Nicolai Fechin Portrait of a Young Boy, ca. 1936
Well, this portrait I inherited from my great-uncle, and as a young man, he moved from South Dakota to California, and became a restorative dentist in Beverly Hills. And he worked on a lot of movie stars and famous people. And Nicolai Fechin, the artist, happened to be not only one of his patients, but a friend of his. And he did this portrait of my uncle's son, and it was his only son. And when he was in college, this... his son got killed in a car accident. So this was also a gift of love, and very special to myself and our family.
Well, it's a spectacular portrait, as we would expect of Nicolai Fechin. It's charcoal on paper, as he did many of his portraits. It's initialed lower right, "N.F." He is an artist that led a really international life, and that's had a big impact on his value in the market today. He started his life in Russia. He ended up having to flee, due to the Bolshevik Revolution. Through the good graces of a few American collectors who knew his work, he came to New York. He was there for a few short years, and then tuberculosis drove him to New Mexico, as the climate was thought to be best for his health. Taos is where he really became quite famous in America. And the Taos works are, in many ways, his most well regarded. Then, unfortunately, through divorce, he ended up leaving Taos and moving to Santa Monica, and I'm sure during that time, around 1936, is probably when he met your great-uncle. I would place the value at auction at $15,000 to $25,000.
Thank you. I think my great-uncle would be very proud.
It's such a moving story. We were all trying not to cry when you told us. (chuckles)
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