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Saturday, July 21, 2007

How much is your painting worth?

A few years ago I received an email from Morris Robinson with an oft asked question:

Hello Jeanne:

I would like to have an idea of the value of a fall scene that I purchased from Firma in the summer of 1973. The oil painting is about 30 inches wide and 24 inches high. I don't intend to sell it. Rather, I intend to contribute it to my law firm.

Allow me to share an anecdote. When I purchased the painting, I gave Ms. Phillips a check drawn on a Boston bank. She accepted it. I couldn't help asking her, "How do you know that I am who I say I am and that my check is good?" I never forgot her response. "You didn't come all the way to Turkey Run, Indiana to pass off a bad check. Anyway, I can always paint another painting!" I have told the story many times. The check, incidentally, was good.

Best wishes.

Morris Robinson

I asked the family and got the following answer from cousin Dorinda that many might find helpful:

There are several questions that I need to ask ...

1. I would imagine that is in excellent condition, if not, then that would devalue the painting.
2. What type of frame is it in?? If the painting is in an ornate frame then the package is worth more than if it is in a plainer frame.
3. I have found that some subjects she painted are worth more than other subjects ( less known subjects i.e. a painting of Turkey Run Bridge is more memorable to collectors than an obscure barn).
4. Just going by size and subject matter, One sold last year on Ebay for $175.00 and another was over $200.00 approximately the same size.

Hopefully, this information helps you.


Also thanks to Dorinda for the following suggestion:

If you set up an automatic search on ebay for Indiana Artists, pay particular attention to paintings that may show up from Brown County artists from the 1940's, 50's, 60's, and 70's, to see what they look like and how they are priced. Aunt Firma used to go to Brown County to paint, and she may well have painted with, or at least met some of these people. The styles seem very similar.

Other relevant localities include Parke County and Fountain County - I believe Aunt Firma helped influence many of those artists. For instance the two Parke County artists listed below mention on the Parke County Covered Bridge Art Association web site that they studied under Aunt Firma - and I'm sure many others have also studied with her through the years.

Mary Harrison
Louise Michael

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