Best Moment: 1892 H. F. Farny Watercolor & Gouache Painting

Best Moment: 1892 H. F. Farny Watercolor & Gouache Painting


GUEST: So, this is a painting that I was given
when my grandmother passed away. It always hung right above her bed. Her dad, I’m guessing, would’ve given it to
her after she spent the summer at a dude ranch when she was 19, in, like, the ’40s. Not sure if it’s a print or a painting, but
when I got it, there was a mosquito underneath the glass, so I took it out to the front yard
and I opened it up to get the mosquito out, so I could take it with me to college, and
then it kind of scared me a little. I closed it back up immediately because it
looked like it might be real. APPRAISER: Okay, and have you had it appraised
before, do you know if she had it appraised? GUEST: It was appraised in, like, a general
house appraisal twice. In 1998, it was appraised as a print at $200,
and in 2004, it was appraised at $250. APPRAISER: Okay. Do you know anything about the artist? Have you done any looking into that, or…? GUEST: I know he was born in France, and then
he moved to northern Pennsylvania, so he could have been in the area at the time when he
was painting it, when it was given to my grandmother. And then he moved out to Ohio, but he had
associations with, like, the Sioux tribe, so they actually adopted him in. And they gave him a cipher, “Long Boots,”
and that’s what that little circle underneath his signature is. APPRAISER: So, that’s the artist, it’s Henry
Francois Farny. He was born in France. He came to Pennsylvania when he was about
six years old. And when he was living in Pennsylvania, he
began a relationship with the Seneca Indians, and that’s really where his fascination with
the different tribes began. This piece is really interesting because it’s
a dense group of figures, which is very desirable in his work. He did, eventually, spend a lot of time with
the Sioux Indians, and they did adopt and gave him the name “Long Boots.” This is really his most prolific time. 1890 is about when we start to see some of
his very best paintings. He represented the Native Americans in a very
kind of peaceful, tranquil way, and you can see that in this painting. He didn’t ever really bring conflict into
his work as some of the other artists from that time did– Charles Russell and Remington
kind of would show the conflict with the Indians, where he really wanted to just show the Native
Americans in their natural environment without too many other things happening besides the
landscape around them. So if we were going to put this in an auction
today, I would suggest an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. GUEST: Oh… (sniffles) So I can’t hang it
up. Oh, my God. Oh… That’s so much. (laughs) I don’t even know what to say. (exhales) Should I have left the mosquito
in the back? APPRAISER: It’s actually not a bad idea that
you took the bug out. Ultimately we would like for a conservator
to do that. GUEST: Right. APPRAISER: But the bug could’ve continued
to decay and caused a stain or something that you could’ve probably had a conservator work
on. But, no, it’s good that the bug wasn’t there
any more. Guest: Oh, jeez. Oh, my goodness. So I’ll keep it away from my dog. APPRAISER: (laughs)

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