Great Works of Art or Great Forgery?

The highest price paid for a work of art was $250 million in 2011. Obviously, there’s a lot of money in selling art. Unfortunately this also means there is a lot of money in producing forgeries.

TheProcuress_1490391cOne notable forger sold $60 million worth of phony Vermeers to a slew of people throughout Europe before being caught. When it comes to appraising fine art even the experts can get duped and when they do, buyers pay too high a price.  Continue reading

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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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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