31 January 2016

The Kitten Theme

I'm not sure when the evolution took place, but here on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, live auctions have become the standard method of selling artwork on eBay. The latest example, pictured below, was titled 'GÉRARD JOZEF PORTIELJE, (BELGIAN 1856-1929), CHESS MATCH Lot 185', and subtitled, 'Part of a live auction event on Tuesday, Jan 26'.

The title of the live auction was 'European Art & Old Masters offered by Freeman's, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA'. This chess painting sold for US $7500 after 15 bids, attracting more interest than some of the works by better known artists.

The description said,

Seller's Estimate: USD 2,000 - 4,000 • GÉRARD JOZEF PORTIELJE (Belgian 1856-1929); CHESS MATCH; Signed and located 'Gerard Portielje Antwerp' bottom right, oil on canvas; 18 1/4 x 23 in. (46.4 x 58.4cm); Provenance: Private Collection, New Jersey.

Condition Report: The relined canvas with visible surface craquelure; in fair overall condition with some areas that are difficult to accurately 'read' under u.v. light due to pigments used and varnish inconsistencies. There are some restored areas, including in background at left, center left, center and center right, and to parts of tablecloth.

A few common devices appear in the painting. The fellow on the left is sleeping, presumably after a few drinks from the bottle on the table; the fellow on the right, deep in concentration, is oblivious to his partner's condition; and kittens are playing with chess pieces on the floor. A search on 'chess Portielje' brings up two other works by the same artist.

In contrast to the live auction in the previous 'Top eBay Chess Items' post, Something Smells Fishy, this one looks normal.

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