Here on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, as soon as one mystery is solved, another mystery takes its place. In the previous post, As Seen on 'Mad Men', I discovered why the Austin Enterprises chess sets are so popular. In this current post, I can't explain why an unknown artist sold for nearly five times the price of a known artist.
Left: Unknown artist, $2827
Right: August Herman Knoop, $590
The painting on the left, titled 'LARGE! ANTIQUE OIL PAINTING ON CANVAS "THE CHESS PLAYERS" ca 1700-1800', sold for US $2827 after 42 bids from 12 bidders. The description said,
You are looking at the large, beautiful oil painting representing a baroque scene with tree ladies playing chess in the garden and a gallant man watching their play. The original frame didn't remain until these days. The painting is in decorated wood gold frame and it's good in it. Unsigned. Large size amazing work demands attention on hall wall. Good artistic quality and vibrant colors. 62.9" x 43.3" x 2.7"
The painting on the right (believe me, it shows a chess game), titled 'August Herman Knoop oil painting German chess players from museum', sold for around $590, 'Best offer accepted'. Its description said,
This is well done painting on panel by the well known listed German artist: August Herman Knoop, 19th century. It has a brass name plate on front : A. Knoop. Depicts gentlemen playing chess identified on back as well : M.H, GOLDEN GATE PARK SAN FRANCISCO, GERMAN, SECOND HALF 19th CENTURY, THE CHESS PLAYERS, GIFT OF MISS SARAH M. SPOONER 1918, ARTIST AUGUST KNOOP Art: 5 7/8" x 7 1/2"; Ornate gold frame (has some damage, please see pictures) : 15 x 17 x 3 1/2"
Did the bidders recognize the artist in the first painting? Or is the frame more valuable? Or are the paintings valued by the square inch? Is it the 'tree ladies'? Or something else? I wish I knew.