19th-Century Paul Jean Clays Oil

Value (2012) | $2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction

We purchased it at a yard sale in Big Bear, California.

That was how long ago?

About ten years ago. It was in the garage, and it was an oil painting, and it was very inexpensive. So we knew we couldn't go wrong, and we bought it.

Yeah, you just liked the painting at all, or did you just like seascapes? Or couldn't pass up a bargain?

It was a bargain.

It was a bargain, yeah.

And this is the type of painting that you would recognize from across the room if you've dealt with 19th-century paintings. This is an artist by the name of Paul Jean Clays. He's a Belgian artist. He spent his life painting the seacoasts of northern Belgium and southern Holland. And he does these typical fishing boats in a harbor. We see this little harbor here with a little Dutch windmill. And these are typical fishing boats that you would see in the harbor. Also you'll see this little flag here. You see that's a red, white and blue flag. Well, actually in the 19th century that's a Dutch flag, and so you know this is a Dutch scene. As I say, he was a classically trained painter. He brings a lot of realism to his work in the 19th century. And he had a great following. The only drawback to his work is he does the same thing over and over and over again. He was very prolific, so that sometimes cuts into the value. But what I think I like most about this painting is that the condition is very good. It's been under this glass, and the glass has saved it. I don't always recommend for viewing purposes to view an oil under glass. Certainly watercolors, but oils don't have to have the glass. But the glass protects it from damage. It seems to be on panel, but it could be cleaned. It's a little yellowed in there, and it'll clean up very nice. This cloud will be very much whiter. But the fact that it is so pristine will enhance its value greatly. Now, you paid how much for this?

Ten dollars.

You paid ten dollars. Okay, well, the painting I sold was a lot larger than this, recently. And we sold it for $20,000. A small one like this is probably worth about $6,000 to $8,000.


Not a bad investment, ten dollars.

No, not at all. (laughing)

Appraisal Details

Bonhams, NY
New York, NY
Update (2012)
$2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction
Appraised value (1998)
$6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Los Angeles, CA (August 01, 1998)
19th Century

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