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Chillon Castle
Chillon Castle  
M.Lombardo,Expert

I need your expertise in identifying this piece.
I came upon this painting, while searching for used canvas I could paint over,about 35 years ago,in a Thrift store in Montreal, Canada.
Dimensions: 56cm x 77cm. Appears to be very old.
Cannot see any signature.
It is handwritten on the back frame "Chillon Castle in Switzerland"

Thank you very much for your time.

Answer
Hello Norman.
Thank you for the question, and providing a good clear image of the painting.

Like many things in life there are the upside, and also the downsides.
Firstly, this is not another ”Lost Leonardo.”

However, and looking on the bright side - it is a painting of a very much loved Castle scene in Switzerland.  

In fact, one might even go as far to say that it is a sort of Canadian Banff
It ticks all the boxes, and put Disneyland quite to shame.

Having driven quite often past the delightful Castle, and also having seen it from the water on the lake;  called “Lac Leman,”  it is located quite near to the city of Montreux.

As to the history - the Castle, or Chateaux, has its roots in the early middle ages.
It was being built roughly around 1150 - and continuously improved and altered by people, until the present day.

Many people, have visited the castle during the course of history.
Some famous celebrities with rather eccentrics tastes like the Englishman, “Lord Byron,” have even found inspiration, to write stories about the place. Byron indeed, wrote his famous poem called; “The Prisoner of Chillon,” about the struggle for freedom of Francoise Bonivard, way back in around the 1530’s.

Much like present day “Hollywood”  in America, the castle, has also inspired a great many artists and writers, throughout the ages.
It has been used much like a Hollywood movie set, as a backdrop for contemplating wars, struggles for freedom, romantic ideas, marriage proposals and also great notions of nation building and of peace.

I suspect that your painting, probably dates to around the 1920’s, and is a souvenir taken back home, by a visitor to Europe.

It is most likely painted by a local artist, rather like a very expensive picture post card.
At least for me, it definitely ticks all the boxes.

But there again,I know the place and can see how very well,it has been painted.

The whole layout speaks of colours, daylight, mountains, water and castle, they all match one of those carefree,halcyon days of peace and quiet.
The idyllic intermezzo, before the world yet again, went to war in 1939 - 1945

The artist may perhaps never be found and in many respects, it is also quite unimportant.
I can in truth say - that the artist has here, capture a very special moment in time.

The importance is - that it shows a world at peace with itself, and that two elegant ladies and a gentleman are out in a rowing boat - on the lake, just enjoying a day out.
A quite normal innocent, but remarkable sight before the later arrival of the sounds like gunfire, humming barbed wire, or the noise of hissing cattle trains - all rushing off to places like Auschwitz.

It is an important  painting - in that it is looking through a keyhole, just before the fate of so many young hopeful Canadians and many others, were called upon, to yet again make the supreme sacrifice for our ideas, about freedom.  

Furthermore it is also of great interest to the French Canadian community, over there in Canada.

Valuations.


The average prices for those works all depends on; size, quality, subject matter and condition-which are all highly important and also vary a great deal. I can clearly see however, some damage to the painting has taken place.
But generally speaking, such works average around the $300 – 400 mark.

Unfortunately, the quality of the provided image gives me no absolute indication, as to if it is indeed a genuine original oil, or reproduction.

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; in order to achieve an authentication.

If it is a reproduction, then the value is less than an original oil painting. However, if it is really a genuine original oil painting, then the auction house can make a very good assessment; as to condition and value, etc.

The yellow pages, should point you in the direction of the auction houses in your location in Canada.
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 at the auction house. I am sure they will be able to help you over the last hurdle.
Take care, and have a good week ahead.
David.  

Fine Art

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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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