June 29, 2008

Percival De Luce painting discovered in the closet on the Cape

In Wicked Local Wellfleet Marilyn Miller reports that when Barbara Lovett donated a painting to a charity auction, she was surprised to learn it was actually worth something. “My grandfather was a member of the Salmagundi Club” Lovett said, referring to an art club in New York City that was founded in the 1870s. The members were businessmen who collected art and her grandfather was a member in the 1920s. She had planned to sell the ornate wooden frame that held the painting until a man, perusing the items for sale, told her the painting was worth at least $1,000."I didn't know what it was," she said. "It's an original oil that was in the family and I never took it seriously." (Read more.) A larger painting by the same artist, Percival De Luce, sold at Christie's 10 years ago for $14,000.

About the artist: After receiving art instruction in Antwerp, Brussels and Paris in the late 19th century, Percival De Luce returned to New York City where he began a successful career as a portrait and genre artist. He exhibited widely across many venues including the Brooklyn Art Association, 1871-1885, 1891; the National Academy of Design, 1872 - 1900; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1876-1899; and the Boston Art Club, 1881-1900. He studied at the National Academy in New York and was designated ANA in 1897. De Luce's daughter, Olive, also an artist, joined the faculty of Northwest Missouri State University in 1915. Following her death in 1970, De Luce left her entire art collection of 19th- and 20th- century painting, named The Percival De Luce Memorial Collection, to the University. The Fine Arts Center at NMSU is named after Olive, although little information is available about her own art.

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