Le Corbusier Abstract Watercolor, ca. 1940
My dad served in the Army mapmaking division during World War II. He was stationed in Paris, and he and another group of American soldiers got to visit various artists' studios. Le Corbusier was one, and at the end of the session that they had, the artist said, "Please, help yourself to my drawings and watercolors." So my dad took this piece and another sgraffito card and gifted them to me about ten years ago.
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier, was born in Switzerland in 1887 and was a true renaissance character. He was an architect, an urban planner, an artist, and wrote many, many theories about architecture and how people should live.
And how people should live well. In his artwork, what he strived to do is see the figure as structure, as almost architectural structure. It's a terrific watercolor. And based on the style and your provenance with the piece, I would date it to circa 1940, 1945. At auction, I would value it between $15,000 and $25,000.
Wow, that's great.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
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