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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Missing Masterpieces



( Article orginally published December 1959 )

The search is on for missing paintings by prominent American artists. Somewhere, in attic or basement, trunk or warehouse perhaps even hanging on a wall, unrecognized paintings of great value await discovery- A disposition to curiosity, a perceptive and knowledgable eye and Lady Luck-will be behind each fortunate finding.

Pictured here is an original painting by Frederic Remington, the master artist of the Old West- Described as a "large 10 by 6 foot canvas depicting a U. S. Cavalry charge," its present whereabouts is unknown, The Old Sunny Brook Distillery, now sponsoring a search for it, is offering $25,000 for its recovery.

There are other American painters whose works are as eagerly sought by art collectors, and for which payment is as high. Works of the following top American artists have brought more than $20,000 each: Crilbert Stuart, famed far portraits of Washington, Jefferson, and other Revolutionary heroes (five of his known works are missing); Thomas Sully and John Singleton Copley, contemporaries of Stuart; George Caleb Bingham, portrait and genre painter of the early 19th century; James McNeill Whistler and Winslow Homer, two of our most popular artists.

On discovery of any possible masterpiece, check the basic "musts." Look for the artist's signature-it will usually be found in the lower right hand corner. Make certain it's an oil painting, not a skillful color print. Take the painting to an art authority for examination, or send a clear photograph, with measurements, to an expert.

Note: In 1818 Charles Wilson Peale painted a portrait of politically important William Harris Crawford, who had narrowly lost the presidential nomination to James Monroe. Peale never parted with his originals, but he offered the Crawfords a copy for $100. None seems to have been made; the original was lost. Recently it turned up, dirty and unrecognizable, in a lot of 20 that Foster Cannon, Washington, D.C. art and rare books dealer, bought from a dealer in Connecticut. Cleaned, it showed its true face; now wears a $4,000 price tag.

Missing Masterpieces



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