Monday, June 30, 2008


Sometimes you come across an art website and you fall in love. Poppytalk is one of those websites. Poppytalk touts itself as an online "streetmarket showcase, to buy and sell handmade goods of emerging design talent from around the world."

If you are just starting an art collection Poppytalk might be a good place to start collecting. Like many "handmade" art sites, Poppytalk shows a variety of different types of items. For future value, etchings, woodblocks, lithographs, or other handworked print media is usually the best bet. Because giclees are machine produced reproductions, many appraisers believe that the future value will not increase (same goes for home computer printing). If you can, stick to originals or processes that computers were not involved in.

Photography is the exception to the rule. Because of the nature of photography handmade prints are ok.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


On June 29 Dan Ripley's Antique Helper in Indianapolis will be auctioning these three drawings by Hoosier School artist, William Forsyth (1854-1935). The estimate for these three pieces (sold together) is $200-$400. The largest of the three measures 7" X 5 1/2".

WILLIAM FORSYTH was born in the river town of California, Ohio near Cincinnati. At the age of ten, Forsyth moved with his family to Versailles, Indiana and a few years later moved again to Indianapolis. As a young man Forsyth was always interested in art and he convinced his father to let him study with Barton S. Hays. Hays was one of the city's leading artists of the time as well as being one of William Merritt Chase's teachers. A little while after he began, Forsyth had to terminate his lessons for financial reasons. However, when his close friend Theodore Clements Steele began to study in Munich, another close friend, Thomas Hibben offered to finance Forsyth's study abroad in exchange for one half of the paintings he created while he was gone. Forsyth quickly left for Munich and studied there for several years. In 1888 the artist returned to Indiana and assisted Ottis Adams at an art school in Ft. Wayne. By 1891 he was again living in Indianapolis. Soon, Forsyth was one of the five artists associated with the Hoosier School.
THE HOOSIER SCHOOL of artists are credited with helping develop art of Indiana and the midwest. They were particularly important to American art because they intentionally tried to create a style of Impressionism that was unique to America. The recognition of the Hoosier School is also closely tied to the Chicago Exposition. Although they were based in Indianapolis, the artists particularly liked to paint rural areas. Forsyth loved southern Indiana, especially the country in and around Corydon.

Dan Ripley's Antique Helper Auctions
2764 E 55th Place
Indianapolis, IN 46220
(located 2 blocks east of Keystone)
(317) 251-5635
For further directions, click here.
To bid online click here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


When should you hire an appraiser? It seems like a question with an obvious answer but in my experience it is not. Recently, I was contacted by someone who wanted me to look at his piece to "see if it was real" but didn't want to pay for an appraisal until he knew for sure. This wasn't the first time I received this type of phone call. People call me all of the time and say things like, "can you just look at it...I don't want to pay if it is nothing" I want to be helpful so I usually say, "sure." If it is an obvious fake then I will tell you but most of the time it would take quite a bit of research and the truth is, you would be better off hiring an authenticator. I was honest with that client.... so he called another appraiser. Authenticating and appraising are different professions. As an appraiser, I gather information. Some of the information is provided by the client and some is recovered through research. I do my best to make sure that the piece is what it is purported to be. There are instances when this isn't possible for me. I don't provide scientific testing or infrared photos. That is the job of an authenticators. They are part scientist and part researcher.

The most common reasons for an appraisal include divorce (for equitable distribution), insurance, estate (either estate planning or when someone dies), and donation. Sometimes someone "just wants to know what it is worth" and that is fine too. In every state there are qualified appraisers who understand how to craft an appraisal so it meets legal guidelines. They understand the different types of appraisals and they keep up to date on the laws, the tests, and different art scholarship. The two questions you should ask an appraiser are "Have you taken and passed USPAP?" and "Do you belong to an appraisal society?" Recently, the Appraisal Foundation determined there are 1 million persons performing appraisals. However, there are only 2000 members in the three appraisal societies. All three appraisal organizations require members to understand, remain certified in, and write reports according to USPAP. If your appraiser has does not belong to one of these societies and has not taken USPAP there is very little chance that they will be performing their job accurately.

I belong to the Appraisers Association of America, one of the three major appraisers associations for personal property appraisers. I do complete appraisals outside of Kentucky. Recently, a client with a second home in Florida sent me to that state because he trusted me to do a good job based on the appraisal I performed for him in Kentucky. I have also been hired as an appraiser in Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee. In many states appraisers charge $100-$200 per hour. I charge much less than this so if there is a lot of work it may be more economical to pay the plane fare and hotel bill for me than for someone else. Then again, if you only have five pieces it would benefit you to use someone locally.

Before you hire an appraiser do your research and understand the appraisers qualifications! In the long run it will benefit you and help you get the best apprasial possible.

Friday, June 20, 2008



Born in Iowa in 1871, Orson Byron Lowell was the son of well known landscapist Milton H. Lowell. As an adult, Lowell developed his own reputation which was entirely different from his father's. The artist worked primarily as an illustrator and was known for his pen and ink drawings. By 1907 he was working for Life (a humor magazine at that time) and he gained a reputation as a cartoonist with a social message. For the rest of his career Lowell illustrated for magazines includeing Life, Judge and Punch, and The American Girl. He also created many drawings for illustrated novels.

On June 23, Winter Associates of Plainville, Conneticut will be auctioning a gouache on paper by Orson Byron Lowell(above). This piece, which depicts a bearded man sitting by a fireplace and resting his arm on a table is a good representation of grisaille (monchromatic painting, especially in shades gray which is a 2-dimensional technique used to depict relief sculpture) The estimate for this auction is $300-$500. You can bid online here. Comparables of past sales are below.

From Left to Right (All by Orson Byron Lowell)
12" x 13"
Watercolor/BoardSigned Lower LeftLot: 66217
Auction House: Heritage Auction Galleries
Sales Price: $299

8" x 20"
Ink/BoardSigned Lower RightLot: 66218
Auction House: Heritage Auction Galleries
Estimate: $500-$600
Sales Price: $538
17" x 12"
Ink/PaperSignedLot: 66220
Auction House: Heritage Auction Galleries
Estimate: $300-$500
Sales Price: $418

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Ellsworth Kelly
Blue/Yellow/Red (untitled)
USA 1970-1973
Screenprint on paper
17" X 18"
35/100 published by Harry N. Abrams Inc. & printed at Maurel Studios, New York
Signed and numbered
Estimate $2000-$2500

This weekend is the annual Wright Auction affectionately called "Mass Modern". The prices are a bit better than most Wright auctions but the design is still very good. Most of the items being offered are furntiture, lamps and the like but there is some artwork. You can view the entire auction here. You can order a catalog here.
Achille and Pier Giacomo CastiglioniGatto table lamps, pairFlosItaly, 1960spun fiberglass, steel13 dia x 23 h inchesSigned with decal manufacturer's label to interior of each example: $500-$700
Here is the contact information for the show:
312.563.0020 telephone
312.563.0040 fax
1440 West Hubbard Street
Chicago, IL 60622

Friday, June 13, 2008


Beginning at 1:00 p.m. today Alderer Auction Company in Hatfield, PA will begin a fine and decorative arts auction. You can bid online here.

There are many wonderful paintings and decorative items to choose from. Above is a painting by the artist William F. Taylor (American, 1883-1970). It is entitled "The Great Sequoia", oil on board, 16" X 20" and is estimated to sell in the range of $2000-$3000. Click here to bid. Below is a comparable example and the price it achieved at auction.
William F. Taylor was born in Ontario, Canada in 1883 but his work is primarily associated with the New Hope School of Pennsylvania Impressionists. From 1905-1907, Taylor studied at the Art Students League in New York and later worked as an advertising editor for the New York Journal. In the 1920s he moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania and in 1925 he moved to Lamberville. It was at this time that he became associated with the Pennsylvania Impressionists.

William F. Taylor, Oil on Canvas, 30" X 25", Estimate: $6000-$8000, Sold For: $2588, Alderfer Auction Company, 12-6-2006

Also up for auction is this Arts and crafts carved, gilt frame. It measures 22 1/2" X 20 1/2" and is estimated to sell between $600-$800. Click here to bid.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Everyone knows that the big auction houses list their items online. In many cases you can even bid online at the big auction houses. But if you live in Kentucky or Southern Indiana you may wonder where to find the best auctions for art and antiques. Wonder no more. Auction Zip takes the guess work out of finding local auctions. It may be frustrating at first to find out that the auction houses in our area rarely offer items online. After all, we are used to being able to place a bid at will. For convenience sake it is true that local auctions are not as convenient. It is also true that you can get a better deal because of it. Less competition means that you will probably spend less money. And most of the auctions list pictures so you can be sure that it is not a waste of your time.

One upcoming auction that looks promising is the Harritt Group Inc.'s Antiques and Collectibles Auction, Sunday June 29, at 12 Noon located at 119 East Chestnut Street in Corydon, Indiana. Below are a few pictures of items on offer. For more images click here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


If you don't know about Etsy you should. This website bills itself as "Your place to buy and sell all things handmade".
Over the years I have known many artists. Many times, young artists don't understand the market and, as a result, their work is overpriced. This is rarely the case with Etsy because artists can compare and contrast their work and their prices with other pieces of similar style, quality, etc.
One artist that has recently captured my attention on Etsy is Rania Hassan. The piece located in this post is entitled ktog 11, ktog meaning "knit together" and it is intended to be arranged anyway that is pleasing to the buyer. The price of this piece (or pieces) is $380.
The first paragraph of Hassan's artists' bio reads, "I am fascinated by the connections we find in our everyday experiences: from the isolation of communities on the subway, to the solitary experience of introspection, to the feelings of deep communion. How do we think of our place in this world? How do we fit in it?" If you would like to learn more about Rania Hassan you can visit her blog here.