Chicago Antiques Guide

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George W. Drew Painting

Posted Tuesday, October 04 by CAG

Betsy from Richmond, VA writes, "This painting has been in the family since I can remember. It is by George W. Drew who I know was an American artist born in 1875 and died in 1968. The painting inside the frame is 5" wide by 9" high (I don't know how big the actual canvas is as I do not want to undo the frame). What can you tell me about the artist and what would the value of this painting be?"
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The size of the overal canvas is probably about 1/2 " larger in each direction. There is typically a 1/4" covered up all the way around. So the total size would be about 9 1/2" by 5 1/2". This is very small and not typical of Drew's works which are primarily landscapes. Most of his works are in the 10x14 to 24x36 range. A large percentage of his paintings represent a cottage by a pond of stream.

Drew was as you said born in New York in 1875. He studied under John Califano and Henry P. Smith. He was a member of the Society of Independent Artists, where his works were shown. He also exhibited at the National Academy of Design, Salons of America, and Newark Museum. He also painted a mural at the Travers Island Yacht House, in Mt. Vernon New York.

In terms of value, smaller pieces generally sell in the $400-$1,000 range and larger pieces in the $800-$2,000. But size is not the only factor. One of the highest auction prices I saw was for a small piece that had more going on than his typical paintings. It was a landscape, but had a horse next to a pond, and a man in a boat on the pond. It sold for $3,500, even though the auction estimates were $800-$1,200. I think the extra visual elements (plus a case of auction fever) contributed to the higher than expected selling price.

Your piece being small and lacking the extra elements would likely sell at auction in the $400-$600 range.

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