Fine Art/old painting



painting back
painting back  
I own a very old unsigned painting that I would like help identifying. It is oil on canvas, 17.5" wide and 10" tall. Any help you can give will be appreciated.

Mary Ann:
Indeed, you have an old painting. It is pretty interesting, even if not a masterpiece. At first glance I'd say this is a European work, and this is possibly a French scene.  Looks like a classic Gothic Church out on a peninsula or island and harkens to Mont Saint Michel which is the the most popular tourist destination in France other than the Eiffel Tower.  It is not Mont Saint Michel, but certainly the dreamy moonlight mood might capture a tourist's romantic imagination. This ethereal, gauzy quality was a popular style among American artists in the 1880s called "tonalism".  Many tonalist artists like Dwight Tryon and John La Farge traveled to France to study painting, and became hooked on "Barbizon" French styles.  Look up those terms. Likely what you have is a painting purchased on a visit to France by an American possibly at the end of the nineteenth century. I'd say it's main worth is as an antique decorative piece.  It needs a good frame, then it might be worth a few hundred to a dealer.  Hard to say whether you should put any money into it, but at least you know two new art terms, right?  
Best of luck.

Fine Art

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

Important to know
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

©2017 All rights reserved.