Fine Art/Frederic remington
Twenty five years ago I purchased a pen and ink drawing from an elderly, he was about 80 at the time, antique dealer who had lived most of his life in New York state as a salesman selling art supplies and was now supplementing his retirement by selling off his life long collection of art works. I was in the process of purchasing an original cartoon cel from him that was used in a Betty Boop cartoon and was visiting his home shop (basement) where he was in the process of framing it when I noticed a small canvas ( roughly 12 by 18) of a mountain man sitting in a storage area. Remember, this is the basement of his home that almost never saw visitors. Since I liked it I went over and took a look and discovered that it was signed by Frederic Remington '90. When I asked him about it, he said he had received it around 40 years ago in partial payment for appraising art in an estate in upstate New York but it had been pretty dirty and heíd finally had it cleaned professionally and just received it back. He actually wasnít prepared to sell it since he hadnít sought a recent estimate of itís worth but if I were willing to purchase it without ďprovenanceĒ heíd sell it to me. So I bought it and have enjoyed it ever since. Iíve never had it authenticated but did enough investigation myself with a magnifying glass to determine that it is really ink on canvas (mostly black but some very small areas of details that have a dark copper ink used, enough to tell itís not all black. Also, while it appears to be on what may be a fine grained canvas or heavy paper, the material is stretched over a substrate that appears to be a honeycomb cellulose material that Iíve never seen before (sorry, itís been a long time since I had it archival matted, framed and covered with glass so Iím going from memory here.# At the time I spent quite a bit of time researching the characteristics of the original signature as well and, while Iím not an expert, it did seem to match all of Remingtonís signature characteristics in every regard.
However, in the process of my research, I did find the original woodcut performed for Century Magzaine and, through unpremeditated luck, found an original page of the magazine article containing the woodcut image itself, ĒFirst Emigrant Train to CaliforniaĒ published in Nov 1890, and purchased it for my collection. I would include it here as an attachment as well, and a link to the same page at the Cornell University Library but this site only allows one image upload.
I did start to have the pen and ink appraised a few years ago at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center #for a fee# but then Peter Hassrick and the center were having a contract delay and I didnít send it in. Just checked again and it appears they are delaying authentications for a period of months again. At the time I called the center and they said they would take a look at it but doubted if it were authentic #they hadnít seen it) since most of what they were sent wasnít original. I canít say that impressed me enough to send it to them if they had already made up their mind sight unseen.
Does this look/sound authentic enough to send in for a formal authentication and could you suggest an alternate resource other than the Buffalo Bill Historical Center? Iíve looked exhaustively for information on the actual steps that were taken by Century Magazine to convert a Remington pen and ink drawing into an image in the magazine during his commercial work with Century magazine and not found much background.
If you can make some suggestions I'd appreciate it.
As you know, Remington was originally from upstate NY, born in Canton and later lived in Ogdensburg. He is well known in the Adirondacks, and you might check with Carolyn Welsh at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake.
But when I think of Remington, two nationally known pros come first to mind:
(1) Thomas Nygard of Bozeman, Montana
(2) Tyler Mongerson of Mongerson Galleries in Chicago.
Quit goofing around with the Cody people. If you have the real thing, it will be worth north of $30K and perhaps double that. These two trusted dealers will have the financial motivation to help you achieve a high price, and both are extremely well acquainted with Remington.
I think I can attach a file, which I'll try. This picture went for auction at Ron Bourgeault's Northeast Auctions in NH back in Oct of 2006. $66,000 including buyers premium. 18"x8.7" Mixed media on paper.
Hope this helps. Heck, it was free, right?
Best of luck,