Western art may draw interest even without artist identity

Q I have been a loyal subscriber to Antique Trader for quite a long time, have submitted quite a few photos of items which I hoped would be picked for recognition, evaluation and a reply published in an upcoming issue.

This submission is an oil painting, which measures 17-½ by 13-½ inches, artist Emma Papineau, F.Waters3cwborigin unknown, signed right lower corner.

I researched “E. Papineau” via Internet to no avail. This item was obtained by my now deceased son many years ago, at yard sales or flea markets.

—F.W.
Chicago, Ill.

A Your photo of your oil painting submitted for appraisal of a cowboy on a horse with a lasso chasing a bull you mentioned is signed in the lower right by Emma Papineau.

Upon research with the help of WorthPoint, Art-cyclopedia and fine art research, the only Emma Papineau that surfaced was an Emma from the time period of 1877-1897, the Victorian time period which does not match the style of your picture at all.

Being Western in subject matter I feel your picture would appeal to many, even though the artist is unknown. I would assign it a value of $250-$350. If still in doubt, I would consider taking it to a fine art appraiser who would be able to examine it in person.

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Q This is a copy of a picture I found in the attic of our 1833 home, which has remained in the family to this day.

The original picture is quite dark and has some water stain. I think the faces and content are very intriguing. Do you believe it is worth having restored and framed? If so, should it be hung in a semi-dark location, as I know some old prints do?

It must have been hung by pins or tacks at some time. Thank you for any information you can give me.
Hoganweb— J.S.H.
Ocala, Fla.

A Your print is intriguing. Age-wise, it is very similar to the early age of your home, the early-to-mid 19th century. As seen in the photo, beyond water stains as you mentioned, your print also has damage from being hung by pins or tacks or possibly from having been part of an older book as an illustration entitled “Favorite Rabbits.”

Two different types of prints exist from the 19th century: those made from metal printing plates and those made from stones. From metal plates the various prints are referred to as engravings, etchings, aquatints and mezzotints. From stones, lithographs are produced, such as Audubon’s works, which after printing are all hand colored. I believe your print was produced from a metal printing plate and is referred to as an engraving. I would recommend having your print actually looked at by an art expert in your area, seeing a picture of a print and actually seeing the print are two different things, especially in regards to even the type of paper used at the time your print was produced.

The presence of tears, holes, water stains and foxing can affect the value of a print substantially, though all can be corrected. With restoration costs billed as per treatment hour, in the case of your print and the fact that you found it in the attic of your home I would have it restored to the point that it can be framed and enjoyed due to sentimental value, unless once examined in person by an art expert your print proves of much value. Once framed with acid free materials and non-glare glass, I would definitely hang it in an area where the sun does not shine on it and in a location not affected by moisture.

Susan Mullikin About our columnist:
Susan Mullikin, owner of Mother and Daughter Vintage Clothing and Antiques is an honors graduate of the Asheford Institute of Antiques. For the last 25 years she has specialized in assisting clients across the U.S. in regards to fine antique garments, textiles, and ladies accessories. She was published as part of a “Child in Fashion 1750-1920,” and her business was honored at George Washington’s birth night ball. She provides conservation, restoration and appraisal services.

Editor’s Recommendation: Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles 2016 Price Guide
If you enjoy various types of art and seek to learn more about the fine art, Asian art, and illustration art selling at auction, the Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles 2016 Price Guide is a great place to start. The multiple chapters of this top-selling price guide that are devoted to art offer a nice variety of pieces that crossed the auction block within the last year. For example the following examples sold at auction in 2015:Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles 2016 Price Guide

  • An oil painting on board, circa 1873, by Eastman Johnson, titled “The Pet Lamb” sold for $284,500.
  • A gouache on paper, titled “Loops Filled In”, by Alexander Calder realized $78,200.
  • Group of 11 hand-painted animation cels, from Walt Disney Studios’ “The Aristocats”, circa 1970, commanded $3,380.

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