Joseph Stella Pastel, ca. 1925
Thank you for bringing in this lovely Joseph Stella pastel. Now, I understand it's been in your family for quite a while, yes?
Yeah, it actually started with my mother's uncle, who was a big collector. All the good art that we have actually in our house came from Albert.
So he would have bought this around what time, do you think?
I figured somewhere in the 1940s, if that's possible.
Yes. What a wonderful eye, to have bought this Stella at that point. Stella's an interesting artist. He was born in Italy and then came to the United States, where he studied at the Art Students League. And looking at this piece and some of the pieces that he has in the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum, one would be very surprised to learn that his teacher was William Merritt Chase. And Chase was a very conservative American impressionist artist, but Stella had a lot more going on than that conservative way. In 1909, he went back to Europe, and 1909 was a really bubbling year for the avant-garde artists there, and from them, he learned the idea of industrial design and movement and speed and everything that was sort of the antithesis of the impressionist style that he began with. He's also an interesting artist in that he had a symbolist side, a very spiritual side, and this piece really speaks to that spiritual, otherworldly vision that he had. One of his most famous paintings is of the lights and the water and the sound and the activity of the Brooklyn Bridge, and in this very symbolic, gentle, beautiful painting, he's given us another bridge. My sense is that it was probably painted in the mid-'20s, mid-1920s. He died in the '40s. It is signed lower right, and it's a wonderful painting. You shared with me an appraisal from the '80s.
It was appraised at $15,000 in 1980.
Well, I personally, and my colleagues agree with me, believe it to be a really major Stella. Given its significance and given your great-uncle's great eye, I would value it retail at probably about $75,000.
And it could be even more. It's a very special, wonderful painting. What a treasure, what a treasure. Thank you for bringing it.
Thank you, thank you, and my family thanks you too for learning more about it.
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