1917 William R. Leigh "Drying Corn" Oil
My mother and her two sisters were each given one of three paintings back in the mid-'60s, I believe. I think the two sisters sold theirs quite quickly after they received them, and my mother was offered $500 for the third one of the three, and she turned it down. She gave it to me about 20 years ago. I've kind of had it in different storage areas, never put it up for display, never had it in a frame or anything.
William Robinson Leigh was born in 1866 in West Virginia, lived on the family farm. He showed some talent as far as being an artist, so he went away to study art in Baltimore, and then from there, he went to Europe to study from 1883 to 1895. In 1896, he went to New York and he established a studio there, and he did magazine illustration for magazines like Scribner's. And he was also at that time painting landscapes and portraits, but he was not successful, and he wasn't particularly happy, I think. So in 1906, he made his first trip to the Southwest, and he really fell in love with it. And a year later, he was able to negotiate a deal that, in exchange for painting a painting of the Grand Canyon, he would get free transportation. This was for the Santa Fe Railroad. And they loved the painting so much that they bought five more. Between 1912 and 1926, he spent every summer in the Southwest, mainly in New Mexico and Arizona, and he focused on painting Indians, particularly Navajo and Hopi. And this picture is of a Hopi maiden. You can tell that she's unmarried by the way she's dressed and also by the style of her hair.
It dates from 1917. It's signed "W.R. Leigh" and it's also inscribed "N.Y." for New York because his studio was in New York, and he would travel to the Southwest generally in the summers.
Okay, I see.
This is probably in northern Arizona at the pueblo. This is in oil, and it's painted on something called artists' board, which is almost like a kind of cardboard. It's really a lovely work. What's also nice is that on the reverse of the painting, it's inscribed with the title "Drying Corn." Leigh was particularly known for his brilliant use of color and the effects of sun and light, and I think this would clean up beautifully. Do you have any sense at all as to what the value might be? Not really, other than seeing one of his works on the ROADSHOW, a previous episode, but it was one of his landscape paintings, I think, that was appraised. It was quite larger, and it appraised quite well, so really no idea what this work might be worth here.
If this were in a retail gallery, I think the asking price could be as much as $75,000. This is really a little gem.
Whoa, wow... wow.
So I would say to you it's time to put it in a frame.
Okay, I think so. Wow, that's a lot more than we thought for. That's absolutely amazing.
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