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Fine Art/Identify early american Charcoal drawing


Early American Charcoal Drawing
Early American Charcoa  
QUESTION: I inherited a framed charcoal drawing from my Grandparents. It hung in their home most of their lives. If they were alive today they would be in their early 100's, so I don't know how old the drawing is.I do not know it's origin, and cannot find an artist signature though there may be one. It is roughly 18" x 22" and is still in the original frame. I am not comfortable taking it apart without damaging it. I have enclosed a jpeg of the piece. Anything you can do to help me identify it would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER: Laura,
I've been puzzling over this genre scene for a few days, so I apologize for a tardy reply to your question.  Many artists sketch out a scene in charcoal that they intend to do more formally in oil at a later time. That it is so large a drawing indicates it might well be such a preparatory sketch. This looks to be late nineteenth century.  It has elements of Winslow Homer...faces turned away, not visible...but this is a long shot.  It more closely resembles the work of famous Barbizon painter, Jean Francois Millet (1814 - 1875), whom you know for his famous picture "The Sower".  Notice the resemblance in the floppy peasant hat and strong farm hands?  Naturally, it would be quite a coup for you to have a work by such famous artists, more likely you have something done by a student or imitator.  But you never know....

I think you must simply be a bit more aggressive with it, or take it to a professional frame or art supply studio and have someone look it over for you.  Look for possible signatures on the backside, along the edges under the frame.  One benefit to having someone perform this task for you would be to update the glass to a U/V protective sheet.  It looks as if your paper is yellowing significantly.  Even if you are trying to keep the image away from a sunlit room, without U/V protective glass it will continue to yellow and darken over time.  

Best of luck,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. It is a helpful start for sure. I have absolutely NO knowledge about it. I would like to pursue more information. Is there anyone in the Sacramento, CA area you can recommend for this task?

300 20th Strreet
Sacramento, CA  95814
Phone: (916) 446-6490

I don't know them, but they are listed as antique painting dealers and could possibly help you with frame issues and signature spotting.  I know they specialize in American Western paintings, but should know their way around an old frame.  

Good luck,

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Stuart Cartwright


American Fine Art Paintings.
Oils, Watercolors, Sketches. Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. Hudson River School, Pennsylvania Academy, Cape Ann artists, Ash Can, Woodstock, Florida Indian River, American Impressionists, etc. I can provide some background about artists and perhaps a rough appraisal or guidance towards obtaining a value. I am acquainted with many of the best American art dealers and auction houses. Original works only, I do not follow the print market. I do NOT field questions about prints.

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I am not expert in European art. I encourage you to send questions on European artists to other experts on this service. NO PRINTS:I encourage you to seek help on prints elsewhere. Two sites come to mind: and


I have been collecting original American Fine Art for over 20 years. I have curated art shows, and I have served as a dealer, providing appraisals and guidance for the last 8 years.

Bachelor of Arts Master of Business Administration

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