Fine Art/Walter Launt Palmer
Dear Mr. Hynes
My wife and I have an original walter launt palmer winter stream scene. We are interested in its value, and above a certain amount are interested in selling it. Some of the galleries we have contacted to find out about its value have offered to buy it from us. The painting is in its original frame and we believe it to be as valuable as some that have been auctioned at the large auction houses. Our question is what is the best way of selling a piece of art like this. Do you recommend Sotheby's or Christie's or where should we go with a piece like this? Thank you very much for your time. We have no idea what we are doing.
Dear Tony, You say you have no idea what you are doing, but at least you are being careful. The value of your painting depends upon various aspects: size; condition; media (gouache or oil painting); of course authenticity; quality (how it compares to other works by the artist); date (an early or late work by the artist), provenance (history of ownership); exhibitions; frame (is it original and what quality); etc.
How important is the time aspect to you ? The major auctions of American art are in the Spring and in the Fall. Usually the auctions are a good way to get a fair price, but there is cost and risk. In a way the auction is like the stock market, crisis in weather, politics, war, etc. can kill a sale. You have the cost of packing and shipping, seller's premium can be anywhere from 15% to 25%, catalogue fees, photography fee, insurance fee. If your sale is successful you are usually paid in 30 days, can be longer if buyers money is not received by auction house.
If you would want to sell it in a short time without the expenses, a dealer will pay a fair price. But you need to know the range of the value of your painting, and the reputation of the dealer.
If you think you would want to sell to a dealer you can send me images and info from my standard instructions below, and I can also tell you of dealers I have done business with for 25-30 years.
If you would like to send jpeg images to me please keep each image of a reasonable size (not too large), and send them as “attachments”, do not imbed them in your email. If you are looking for identification or opinion regarding your painting best would be an image of the front (just the painting, don’t include your lovely living room or pick-up truck), the back, and close-ups of the signature, details of the brush-work, and any inscriptions or labels (use the macro setting on your camera for these close-ups). You can send this information to my email at email@example.com and make your subject line “allexperts” so I do not bounce you as spam. It would be nice to receive feedback as I do this on my own time with no remuneration, free, no charge, nada. I do not research prints or artwork post-1940.