Rare Painting By Selina Bres Goes To Auction in New Orleans

Rare Painting By Selina Bres Goes To Auction in New Orleans

Folks who follow The Appraisal Group on the social media are always interested in knowing more about how David J. Goldberg and his network of specialists work. One of the most frequently asked questions is, “How do you know where to sell a painting to get the best price?”  The answer is simple. “We have a lot of connections in the art world”.  While ltrue, that is  too vague to satisfy most people who want to sell their art, so I’m going to show you a case in point. It is The Appraisal Group’s newest find – a beautiful, regional oil painting by the Louisiana artist Selina Bres (1870-1953).

The scene is Professor Woodward on his Barge. It is s a colorful depiction of life as it is lived on the bayous of Louisiana. Professor Woodward appears as a man intent on keeping his own company.  He is sitting in his chair, smoking a pipe and doing some small chore with his hands. The houeboat has awnings and a couple of shells are tied up in front of it. You can the see a row of houses on the land behind the bayou. It is a tour de force of bold color and broad strokes.

Selina Bres gains a lot by restraint in this painting. You will see traces of American impressionism in the dappled colors of the water and you may find yourself seeing traces of the American primitive technique in the boat and the man. It is, overall, an honest and authentic representation of life as it is on the bayou.

Selina Bres, The Appraisal Group

Professor Woodward on his Barge, by Selina Bres.


Given this, where would you expect this painting to sell? The options are numerous. It might appeal to American collectors who like to shop Sotheby’s and Swan’s. It could easily fit into a contemporary collection as an historic piece that reflects the modernist trend of the early 20th century. Collectors for those kinds of paintings like to shop art fairs. David Goldberg has relationships with all the important venues but…

…the natural market for this Selina Bres painting is the regional audience.

Collectors of regional paintings love slice-of-life scenes in local settings. It makes them proud to carry on the tradition of supporting regional artists.

David Goldberg has chosen Crescent City Auction Gallery as the venue to sell this painting. Crescent City Auction Gallery is known in New Orleans and throughout the south. It has an excellent reputation and puts full weight behind promoting regional paintings. The charming scene comes to auction on February 27th.

Before the painting went to Crescent City though, it had to pass a litmus test. David J. Goldberg had to vet (authenticate) the painting itself. Condition was also a consideration in determining price. In this case, the condition is excellent. He had to know what the market is and where it is located. He also had to know what realistic price would be.

Here’s a brief overview of the expertise that brought this painting to market:

Selina Bres is of the legendary Newcomb College school of painters. She has quite a history of firsts. She was in the first class of Newcomb potters. She reportedly made the first sale of a piece of Newcomb pottery. She is credited with publication of the first souvenir postcard of the South. Selina Bres has been exhibited widely throughout Louisiana.

This painting of William Woodward on a houseboat in St. Tammany Parish was done in the 1920s.  It is signed in the lower right corner. It is a rare find that, given its importance, will command a relatively modest price at auction. This fact, coupled with Ms. Bres’ status in the Newcomb school of painters, makes it an exceptionally good buy.

I hope you have enjoyed this review of the Selina Bres oil painting, Professor Woodward on his Barge. Please visit us again for a high resolution image of the painting. The image you are seeing here was taken in-situ by the appraiser.

Professor Woodward on his Barge will appear in the Crescent City Auction Gallery catalog online for the February 27th auction.

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