GUEST: About six years ago, my aunt was dying
of cancer, but she invited family members to come through her home and choose whatever
they’d like to have. And she would say yes or no if that’s what she wanted you to have.
But I was immediately drawn to this painting, and Aunt Marge said, “Good eye.” She said
she knew the artist back in the ’40s, Olin Travis. She wanted to help him out, so she
gave him $75 plus $15 a month to do this painting for her. Then she became his client that way,
and he invited her later to some of his various art shows– for instance, the Dallas Museum.
And she was very happy to see that he’d made it enough to be on display in a museum. APPRAISER: So she paid in total…? GUEST: $275. On the back, it says it’s an
Ozark hilltop, and he had fallen in love with someone from the Ozarks, so this was a special
time in his life. APPRAISER: Olin Travis was born and raised
in Dallas, Texas. He went to the Chicago Art Institute School, graduated in 1914, and he
became a teacher there. Eventually, by 1921, he moved back to Dallas and he did fall in
love and marry a girl from the Ozarks in about 1923. GUEST: Oh, okay. APPRAISER: Working in Dallas, he decided to
open a summer art school and created an art colony in the Ozarks in about 1926. GUEST: Oh, I didn’t know that. APPRAISER: It’s a really beautiful painting,
and especially because it is the Ozarks, we’re here in Arkansas. The painting is oil on Masonite.
He used the smooth side of the Masonite rather than the grainy side. Masonite came into use
by artists in the 1930s even though it was invented a little bit earlier. The date of
1947 makes sense. GUEST: I see. APPRAISER: It’s signed in the lower left,
and in the lower right, there’s a little marking. And you said that you didn’t know what that
was. GUEST: Yeah, it looked like a little turtle
to me. APPRAISER: It’s his initials, “O.T.” GUEST: Oh, well, there you go. APPRAISER: So what this picture has is the
trifecta. It’s got perfect provenance; it’s in excellent condition in its original frame;
and it’s a really good subject matter for the artist. Most of the artist’s market is
in Dallas, Texas, because that’s where he’s known and he’s the native son. But I love
the Arkansas subject matter, the great impasto, and the value is about $10,000 for insurance
purposes. GUEST: I did not expect that! Whoa! Holy cow!
That takes my breath away. Good Lord. APPRAISER: She was right, you do have a good
eye. (laughs) GUEST: Wow. Where’s my chair? APPRAISER: What did you guess that it might
be worth? GUEST: I thought maybe $1,500, maybe.