Case of the Canvas Transfer

blog-image_2014-12-10How Diligent Research Saved $15,750

Enservio Select was recently asked to appraise an original oil painting by Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia (American, 1909-1982). Born in the mining town of Morenci, Arizona, Ted DeGrazia became one of Arizona’s most prominent painters, illustrators, and graphic artists, resulting in his studio gallery being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  He lived most of his life near Tucson, and worked in his studio, open to the public, that he called “The Gallery of the Sun.” His signature work is paintings and illustrations of ‘angel-like’ Southwestern children, many of them of Indian and Hispanic descent. His original paintings are iconic and sought after worldwide and range from $10,000-$20,000 depending on the size.

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Valuing Artwork without Signatures: The Case of Maxfield Parrish

In determining the value of a painting, a number of factors must be considered, including the artist, provenance, the quality of work, period (date), and condition. In many instances we value paintings whose style and date of creation match those of well known artists though they lack signatures. School or Genre paintings are high quality works created in the same style of an artist but aren’t directly connected to them by signature or provenance. For example, many drawings in the market which cannot be attributed to Rembrandt yet have all the physical attributes of a Rembrandt are sold as “school of Rembrandt”. While an unsigned painting by a particular artist would have less value than a signed example by that very same artist, unsigned genre paintings do not command the highest prices in the marketplace.

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Misleading Bronze Sculptures

Original Francisco ZunigaEnservio was recently asked to appraise three bronze sculptures which were stolen from an insured’s residence.  At claim intake, they were described as original Francisco Zúñiga sculptures which were purchased from an unnamed Los Angeles art dealer approximately 15 years ago.  Each sculpture had claimed values ranging between $10,000 and $14,000 for a total claimed value of $34,500.

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Identifying Picasso Prints and the Caution of Accepting Previous Appraisals

Enservio Select recently took on the task of appraising a Picasso print, which valued at $12,000.00 at claim intake. Measuring 11 ½” x 8 ½” from the Vollard Suite, the appraisal described the piece as an etching on paper titled Jeune Sculpteur Finissant un Platre by Pablo Picasso dated March 25, 1933, edition 186/340.

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19th Century French Paintings and the Principle of Identification

As appraisers, we cannot be authenticators; our role is to witness, identify, and value.   At times, to value a property we rely on the “Principle of Identification” if not enough information is readily available.   The Principle of Identification, defined by the American Society of Appraisers, states that “a genuine article has certain identifying characteristics, traits or marks.  If the identifying characteristics of a genuine article match the same characteristics as the subject property, the subject property is assumed to be genuine (The Appraisal of Personal Property, 1994, pg 14).”

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The Value of Historical Significance

Only on rare occasions does the historical significance of an item outweigh the value of the item itself.  Recently Enservio Select received a request to appraise a glass panel from the infamous S.S. Normandie, a French luxury liner ship which capsized during WWII.  The piece was an Art Deco verre églomisé (glass gilded) reverse painted panel from the 1930s, painted by Jean Dupas (French, 1882-1964), and was created as part of a larger glass mural for the SS Normandie’s Grand Salon.  The panel was unfortunately broken during transport and we, not only, had the task of putting a monetary value to the piece, but a salvage value as well.

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