Value of antique charcoal drawings
June 13, 2012 6:57 PM   Subscribe

Two charcoal drawings were left behind when both my parents recently transitioned. We are attempting to establish their value. Both appear to be very old, Dutch in nature and both feature large sailboats and people "working" on shore. Each is about 36 inches long and about 30 inches tall. The artists name appears to be Janssam or Janssau...the "end-swirl" of the last letter of the name curves up and hovers over the name, back to the first "s". I have a photo of one drawing but haven't yet figured out how to post a picture on this site. Any help or suggestion toward identifying these pictures is greatly appreciated.
posted by Mickiezada to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Post the picture somewhere else, and link to it here.

Can't help with the actual identification...
posted by hamandcheese at 7:08 PM on June 13, 2012

Any context?

Are they original charcoal drawings, or prints? Are they known to definitely be charcoal drawings, or could they be pastel or ink or some other medium?

Are your parents art collectors? Is the artist someone they knew? Did they buy these pieces in the Netherlands? Are they, themselves Dutch? Is there any context for how they acquired these drawings (i.e. at a gallery, in an antique shop, from a souvenir stand outside the Rijksmuseum?)

Very old as in 1850? Or 1650?
posted by Sara C. at 7:14 PM on June 13, 2012

I used to work in an art museum and people would routinely send letters with photographs of artworks asking this type of question. However, it can be difficult to determine the medium from a photograph. Frequently there wasn't much we could tell them if it was an unknown work from an unknown artist. Hell, sometimes it is difficult to determine the medium from a photograph. And even in person, it is sometimes difficult for someone who is not in the arts/art history field to distinguish a drawing from a print. This isn't a dig; some prints really do look like drawings.

Unless you can link to a photo AND the artist is known and recognizable, I don't think we're going to be much help, other than directing you to other resources. Sara C. asks some great questions that anyone whom you ask to review the drawings would probably ask you as well. It would be great if you knew anything about how your parents acquired the drawings (when? from whom? where?) One thing you might be able to check is the paper type. does it have a watermark? Is it rough, smooth, white, etc? The more details that you can provide the better.

You could ask a dealer from a local auction house that deals in prints and drawings for an evaluation. It needn't be Sotheby's or Christie's; a local auction house would do. There may be a charge, but they should be able to determine the monetary value. If the drawings do end up being valuable they should be insured and having an exact valuation would be useful (it may even be required to insure works over a certain amount, but I'm just spit-balling about that).

You could also try calling a local art museum to see if there is someone there to whom you could send an email and high quality digital photographs. An art librarian might also be able to help you or at least give you some really great tips on resources to check.
posted by kaybdc at 8:05 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Sounds like the artist is Mathurin Janssaud. His signature here seems to be similar to what you describe as well as the contents of the piece.
posted by Jacob G at 8:26 PM on June 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

Here is a Janssaud that sold for $12500 at auction.
posted by doorsfan at 6:06 AM on June 14, 2012

And of course after I practically write an essay on how difficult this is going to be to resolve, doorsfan posts a link to a strong candidate.
posted by kaybdc at 7:09 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oops on preview, that was JacobG.I should refrain from askme when I don't have my contacts in.
posted by kaybdc at 7:10 AM on June 14, 2012

Response by poster: THANK YOU! Yes Mathurin Janssaud is the artist. I am so appreciative of your time and information. Perfect!
posted by Mickiezada at 5:42 PM on June 14, 2012

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