Frank H. Desch Oil, ca. 1920

Value (2013) | $25,000 Auction$40,000 Auction

It hung in my maternal grandmother's house in Lake Forest, Illinois, for many years, and she died in 1958 and my mother's sister took it and it lived in New York for many years, and then at some point when I was visiting my aunt, I said, "If you ever move or decide that this painting isn't going to live with you anymore, I would like it."

So it's three generations it's been in the family.

Yes, yes.

Is it hanging in a place now where you enjoy it every day?

Oh yes, my husband watches the sun come up on it every morning. He says the light on it is so beautiful. We both enjoy it.

I can see why. I believe your painting is dateable to about 1920. The painting is by an artist who sells at auction and who's known. The artist is from Philadelphia. But it's an artist about whom not a great deal is known and an artist who has fewer than 20 auction records as of 2013. I looked at the back of the painting on the wood stretcher, and there's a tiny fragment of an unidentified label from New York. Part of the artist's name is on there.

Oh, really?

And that is something that directly corroborates with the signature at the lower right.

Nobody can read it.

Nobody can read it. The painter is an artist called Frank H. Desch-- D-E-S-C-H.


And you can kind of make out the "Frank" and the "H" and a "D." Frank H. Desch was born in 1873, died in 1934, and his style is very much rooted in the impressionists. It's very much, although he trained under Hawthorne and Chase, two real luminaries of American 19th century painting, his style fits in very well with other artists of the period. It reminds me very much of an artist called Charles Courtney Curran, who did beautiful women like this, children on a hillside. And this is unusual within the oeuvre of the artist. The painting is an oil on canvas. The frame, while there's some very minor losses, is, in my opinion, the original frame. Any idea today what the painting is worth?

Not a clue.

Well, the painting today, if offered at auction, would probably bring between $25,000 to $40,000.


Appraisal Details

Freeman's Auctioneers
Philadelphia, PA
Appraised value (2013)
$25,000 Auction$40,000 Auction
Kansas City, MO (August 10, 2013)

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