Treasure: Colorful Dufy art a serigraph, not original

Khristi Zimmeth

‘The only thing I know is that my dad got it from his uncle in Connecticut,” Kelli Kakish told Bob DuMouchelle at an appraisal session held downtown at the gallery and auction house.

Kakish brought an interesting print in that belongs to her father, Ron McComas, who was unable to attend.

DuMouchelle recognized the colorful style right away. “Raoul Dufy was a tremendous mid-century artist,” DuMouchelle explained to her.

“A lot of the work we see of his dates from the 1920s to the 1950s and much of that has racing and circus themes.” provided additional background. “Raoul Dufy was a French artist and designer whose prints portrayed leisure pursuits of the upper classes through colorful book illustrations, fabrics, and ceramics. His delicate, script-like brushstrokes and muted palettes display the influence of Impressionist artists such as Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro.”

The website also says that Dufy was born on June 3, 1877, in Le Havre, France. He attended the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris on a scholarship, where Cubist Georges Braque was also a student. He was associated with Fauvism and Henri Matisse for his works that embraced bold color, but Dufy’s singular style followed several currents of Modernism. Dufy died in 1953.

McComas’ piece shows a Royal Ascot scene, something DuMouchelle described as “the English Kentucky Derby.” It has long been one of her father’s favorites, she said.

“He has it hanging in his living room,” she told the appraiser. “I think he was under the impression that it was original.”

“I’d really like to be able to tell you that it is,” DuMouchelle answered as he took a closer look at the piece with the help of a jeweler’s loup.

“Ideally, we’d like this to be a watercolor with gouache,” DuMouchelle. Despite his desire to give her good news, the appraiser ultimately delivered a disappointing verdict. “Unfortunately, I believe this is a serigraph, which is a form of screen printing,” he told her.

“It has layers of color, and the signature is on one of the layers. It’s a form of print, and is printed in colors and layers, but is ultimately still a print.”

The printed signature also confirms his suspicion. “It’s nice but we prefer pencil signatures,” he continued. “What we want is a piece that had the artist’s hand on it at some point. “

Just because it’s a print doesn’t mean it’s not old, he said.

“It could be a period print, dating as early as the 1950s, but it’s still not as desirable as an original,” he continued. As a print, the piece would bring $75-$125 at auction. If it had been pencil signed, it would command $1,000-$3,000, “and probably closer to $3,000,” DuMouchelle said.

Kakish said she’d tell her dad, but that he hangs it in his living room and he enjoys it either way. “He loves it,” she told the appraiser.” I think it reminds him of his uncle.”

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About this item

Item : Raoul Dufy print

Owner : Kelli Kakish for Ron McComas

Appraised by : Bob DuMouchelle, DuMouchelles

Estimated value : $75-$125 at auction