Fremont Ellis Painting, “Red River Canyon, El Rancho De San Sebastian”

Value (2013) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
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GUEST:
I used to live in New Mexico. I went home for Christmas, and my mom loves to go thrift-store hopping with me, and she said, "Well, why don't we go to the local Salvation Army? I hear they've got 50% off today."

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
This painting was just kind of tucked away in the corner.

APPRAISER:
Oh, really?

GUEST:
It had a three-dollar price sticker on it, and for that day, since everything in the store was 50% off, I got it for $1.50.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
I saw that it was Fremont Ellis, so I looked at the back of the picture and I noticed that it was painted in New Mexico so I thought, "Oh, this is somebody I think I know." I guess a school that he started-- a group of about five painters that called themselves Los Cinco Pintores.

APPRAISER:
Right.

GUEST:
That's about it, that's all I know.

APPRAISER:
Well, Fremont Ellis was from New Mexico, and he did go off to study school in New York, study painting at the Art Students' League, but came back and did paint in New Mexico and painted a lot in New Mexico. It was very typical of the Santa Fe and Taos area. And when I saw this painting coming up, you could see immediately it was a Western painting. And you can tell by the great use of light in the sky and the light in the trees, this wonderful autumn foliage. It's very typical of his work. The great water here, all these elements-- this wonderful plein air painting, this sort of Western impressionist style. The other thing is on the back of this, it says exactly where it is. It says, "Red River Canyon, el Rancho del San Sebastian." He's known to paint there often. It's very important in American painting to have the spot, and rarely do you get it, but here you have exactly where it is, so that'll add to the value of the painting. You can see it has some age to it. Ellis was born in 1897, he died in 1985, and his paintings have come up recently. Now, you said you paid $1.50 for this one.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Would you be surprised if I told you that this painting, if it were to go to auction today, we would probably get about $10,000 to $15,000 for it?

GUEST:
Oh, my Lord, you're kidding me!

APPRAISER:
Yes, exactly.

GUEST:
My mother told me it's ugly.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Bonhams, NY
New York, New York
Value Update (2013)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Appraised value (1999)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Event
Salt Lake City, UT (July 10, 1999)
Period
20th Century
Material
Paint

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