Is this Picasso worth anything ?
March 14, 2010 2:05 PM   Subscribe

Is this Picasso worth anything ?

This Picasso (Clown on a Horse) hung in my parents living room going at least back to the early 1950's. There is some water damage, so I'm tempted to throw it away. Of course, I want to check first that it is not of any significant value, perhaps an early limited edition print.

How can I establish the value (or lack thereof) of this? Should I remove from the frame to see what's on the back ? Is there any easy way to determine if any limited editions of Clown on the Horse were ever made ?

Other than "knowing what I like", I know little about art and art history.

posted by Kevin S to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How can I establish the value (or lack thereof) of this?

Don't take it apart. If you live near a university, get in touch with their arts department. They may be able to help or to direct you to someone who can.
posted by griphus at 2:10 PM on March 14, 2010

Limited edition prints generally have a number listing on the front, often in pencil. I don't see the number on the image, but it would look like: 5/200 to indicate the edition and print.

My guess is that it's an old poster and not a print. But it still could have some economic value. The paper could be flattened easily.

Anyway, the university is a good suggestion for an initial appraisal. Beware auction houses. They are very unkind to those who do not know the market.
posted by effluvia at 2:18 PM on March 14, 2010

That looks like a poster, and it's one of Picasso's most commonly reproduced works. It's not worth much at all in fantastic condition, and probably entirely worthless with water damage. You can still buy new ones today, so . . .
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 2:26 PM on March 14, 2010

I don't have it in front of me (it's 3 hours away), but I believe the surface is smooth but granulated/textured. Would a poster be obviously smooth paper and not granulated?
posted by Kevin S at 2:58 PM on March 14, 2010

I would contact an appraiser in your area, via the Appraisers' Association of America. They have a search by location form, and an appraiser near you should be able to tell you if it's worth further investigation.
posted by Lycaste at 2:59 PM on March 14, 2010

Seconding not taking it apart or doing anything to "improve" it. Further to Lycaste's link, there is also the American Society of Appraisers. They will suggest an individual in your area who is well versed in the relevant area but will charge you.
posted by Morrigan at 4:51 PM on March 14, 2010

Be aware that there's a large market in fakes, especially for well-known artists (and there aren't many better-known ones!).

The quality of the paper is not actually much of a help in determining whether it's a fake or not - fake prints would obviously be more believable if printed on appropriate paper.

So, even if it does seem to be real, you not only have to convince yourself, but the dealer as well.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:49 PM on March 14, 2010

I disagree with the warning above about auction houses.
A legitimate, well-known operation wants to help you.
If your item is valuable, they will want a chance to sell it, and they, like you, make more $$ if the bidding goes high.
If it's worthless, or just a collectible, they will tell you honestly, because they won't be able to make any $$ selling it, and their reputation is on the llne if they try to sell something as a real Picasso, and it turns out to be fake.
posted by mmf at 6:49 PM on March 14, 2010

The title of the work is 'Arlequin et cheval' and it was an ink on paper from 1924.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 8:10 PM on March 14, 2010

I'm pretty sure the original is earlier than '24. I saw dates float by citing 1905, which is more in line with the style and the subject matter. It is shown in this massive collection of images dated 1905, however the version shown differs significantly from the one you have photographed.

Here is an online auction for what appears to be a similar print.

The signature on the Goodwill print looks very similar to that in the flickr-posted image.

The same image I noted in my first link is also seen here, with some more context available including a date of 1905.
posted by mwhybark at 12:27 AM on March 15, 2010

Thanks very much everyone. Looks like the only sensible thing to do is to find an appraiser/art dept member for an up close look. And thanks for dissuading me from taking it apart, my natural inclination when trying to understand something.
posted by Kevin S at 5:42 AM on March 15, 2010

« Older Looking for a Bowie or Sting song.   |   Consolidate music libraries on windows and linux... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.