Trash or Treasure: Lithograph Modern take on classical subject
“I couldn’t have paid much for it because I didn’t have any money at the time,” Ed McHale told appraiser Brian Thomczek about the intriguing lithographic print he purchased in the 1980s and brought to the Michigan Design Center for appraisal not long ago. “I bought the print in Southfield when I worked in the Honeywell Building.”
Thomczek said that the title, “The Judgement of Paris,” has roots in Greek Mythology. “Rubens also did a famous one, but I guess this the artist’s modern take on the subject.”
Need a brush up on the classics? According to the website theoi.com, the Judgement of Paris has ties to the Trojan War. It “began with the wedding of Peleus and Thetis which all the gods had been invited to attend except for Eris, goddess of discord. When Eris appeared at the festivities she was turned away and in her anger cast the golden apple amongst the assembled goddesses addressed "To the Fairest." Three goddesses laid claim to the apple--Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. Zeus was asked to mediate and he commanded Hermes to lead the three goddesses to Paris of Troy to decide the issue. The three goddesses appearing before the shepherd prince, each offering him gifts for favour. He chose Aphrodite, swayed by her promise to bestow upon him Helene, the most beautiful woman, for wife. The subsequent abduction of Helene led directly to the Trojan War and the fall of the city.”
The artist responsible for McHale’s version, according to the signature, is Richard Lounsbury, a 20th-century artist. McHale told Thomczek that he thought he was British. Other works were found by the artist on auction websites, including worthpoint.com, but little biographical information was found.
McHale’s lithograph is signed and numbered 175/300, indicating that it’s the 175th impression out of 300. Thomczek said that it’s a quality work, but that it has a few condition issues, including paper burns. “You can take and get it worked on, and it could probably use some acid-free paper. It will start to yellow and get foxing on it if you don’t take care of it.”
The appraiser said he was tempted to pull off the backing and see if it revealed any additional information. “If you’re going to reframe it anyway, it wouldn’t hurt anything.”
Thomczek said that the print is technically mixed media because it has some gold paint on it. “The signature is right and there’s a chance this artist is still around, although I haven’t been able to find out for sure.”
There were not a lot of auction results to use as comparables, but he valued it at $200 to $300 at auction. “Definitely have it reframed on acid-free paper if you like it so it stays in good shape,” he advised.
McHale intends to look into conservation and reframing. “I’ve had it a long time and always loved it. I had Greek in high school and college.”
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About this item
Item: Lithographic print
Owned by: Ed McHale
Appraised by: Brian Thomczek
Estimated value: $200 to $300 at auction