Boston’s Skinner Awarded American Impressionist Painting By The Appraisal Group

Boston’s Skinner Awarded American Impressionist Painting By The Appraisal Group

Of the many fine art and antique appraisals we do, most clients would like to realize a profit on their fine art and historic furniture.  Placing an oil painting or antiques with the right buyer – whether with a private collector or an auction house – takes leg work.  Although The Appraisal Group’s president David J. Goldberg has an instinctive feel of the market and knows who and where to sell, that process takes knowledge, contacts and knowing how to negotiate the best deal on behalf of the client.  This was true of the Louisiana Bayou painting by William Buch we placed a few seasons ago for the sum of $300,000. It was true of the Louis J. Majorelle desk and chair we placed at Sotheby’s in 2014 that brought $1.1M.

Broadly speaking, we see more excellent fine art than extraordinary furniture. That’s a function of style and the times. Fine art has long been considered a good investment. Before the advent of the camera, it was the only way, other than sculpture, people were able to record their faces and status for others to admire and for the generations to come to see. That’s why museums are filled with portraits of magnificent women and handsome men.

Recently we were called in to appraise a painting by the granddaughter of prominent woman, Ms. Julie Bulkley. The artist Lilian Wescott Hale (1880-1963) captured the sitter in her best hour. The painting, circa 1920s, is a 23 x 20 inch oil on canvas.  The painting is signed in the upper right hand corner and framed. In the photo below, you can see the artist’s signature and definitiveness of the artist’s brush work.

oil painting

Lilian Wescott Hale signature

We have placed it at Skinner because the artist was among the elite of Boston painters. In the book, “The Boston Painters”, R. H. Ives Gammell says “She (Ms. Hale) had a flair for picking the revealing gesture which expressed her sitter and then offsetting its dominant lines with aptly chosen surroundings so as to create a tapestry of shapes and colors which enchant the eye. Her portraits charm us as decorative wall hangings in the same degree that they fascinate as revelations of character.”

Ms. Hale is a nationally acclaimed American Impressionist. Her work hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the National Academy of Design, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Phillips Collection and the North Carolina Museum of Art. Her papers are held with the Hale Family Papers at Smith College. “Portrait of a Lady” will come to auction at Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers in Boston on May 13th.

The Appraisal Group was called in by the grand-daughter of the sitter to vet and value the painting. It will go down as one of the important pieces of fine art to be sold at auction this spring.

If you would like The Appraisal Group to authenticate and appraise works of fine art that have been passed down through your family or that you have collected, please contact us immediately.  Mr. Goldberg offers a complimentary consultation. Please reach him at Or, you can simply send your request through the Contact page on this website.

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