Rufus Grider Album, ca. 1850
I go yard-saling on Saturday mornings, and I went to a yard sale, and I was looking through some books, and I found this one and so I bought it.
And how much did you pay for it?
When I first looked at the book, I noticed that most of the watercolor and gouache, which is another kind of watercolor painting... Most of the pictures were of flowers. A whole variety of different fruits and flowers. Then I noticed... on this picture, which I think is pretty spectacular, it was clearly signed, "Rufus A. Grider." In the Victorian times-- late 19th century-- it was common for people to do these books or albums of studies of botanicals. It was a popular hobby. But what gave me the idea that it might be more than just a hobby was when I saw this inscription. There's a number of pages, in addition to the flowers, that are sort of like an autograph book. So this signature, which says "John Peck," Rufus Grider has inscribed underneath, "My schoolteacher who presented me with a box of watercolors." So that gave me an idea that maybe he really had been an artist. Then I saw, in addition to the flower pictures, this really lovely landscape, which is inscribed below "View of Bethlehem"-- that is, Pennsylvania-- "from the lowlands." And this gave the artist a whole other dimension. But what really stopped me in my tracks was when I saw this picture. This is wonderful. I went back to the computer and I typed in "Rufus Grider," and he comes up as an art teacher who worked in Mohawk Valley, New York. He moved there from Pennsylvania. And he really never made it as a big-time artist, but in addition to being an art teacher, he was a historian, he was a lecturer, he did a lot of research, and he devoted a lot of his time and energy to recording the history of that region and going around and painting old houses and landscapes, and left about 2,000 works to posterity up there, which really records the Mohawk Valley. This is just a wonderful album. It has so many terrific images in it. I hope that it could stay intact. It would really be a crime to see it all be separated.
And I really think that together, it might be as much as $20,000 to $30,000.
This picture alone, someone might pay between $10,000 and $15,000 for. It is so charming. It has a child in the rocker with a dog and this wonderful carpet. It's really an icon of folk art, not to mention that you have all these really gorgeous botanicals. There's about 80 flower pictures in here.
It's really a great buy for 25 cents. (laughing)
I can't believe that. Oh. I may take the day off. (laughing)
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