by an artist that was schooled. You can see that there is not a great understanding of perspective. We know this is an oil-on-canvas painting, and there's a little craqueleur along the surface, but nothing really to worry about. It's in great condition. Most probably, it is an American or North American painted piece. But when I look at this, I see somehow it's evocative of the Trans Canadian Railway. I mean, if you think about the great grand hotels that were built in the late 19th century, because of course this painting was done probably about 1880 or so, and the way we know that is looking at a lot of the dresses. There's a little picnic going on in the foreground, as you can see close to you. The people who are strolling on the grounds of this great resort hotel and enjoying themselves. Do you know how much your great-grandfather might have paid for this painting?

No, we don't. It's amazing the number of documents we have in our family of all sorts of information, but we don't have that.

No bill of sale for this?

No bill of sale for this.

Not surprising, since it was purchased in a bar.

That's what they say.

Any idea of its value?

Absolutely no idea whatsoever.

I would probably place as an auction estimate on a picture like this in the $8,000 to $12,000 range.

Oh, wow, fun! (laughs) Excellent!

Appraisal Details

Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2013)
$8,000 Auction$12,000 Auction
Anaheim, CA (June 22, 2013)
19th Century

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