Q: I have had this Whitney Hubbard oil painting for many years and would like to know its value. It is small, measuring 8 by 9½ inches. It has a couple of spots where the paint has chipped.
A: There is no question this is a sweet painting by Long Island artist Whitney Myron Hubbard. The Impressionist style is right, the signature is right, the subject matter is right. And the paper label on the back — “June Morning – L.I. Sound by Whitney M. Hubbard, Greenport, Long Island, -.Y. (the “N” is missing) — does not hurt.
Hubbard was born in Middleton, Conn., in 1875. He exhibited at the National Academy of Design, the Chicago Art Institute and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, but the Great Depression hampered his career.
At his death in 1965, his art was not appreciated and sold for only a small amount of money. But art dealer Melvin Kitchin promoted his work, and today it brings respectable if not spectacular prices. Hubbard painted landscapes and marine scenes associated with his home on Long Island. He also painted some portraits, and we found one cityscape of New York City.
What it’s worth: In perfect condition, this beautiful, impressionistic seascape with sailboat might have brought as much as $1,200 at auction. But with the damage, we feel that would be reduced by as much as three-quarters. While we think the damaged spots can be repaired, the job will be expensive, and this will reduce the value of the painting considerably.
Q: I have inherited what I think is a 19th-century mahogany chair. I have done research in the library but cannot find anything that resembles this style.
A: This is indeed a 19th-century chair and it does appear to have been constructed from mahogany. But a careful examination of the photograph suggests the chair back is decorated with strips of burl mahogany arranged in a chevron pattern, and underneath this may be mahogany or some other hardwood.
The chair has slender cabriole legs, side piercings accented with large “C” scrolls and an elaborate crest with scrolls and leaf tendrils.
All this combines to tell us the piece is in the Victorian rococo revival style that was popular between about 1840 and 1865. So, the chair is probably circa 1860. Most likely, the chair plus a matching companion piece would have been used in an entry hall so guests could have a place to sit before being admitted to the drawing room.
What it’s worth: Single chairs are not highly valued in the current marketplace. For insurance purposes, the piece should be valued at less than $100, and at a big city estate sale, it might struggle to find a buyer for as little as $35.
Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson have written a number of books on antiques.