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Fine Art/Oil Painting of Mother and Children

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Mother and Children
Mother and Children  
Hi,

I bought this painting from a friend who collects everything.  He wasn't sure of its origin.  He thinks it was painted in the nineteenth century or earlier. The dimensions are 14x21.  The painting isn't signed. It looks like it was given to a couple named Helen and George from Frances (best I could make out) on 9/16/1916 by the print on the back.  My husband thinks I overpaid for the painting but I just love it for the way it makes me feel.  I would love to know the artist's name, although, I'm sure its impossible to know for sure.  Can you tell me what period and country where it was likely painted so that I know where to focus my research? i'm not looking to sell the painting.  I'm happy with anything you can tell me about this painting. Thank you so much for your time.

Answer
Hello Stacie!

Thank you, for both the image and your question.

Background, origin and artist.
This oil painting is most likely to be either French, or Flemish in origin.
It most definitely has roots and methods  execution, all of which origins go straight back to the Northern European,  Cubistic Schools of painting.
The  artist is unknown, and would need much more research.

The methods of painting may possible be new, but the subject matter is most certainly a Victorian “ family and home” scene.
This type of image, has been used since time began -  thousands of years ago.
Perhaps  because of the background-  and  given the period of history from which it stems, and the subject matter -  but even far more poignantly  - the message – that even reaches into the lives of many people today.

My own personal opinion is, that it represents one of the great  factors in all human lives, namely the role of fate.
It represents the role of the woman, who is waiting at home, while the men have all gone off to war.

It is also expressing how  a roll of the dice, can affect many generations all at once.
It begs the question of how  a “roll of the dice” will affect  the future of - both the mature woman, the eldest child and the new born baby?

This the stark reality even today, when the  “chance” of a dreaded knock at the door -  can send a military persons families hopes for the future;  crashing into oblivion.

Such was the case,in the First World War from 1914-1918 - as in all other armed conflicts.
So, even though it was painted almost 100 years ago - in a far away country, the message of the table scene inside the  home; all of that - has not changed.

The shiny  object in the background, be it a very large glass vase for keeping spare change in, or perhaps a mirror? Either way the hidden message is one of self reflection,

The small boy, drinking from an enamelled mug. Will he end up in an orphanage, or the misery of a workhouse?
The feeding baby, what is that child’s fate?
The mother, how will she cope in the future if that dread knock -  announcing the arrival of a telegram, comes to the door.

All of this is not a simpering, sentimental depiction of a family scene.
This is the reality for some people,  just as “9/11” also was for others.

Inside the room, there is warmth, comfort, food and love.

Outside, in the squelching  quagmire of the endless rows of stinking trenches’, a man’s fate awaited for the blowing of a whistle at dawn; for him to face going “over the top” and to endure the  horrors of a possible crucifixion on the barbed wire - in a  distant countries “ no man’s land” .

Perhaps because of mans folly, and also the passage of time - these images are  very important and silent witnesses, to the  turning pages of history.
Each new  generation, stands on the shoulder of others.

So yes, it is an important painting - when seen in the light of being a war record, or document of that time.

Look kindly on the painting next time you pass by,for perhaps with a bit of luck, the man would return again - and also all in one piece?

But also remember, even  Julius Caesar is reported once to have said, just before crossing into his own “no mans land” ……… Alea iacta est……or……the dice are cast!

Condition
The condition is not good, but as yet appears not to be critical.
I will need cleaning by a professional restorer, and also - attaching to a new stretcher, as damage is slowly occurring.
A real  period picture frame needs to be acquired,  as this will only add to the value and the appreciation of the painting.

The next steps
Furthermore, if it is really a genuine original then an auction house can make a very good assessment; as to the  real total 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 also vary a great deal.  This type of memorabilia and wartime documentation, is slowly gaining in value.
Maybe as with many other “real” things in life, the true value really  an’t be expressed in money.

However, the local 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 am quite sure that they will be able to help you over the last hurdle, so to speak!

Very good luck with the painting, and I wish you all success with it
Take care.
David.  

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D. E. Lombardo

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
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.

Publications
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.

Education/Credentials
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
With a view to the present lawmaking on privacy and reasons of confidentiality, this topic will remain private.

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