Robert Cumpston Sculpture, ca. 1985
She came from a friend of mine, and she passed away in the early '90s. And her son came from Utah to take her stuff. This one and the male counterpart were standing on her patio, and her son didn't want them, and he said I could have them. So they've been in my living room since. They're signed "Cumpston" on the base. He did mostly, like, animals. She bought them at the first Pink Palace Arts Festival in Memphis, Tennessee, back in the late '70s, I guess.
Wow. Well, they are indeed Robert Cumpston, a Midwestern farmer in Illinois who basically became a sculptor in later life. And there's been an American tradition of farmers taking scrap metal basically, bits of old farm implements, and making some kind of folk art sculpture out of them for a long time. But I believe that Mr. Cumpston gets it right. There are very few examples of this kind of thing that outdo this from any period in American history. Her head, which revolves slightly, by the way, which is great, that's a Picasso head.
The sculptor clearly understood his modern art movement, was influenced by it, and got it just right, really captured it.
She's not just a two-dimensional object. She's completely three-dimensional. She has animation throughout, right down to the fact that she's wearing high heels. She's articulated in places. All of this gives her a feeling of a machine. She's mechanical, almost. It gives you the feeling that she's about to walk away. She's just captivating, and really, really strong. So from an artistic and from a technical point of view, we all agree she's superbly made and superbly conceived. One of the great things about it, too, is that, of course, it's unique. Have you ever had this valued? You say you-
Not at all, but everyone that comes in my house loves them, and I hang my coats on her during the winter. (laughs)
Well, some people consider that age gives something value. She's not that old. She's probably no more than about 25 or 30 years old. Having said that, the quality of the work is so good that age in this case is not a factor. The artist's work has not really appeared at a major auction or a major show with a price tag or a price result associated with him. Therefore, it's kind of up to us. We're using the force, if you like. My initial feeling was at least $2,000 or $3,000 for the single sculpture. I have to tell you, I've had people here, very respected colleagues as appraisers, say, in a good show, this could be over $20,000.
Now, that is a very wide range of values. But I'm going to suggest this. I'm going to give you a retail price that I think would be fair at a good show, a good quality show, where this kind of thing could present. I see it at least $5,000 and perhaps as much as $7,000. I'm talking about her. The pair of them together, you'd have to double that.
Well, that's pretty exciting. Thank you, I think she's great. She's going to keep holding my coats. She's not going anywhere. She's part of the family now, you know?
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