1905 Olaf Carl Seltzer Watercolor
I have a painting that's been in the family for many years, and I don't know anything about it.
Any idea where, how it came into your family, who collected it?
I think probably my great-grandmother. She traveled, and she, I know, made the trip out to the West. And this would have been in the probably the first quarter of the 20th century.
So this is a watercolor on paper by Olaf Carl Seltzer, and he was actually born in Denmark in 1877. When his father passed, he moved to the United States with his mother. That was about 1897. They settled in Montana. And he first decided he was going to be a cowboy, so he worked as a cowboy not too long, but a year or so, and then he ended up being a locomotive repairman. Sketched on the side because he liked to make art, but he was just doing it really as a hobby. Soon after he came to the United States, he met Charles Russell, who's one of the most important American Western artists of the 19th and 20th century. So he became very good friends with Russell, and Russell decided he was going to teach Olaf how to paint. By about 1901, so very soon after he met Russell, he was a pretty good and confident painter. Now, in the lower left of this painting, we have a signature, "O. Seltzer," and a date of 1905. He was rather young, about 28 probably, when he painted this picture. He did not become a full-time artist until he was about 44 years old, when he was laid off from the railroad. So this is very early, a very important time period, and really the part of his career that kind of sets the tone for what he would do the rest of his lifetime as an artist. An auction estimate today for this size work in watercolor by Seltzer would be $8,000 to $12,000.
Wow. Very impressive.
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