American School Painting, ca. 1862

Value (2012) | $5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction

It is a painting of my great-grandfather at his home in York, New York, in Livingston County. He had ten children, and they're all depicted in this painting. He was a farmer and a grain dealer right here in York.

Well, what you have is a terrific document of 19th century life in York, New York, circa 1862. What this painting illustrates is actually how important painting was before photography became commonplace, because it really records all the details for posterity. And you can see your great-grandfather here. I think you said he was famous for riding around town in his top hat.


And here we have two of the children playing in a kind of miniaturized version of his carriage, with some more children here and here. It has a wonderful rendition of his farmhouse, with all the architectural details. You can see even beautiful flowers planted here. And I love the way the artist has really so carefully depicted all the different kinds of trees. And over here it looks like these two figures might be coming back from the market, because they have a basket with them. So I think you have just a wonderful record of life in the 19th century. You can see details of their clothing as well as a kind of portrait of the house.

I grew up in this town, and there was a sidewalk, and I lived down this far, and would skate up in front of the house. So it has sentimental value.

Yes, lots of sentimental value. The picture is not signed, which is typical of that period. American artists didn't usually sign their works until later in the 19th century. So it's something possibly by an itinerant artist, but probably by someone you're never going to really find out the name. And I think at auction it might be something like $3,000 to $5,000.

Appraisal Details

Update (2012)
$5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
Appraised value (1998)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Rochester, NY (August 08, 1998)

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