Works of US painters rate high for collectors

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The groundswell of American collecting may not be as heavy as before, and Business Week magazine is now advising readers to buy cautiously and for the long haul. The editors are informing people of such current facts as:

Late 19th-century marine paintings by such American artists as J. C. Buttersworth, Mongague Dawson, Antonio Jacobsen, and James Gale Tyler have lately spurted in price.

Leading American impressionist painters from the period 1890 to 1940 and including Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, and Theodore Robinson are selling at auction this season at prices generally beginning at $50 ,000, although the excellent work of lesser artists is still available from $5, 000 to $10,000.

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So strong is the buy-American trend that first-quality canvases by US artists may well be the best and most secure art buys an investor can make today. The 19 th-century Hudson River School paintings are hitting new highs at auction.

Items of Victorian furniture made by John Henry Belter (of the 1840-65 period) are selling at double the usual prices of other cabinetmakers of the period, and many experts predict that Belter pieces will appreciate strongly.

Dolls and dollhouses, made around the turn of the century, and late 19 th-century clocks are among items of Americana that are selling briskly at auction, while prices are depressed for many stamps, coins, and pieces of antique silver.

Fine American Federal furniture (circa 1720 to 1810) commands astronomical prices, and most investors will wait to concentrate on period antiques in the $ 500-to-$3,000 price range.

The New York markets in international art, antiques, coins, stamps, jewelry, diamonds, and other investment collectibles are down in value a good 10 percent - and sometimes much more - from a year ago.

Sellers who need cash right now may find themselves in trouble, Business Week concludes, and should wait a few months to sell.

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