William Hollingsworth Watercolor

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

It's come down in my husband's family. The family history is that William Hollingsworth and Karl Wolfe were living in an apartment in my husband's grandmother's house in Jackson, Mississippi, couldn't pay the rent one month and paid with paintings.

And what do you know about the artist?

He is a Mississippi artist, grew up in Jackson, attended the Art Institute of Chicago, met his wife Jane there, they married and came back to Jackson. He painted there for quite a while. During the Depression, for a while, he worked as a clerk in one of the federal programs, and then they decided that he would paint full-time and she would work. And in the early '40s, his father had passed away, and he became depressed and he committed suicide.

Well, my understanding about him...and I will be the first to say that I knew his name, but not very much at all about him until you brought this, and I found the quality of the picture so very high and very interesting. I think that this picture dates from right around mid to late 1930s. The style in which it's drawn suggests that, and we have a really nice signature down here. He did eventually paint for a living, but apparently was prone to depression and prone to mood swings, as it was described, and sadly, was only 34 when he took his own life in 1944. What I enjoyed very much about it is that it's a two-sided watercolor, which you I assume have had framed in such a way that we can see both sides. And while the first side we've been looking at represents this kind of urban situation, on the other side, we have this absolutely, totally countryside picture. I think this palette with the purples and the yellows and the golds and the watermelons, his color sense is really extraordinarily beautiful. And I wonder, have you ever done any research in terms of a market for him or seen any of his works for sale anywhere?

Not really, no.

Your watercolor is painted on a traditional watercolor paper mount. And it's one sheet that is painted on one side, and then he flipped it over and painted the other side. I suspect he felt that this was the more predominant side, maybe what he was happier with. For whatever reason, it's the side he signed. And usually that means it's the side the artist probably intended to be the finished product.


I'm going to suggest that if this were a picture that were coming to auction, I would expect to see an estimate on it of between $8,000 and $12,000.

Oh, wow. Thank you, I appreciate it.

Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Kathleen Harwood Fine Art
South Hadley, MA
Appraised value (2013)
$8,000 Auction$12,000 Auction
Baton Rouge, LA (July 27, 2013)

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