Henry H. Bagg Painting, ca. 1900
About 20 years ago, the house we were redoing for an older gentleman had to be totally redone. And he was a traveling salesman, among other things, and he sold calendars in the early 1900s. And from what I understand, this was a premium from the artist for him selling so much of this artist's paintings. He traded me the painting for doing extra work on the house.
Well, of course, calendar art was very popular in the early part of the century, as it is today, but there were prominent artists work was being used for such things. Henry Howard Bagg actually painted 45 paintings that were used as calendars. Now, what can you tell us about the artist?
From what I've read, he was considered Nebraska's first art teacher.
Yes, I think that's true. He actually was born in Illinois in 1853 and came to Lincoln around 1885. Taught at Cotner, as you said, and then Nebraska Wesleyan in 1903 until he left in 1918. And then he moves on to Colorado before he dies in 1928. So he spent most of his professional career here. And you feel this is most likely a Nebraska subject, correct?
I think so-- with the grass fire, and the sod houses were something that was really used back then because there's a lack of trees. And fires back then were what cleared the plains and rejuvenated everything, so... it's one of the risks that settlers had to take.
Well, it's a classic Midwestern subject. I would judge this was probably painted sometime around the turn of the century. The painting itself is really in nice condition. It's not relined. It needs a cleaning. As you can see here, it's rather grimy in this white area, very yellow. And there's also a scratch in the surface which does not seem to go through the paint layer. It's something that can be fixed. And the frame, I think, is also original, which makes it a really nice package. I would put this in the $3,500 range if it were to come up to sale in the national marketplace. And here, if it were to be for sale, I think given the subject matter, it might even be worth more like $5,000 or $6,000.
It's really a nice painting.
Yeah, it's a wonderful painting and really a classic subject. It tells you a lot about Nebraska and how we've changed-- we have trees now.
Yes, that's right, that's right.
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