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Fine Art/Painting Identification


QUESTION: Hello - A family friend who owned an antique shop for many years recently passed away. This painting was given to me and I would like to find out who the artist is. It shows two horses in a barn with two chickens in the foreground. The frame fell apart and the painting is in rough shape but it was hung in a place of honor in this ladies' home.  I am just very curious about it.  Thank you for any information you can provide.  The signature looks like "J. Bernie" or "J. Bernis."  I can also send a close-up of the signature if needed.

ANSWER: Re; The painting.
Hello Brenda, and thank you for the question.
In order to help you any further, I will need the following;

1. A good clear image taken full frontal - also preferably with the frame, but without any slanting and also  taken without any "flash in order to avoid glare, and any negative reflections." A tripod, and 2 strong lights, one each side of the object, works  quite well.

2. The rear side view of the painting, likewise.

3. I also need you post a good clear and detailed image, of the whole available signature.

Once we have those loose ends in place, then I may perhaps be able to help you more adequately.
I very much look forward to receiving the new information, at you own convenience.

Take care.

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

QUESTION: Hi, David - sorry it has taken me so long to camera broke!  Anyways, I've taken more pictures - and apologize since I am NOT a very good photographer.  I see that I can only send one picture at a time but I will go ahead and try to send 5 or 6 photos.  Also, the picture is not in great shape and has a few chips & scratches.  I would love to have it restored.  I was told the frame fell apart after it was taken off the wall so I only have the picture...which saddens me as it was probably quite old.  I remember that it was very big and dark and not attractive.

Thank you so much - Brenda

Hello Brenda,

Thank you for posting all of the images, which do help me a great deal.

As to the all the things which can break down, well -  I suppose that is always the case, and also perhaps better known as Murphy’s Law.  Right when you need to have something  working properly, then  it usually breaks down!!!

So, speaking of the many things in life, there are also the “upsides” and also the “downsides.”

Let me begin with the downsides, before moving on to the more  sweeter aspects of life.

First of all, it is not painted  by any well know artist. In fact all “checks” on the  signature names which you supplied have all turned up negative.

This not at all unusual  as a great may paintings, are in fact executed by art students,or by  gifted amateurs.  

Having carefully examined the supplied images,a few important facts do spring out.

1. It is in need of a careful cleaning, by a qualified professional who also has a good “track record” in this sort of work.
2. It is by an unknown artist,  apparently on board , or a wood composite such as plywood.
3. It appears to be executed in oils, between say;  1910-1930.
4. Unfortunately, I must also  level my criticism against my other “bedfellows” in the art trade. It is pretty quite clear that it has been through an “art dealers” hands. Those hands in my opinion are highly suspect, as the back has been seriously tampered with.
5. My eye and my gut feelings on examination, they  all point to it as being more of a painting made in America, rather than in Europe.

As to the more, shall we say; the more positive aspects called the “upsides;”

It is a genre or type of image which is very popular, and also highly decorative.
The followers  and collectors of this sort of work, are to be found both  in the countryside and in urban areas.

It very much appeals to the rather large "equestrian"/ "horse riding" fraternity, and also the agricultural side of society; including any growing children with such interests.
Furthermore as a decorative item, it also has appeal in public places such as restaurants, country inns, B&B’s, hotels -  etc.

Therefore, it does have a monetary value.
However, that value is not in the many $ 1000’s area, even with a highly expensive - new frame attached.

As to getting it restored and cleaned.

I personally - would not  invest the time and money in getting it fixed, if I were interested in selling the painting.

In case it had a great deal of personal attachments,  from you and your family, well -  yes. of course it would be worth considering.

There are  a number of loose ends  however, which all need  a much closer examination.
Therefore, my advice would be for you to take it along to a good auction house near to where you live - and get a “hands on” examination of the work; and also in order to achieve an authentication. The back also needs to be checked, in order to see what is under all the horrid brown stain. Maybe, more information is hidden there???

However, if it is really a genuine original oil painting, rather than a colour print then the auction house can make a very good assessment; as to condition and value, etc.
The average prices for those works all depends on; size, artist, quality, provenance, subject matter and condition- which are all highly important and also do vary a great deal.

I myself am of the opinion that as an asset, and based on the supplied image and information, that it would need to be insured for about the 800-1.200 USD mark  - if it is an original, rather than a colour print.

The yellow pages, should point you in the direction of the auction houses in your location,
I would strongly advise, in taking it along to at least 2 different auction houses for a valuation. Second opinions, are always very beneficial indeed.

Furthermore; should you desire to take it to auction - then I would also advise on selling it with a fixed bottom end reserve - but perhaps with a 10% auctioneers discretion.

Selling without a fixed reserve, is definitely not to recommended.

Very good luck indeed at the auction house.  I quite am sure that they will be able to help you over the last hurdle, so to speak!

Take care.
Ps;  In case you should choose for the cleaning and restoration, I can provide you with a list of very good professionals. I will not however, not coerce you into using anyone in particular. To do so would be against the ethical codes of practice, for which I have signed up to.

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D. E. Lombardo


I am unable to answer enquiries concerning objects, which are NOT related to the areas of Fine Art and Antiques. Nor will I; on the sole basis of any photographic images be willing to give any definitive monetary valuations, or monetary opinions. In such cases I would always advise on getting “real time” valuations and opinions from reputable and qualified auction houses, or third parties. In some applicable cases, I may perhaps give general indications of value, based on the presented materials. True valuations always need a direct “hands on” approach, with perhaps also the necessary research and verifications. Broadly open to almost all questions, regarding the majority of both European, American quality objects, which are related to both Antiques and Fine Art. This also includes modern 20th century designer objects such as furniture etc. My own particular comfort zone areas would be; The decorative Arts, marble, stone, furniture, ivory, bone, amber, ceramics and porcelain, sculpture, glass, silver and metal objects etc. I will also answer inquiries, and give opinions concerning Dutch 17th, 18th and 19th century paintings. Please note that I do have limitations and cannot possibly answer all questions, as the field is very extensive. VERY IMPORTANT and PLEASE NOTE: Please note that; providing > GOOD CLEAR and Preferably High Resolution < photo's of the object(s)in question, is vital. Pics taken with a cell/mobile phone, are of a poor quality and best avoided. Posting signatures only, or just fragments of an artifact - will only provide me with insufficient information and it is often quite misleading. So please; Do post good clear overall images, with your question(s). Failing to do so, may cause rejection, which is also a great pity.


Since the early 90’s I lead a team of very enthusiastic staff at a business, where have the following disciplines; Restoration and refurbishment of historical buildings and gardens, including interior design. The restoration and care of Fine Art and Antiques at our restoration studio We are also Fine Art and Antique dealers, besides being collectors ourselves for a great number of years.

The main professional organization of which I am a member is the BNA, or Association of Dutch Architects, which is equivalent to the US; American Institute of Architects. Affiliated to the Art Loss Register in London and the International Cites Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Villa Rufolo; The forgotten paradise on earth. Published by the University of Aarhus, Denmark Book reviews and articles for International Archis Magazine, in the Netherlands.

Since I wished to become a Restoration Architect, firstly I took my BA degree in Art History. Then after graduation, I followed this immediately by studies to graduate and become a Restoration Architect. Ever since then, I have been an established Restoration Architect and Antiquarian. Since a great number of buildings are also inhabited by Fine Art fixtures and furnishings, I also became absorbed by all the artifacts, which go to fill them and not only the edifices themselves. This and much more, was the reason for gaining an advisory post on the City Commission; For The Protection and Care of Historic Monuments of Amsterdam - Amstelveen.

Awards and Honors
Citations and gratitude; “From the Town of Amalfi” for the groundwork achieved in order bring back the Historical past to the Medieval Villa Rufolo and its vital role in the region. BA in Art Hisory. Graduation Diploma as an Architect & Antiquarian; and also practicing as such. I have also completed a 3 year course in antiques, at the VHOK in Amsterdam VHOK is translated as; ( "The Association of Fine Art Dealers In The Netherlands.")

Past/Present Clients
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