LEADBy Ruthie Bowles, Contributing Author forWhat Sells Best News HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA –AntiquesRoadshow reports, a rare watercolorpainting mistaken for a $200 print that was gifted to a young woman by herdeparted grandmother, was recently appraised for $200,000-$300,000. BACKSTORYAntiques Roadshow never fails to amaze. Ayoung woman brought a painting she received from her deceased grandmother tothe first ever Roadshow appraisal in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Her grandmotherdisplayed the painting right over her own bed. In the past, appraisers assessedits value at $200 and $250 two seperate times. Meredith Hillferty, from Rago Arts andAuction Center and the Roadshow appraiser looking at this watercolor andgouache painting, delivered an appraisal estimate of $200,000 to $300,000dollars. That’s 1,000 times the initial appraisal amount. This news shoke theyoung lady to her core, and she was visibly moved and speechless.
Henry Francios Farny was born in Francein 1847. At six years old, he came to America with his family, and hisfascination with Native Americans began. He initially lived in Pennsylvania andthen moved to Ohio. He traveled back across the Atlantic Ocean three times tostudy artistic techniques, and he traveled up and down the Mississippi Riverand out West to sketch and paint Native Americans.
His art studies in Europe included studying that the Dusseldorf School of Art,and this style of plein air painting is evident in his work. The artists ofthis school focused on landscapes and usually used a subdued color palette. In the 1880’s, artwork showcasing NativeAmericans gained popularity, and Farny focused on adding his art to the market.The 1890’s are considered his most prolific time, which is the decade thispainting comes from. Unlike other painters of his time, Farny showed the NativeAmericans at peace with their surroundings, and never in conflict. WHY IT’S RAREHenry Farny paintings are highly soughtafter by collectors due to their unique perspective of the Native Americans inthe 19th century.
That one-of-a-kind view of North American Indians isdefinitely showcased in this piece. Theodore Roosevelt told Farny that “The nationowes you a great debt. It does not realize it now but it will some day. You arepreserving, for future generations, phases of American history that are rapidlypassing away.” COMPARABLE FINDSAmong painting discoveries, this familytreasure may not rank as high as some we’ve tracked.
However, it’s atremendously touching story that obviously had a huge impact on the life of theyoung woman who received the painting from her grandmother.