Katharine Wireman Illustration, ca. 1925
This painting was in a high school in Illinois, and the high school was built in 1918. The first principal of the school felt that the students should be exposed to the humanities. And part of the plan was to incorporate art-- mostly reproductions, because it was cheaper. The high school was there until about the 1960s, at which time the county, which was very small, consolidated its schools. And this building basically just went into neglect. So an alumni association got ownership of the items, and they started a small museum. Unfortunately, in 2004, it was hit by a tornado, and the building was destroyed. And they dispersed these things to other institutions or individuals. My mom was on the association, and I'd heard her say that some of them they were thinking about just maybe even tossing. And I'm like, "Don't let them throw them away, you can't do that." Don't let them throw them away. So that's how I came to have this in my possession.
So did you pay anything for it?
Well, the piece is by an American woman illustrator named Katharine Wireman. And she was born in Pennsylvania in the late 19th century. A woman illustrator in the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century had kind of a hard road because once you got married, it was usually over. Katharine Wireman continued working after her marriage, doing covers for the Saturday Evening Post, for lots of children's books, and also for Procter & Gamble, where she used her children as the models for their tremendously successful Ivory soap advertising promotion. The piece is oil on artist board. You have some dings, as one might imagine, from just a piece being alive for that long. Probably done in the '20s or '30s. But it's ultimately in quite good condition. It's in its original frame. The combination of her being a woman artist, a successful woman illustrator, and also the fact that it's a really wonderful example of her artwork that has a child-- one of her children, maybe-- it has a bit of value. On the retail market, I would value it between $7,000 and $9,000.
Yes. So it's quite a survivor.
Current Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000 (Decreased)
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