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Question DetailsAsked on 10/20/2013

I am looking for someone to Apraise and old Large Oil Painting Its about 4 x 8 in size. Author Unkwon at this time.

The painting was Hanging in my Brothers Bar when he took it over. He has since Passed away.
He however was told it could be worth a great deal of money.. I can't find an artist signiture on it
but believe it is under part of the frame. It needs cleaning because of the Cigerette smoke.
Any idea for me in or around the Green Bay area would be greatly apprecieated..
Thank you
Jeffrey Massey

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2 Answers


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Thanks so much!

Answered 6 years ago by KielH


Auction Services can give you valuations on general items, but for artwork I think you should go to a specialty art appraiser. You will probably have to google or yellow pages for candidates (looks like Google shows about 73 possibles), then check Angie's List to see if the short list has ratings and reviews.

Recommendations for appraisers can come from the local art museum painting restoration curator (who could probably also recommend a good person to clean it, and might help for free in identifying the painter), local art galleries (who might also give you an idea of the painter from a photo), your insurance carrier, etc.

BTW - you said large painting, but 4x8 inches size - or did you mean 4x8 feet in size ? If 4x8 feet, then you might take a good digital photo you can send to possible appraisers so they get an idea what you are talking about, and to know they will probably have to come to you to appraise rather than take to them.

Bear in mind a true appraisal, for insurance and sale value purposes, will likely run $300-600 or more, depending on how valuable it is, and how hard to figure out who painted it. And of course, if truly valuable, then possibly hundreds to a couple thousand more to establish provenance - basically, to validate and certify to its authenticity for use in sale.

If I were you, I would get someone to help me, pull retaining tabs or nails on the back if not unduly hard and if not through the face of the picture itself, get hanger wire out of the way, lay back side down on the floor and see if it will slip out of the frame - both to be able to photograph the entire thing, and to see if there is a name in the margin. When done, slip back into frame with fingers reaching under the back to lift it off the floor back into the frame recess, or hold onto frame and picture from back and flip over with frame and painting to get it back in - I would not try standing that big a painting up by itself to get it into the frame for fear of crinkling or breaking it and damaging the painting. Obviously, if it seems fragile, then do not do this removal - leave it to the restorer if you are going to have it cleaned anyway.

Personally, I would do nothing about cleaning until you find out what it is worth - if a few hundred $ value then cleaning is not worth it unless you intend to keep it, likewise if worth tens or hundreds of thousands you want a top-notch professional cleaner and restorer, not some iffy local art studio or starving artist, as cleaning improperly can destroy the value of a painting. I read an article a few months ago about a big-name painting that was going to be sold at Sothebys or Christies or one of them - the owner had it cleaned by the local art studio after the painting showed up in an Estate - value dropped from around $400,000 to $30,000 because of the improper cleaning method.

Also - do not forget to have the frame appraised too - in a relative's Estate there was a large painting from Europe that was worth maybe $500 but when the estate was appraised it turned out the frame was worth over $30,000 - came from a famous framer in England, and was finished in gold and platinum leaf rather than the gilt paint everyone thought it was. I would guess a frame that size (4x8 feet), unless just recent knock-together lumber, is probably worth quite a few hundred $ even if fairly modern.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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