Best Moment: Richmond Barthé Bronze “Pan” Sculpture, ca. 1969

Best Moment: Richmond Barthé Bronze “Pan” Sculpture, ca. 1969


APPRAISER: Robin, you brought in this wonderful
sculpture by Richmond Barthé. How did you come to own this? GUEST: My grandmother actually came upon his
studio completely by accident while she was vacationing in Jamaica in the late ’60s, found
the beginning of this when it was in its infancy, and paid a deposit to have it completed. And she kept in touch with him via letters
over the next couple of years. And when she finally got it, it was her pride
and joy. She kept it in a place of honor everywhere
she lived, and when she passed away, it came to me. My family, to be honest, was not super keen
on him. They felt that his leer was a little off-putting. And I was the family member that absolutely
loved it. The joke was when Nana passed away, wasn’t
who gets Pan, it was who’s going to have to take care of him. And I volunteered because I… I think he’s beautiful. APPRAISER: Richmond Barthé was one of the
leading African American artists of his day. He was born in St. Louis in 1901, and showed
artistic talent early on. And he was encouraged by the priests in the
local Roman Catholic Church, and he remained fairly devout throughout his entire life. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago,
the Pennsylvania Academy. He was enormously successful in his day. He had exhibitions, he received commissions
for portraits and other public works, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship, and he was a member
of a group called the Harlem Renaissance, which took place in Harlem in the 1920s and
the early 1930s. It was a focal point for artists, for painters,
for sculptors. It was really an incredibly exciting period
for culture in New York City and is part of African American cultural history. An interesting thing about Barthé is he moved
to Jamaica, and after he left Jamaica he went to Pasadena, California. GUEST: Mm-hmm. APPRAISER: And his career was really not doing
that well. And he was partially supported by the actor
James Garner. GUEST: Oh, that’s very interesting. APPRAISER: Yeah. And Garner helped support him and also arranged
for various of his works to be given to museums. GUEST: Wow. APPRAISER: It’s very clearly signed here,
on the back. And I think this depiction of Pan, with these
little horns, is really beautifully done. The modeling is great, the casting is great,
and the patina is wonderful. We do know what your grandmother paid for
it. GUEST: Yes. APPRAISER: It’s right here in the letter. $500 and this was in… GUEST: 1969. APPRAISER: 1969. The market for African American art has skyrocketed
in the last five years. And Barthé was one of the leading African
American sculptors of his time. In today’s market, in a retail setting, I
would put a price of between $15,000 and $25,000. GUEST: (chuckling) Wow. My kids have been putting Christmas cracker
hats on his head. I should maybe put him a little higher up
so they can’t reach him.

45 thoughts on “Best Moment: Richmond Barthé Bronze “Pan” Sculpture, ca. 1969

  1. Well, those kids of yours just might try harder and get at "pan" if you put him higher up…… and knock him over! Look out!

  2. You stated that the term 'African american' is used because of slavery. Your wrong. Its racism. The natives weren't slaves but they aren't called American, they are NATIVE american

  3. I say the sculptor did an extraordinary job bringing this fictional character to life. I can almost believe Pan lived and breathed once.

  4. She has so much of the sculptures structure. Strike that, reverse. It makes me wonder if it’s facial features were inspired by her grandmothers

  5. Gorgeous sculpture and, no, Pan's facial expression is not off-putting. It is perfect! This is Pan for heaven's sake!

  6. This was Richmond's expression of his gay side that he thought beautiful but totally unaccepted by society at the time as he longed for a negro lover

  7. There is no such thing as African-American; if you were born in the USA you are an American.

    Britain was invaded and colonised, formerly, by the Romans, the Saxons and the Vikings.

    That does not mean that I am Italian-English, German-English or Swedish-English.

  8. I have to say that "Pan" could not have gone to a nicer young lady. She will make the perfect curator. Her grandmother would be proud.
    The letters are perfect provenance to validate the history and purchase.

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