Treasure: British artist’s paintings well-received
Anne Hartland had a few clues about the background of the painting she inherited that turned out to be useful to appraiser Bob DuMouchelle.
“My husband’s family had a neighbor from England who was the head buyer at Gimbels department store in Pittsburgh,” she told the appraiser at a recent Trash or Treasure session held at the downtown gallery and auction house. “My father-in-law gave it to my husband about 20 years ago, and we’ve had it ever since. Before that, my in-laws received it in the late 1970s from the estate of their neighbor who was from the U.K.”
That information, and additional notations on the back, helped DuMouchelle trace the work and confirm that it was indeed the product of British artist Arthur Hickman. The work in question is an oil on canvas called “Morning Training,” by Hickman who, according to a description on the back, the artist lived from 1902 to 1987. The subject is a landscape with runners in the distance.
DuMouchelle found confirmation of those dates and a few records of sales at auctions, mostly in the United Kingdom, but little biographical information otherwise. The website artuk.org had a little more information, including a “Self Portrait As A Young Man” that dated to 1930. Hartland’s piece, according to information she gave the appraiser, dates to 1938, a few years later.
DuMouchelle said that the artist is clearly talented, but told Hartland that “information seems to be tricky to find, even on the U.K. sites.”
Hartland said she had had the same experience when she went digging before bringing the piece in for appraisal. “All I could find is that the artist liked to ride his bike and paint,” she told DuMouchelle. The appraiser said he was able to find similar information, including notes that he was a local favorite around Rotherham, which is in South Yorkshire. “His works seem to surface around that area but not much of anywhere else,” he told her. “He’s clearly an English artist and a local favorite.”
Despite the fact that he’s relatively obscure, DuMouchelle said that Hickman’s work was very well done and well- received among art fans and critics. He also thinks it would sell well at auction should she decide to part with it. “This era is very popular with buyers and it’s an appealing subject,” he told Hartland. “At first I thought this might be a WPA (Works Progress Administration) piece but it is British, so that was ruled out.”
“Despite the fact that it’s hard to get much information, I think we’d get $600-$800 at auction if you decided to sell it,” the appraiser told her.
Ultimately, they decided to keep it in the family after hearing the appraisal. “I have four children so they can decide someday,” she said.“Personally, I really like it,” he told her. “It reminds me of that great movie, ‘Chariots of Fire.’”
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About this item
Item: Oil on canvas
Owned by: Anne Hartland
Appraised by: Bob DuMouchelle
Estimated value: $600-$800 at auction