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Doris, Antiques Appraiser
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 9516
Experience:  Antiques store owner 10+yrs.Best of City Two Years. Collector 56+yrs.USPAP compliant. Member AOA.Founded part of antiques, silver & art collection at local museum.
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Would you please provide me with an appraisal and other

Customer Question

Would you please provide me with an appraisal and other market information you have for "Sourdough Legacy" by Paul Dibert in 1978? I purchased this picture in Taos, NM over 30 years ago.
Thank you!Dave Durgin(###) ###-####
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Doris replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is Doris.
I have been an antiques collector, dealer and appraiser for over 56 years.
I will be pleased to help you.

Please tell me the following:

The size, not including the frame. Do not remove from frame.

Medium - oils, watercolors, etc.

Subject matter - your picture is too small for me to see.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The painting is 15 x 27 in oil - a still life.
On a wooden shelf sits a duck decoy, old coffee pot, an old book, a leather pouch, and an old dish with a spoon in it.
Hanging on the back of the shelf is a key, a picture of a woman, and a clipping from the San Fran Examiner.
It was painted in 1978.
Expert:  Doris replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the information.

You may have already seen this; but, just in case you have not, I will include it here.

Paul DiBert (1930-2009)

"A trompe l'oeil still life painter, Paul DiBert hearkens back to the traditional values of his French Huguenot Pennsylvania ancestors with his paintings focused on values of light and dark and precise depictions of everyday objects. Early in his career he did a variety of subjects but ultimately focused primarily on still lifes because, with his introverted personality, he is more comfortable with the intimacy of those kinds of arrangements. However, having moved to Logan, Utah in the 1980s, he has painted a few landscapes, especially of the Wasatch Mountains whose quiet atmosphere suits his way of working.

DiBert was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and much of his childhood was spent on the road with his mother and father, who was a musician. The family finally settled in Detroit. He quit highschool in 1946 and entered the service at age 17. Stationed in Alaska, he painted a watercolor picture of an old Russian Church, which was placed by General Luther Miller in his Pentagon office where he was Chief of Chaplains. For DiBert, it was a defining moment when he saw his painting in such a prestigious place.

Leaving the service in 1948, DiBert focused on an art career and studied in Pittsburgh with Henry Marcus Moran, a commercial artist. From him, he learned a basic understanding of drawing and detail, although he was not admiring of Moran's assertion that art was just a trade with which one made money.

In the early 1950s, DiBert moved to Florida, where he divided his time between making props for small theatres and sets for the Ringling Brothers Circus. After several years, he abandoned his paint brushes and wandered the country, this time with a wife and four children, and "tried settling in nearly every section of the United States." (Southwest Art 83). Of this nearly ten-year period in his life when he stayed away from fine art, he later said that it was a bad time anyway for his realist style of work. "Abstracts were selling in galleries then and not much else". (ibid)

In Los Angeles, DiBert began painting again and showed his work to others. Don Wells, co-founder with actress Mary Pickford of the American Institute of Fine Arts, began to promote his work, and DiBert had one-man shows at the Biltmore and Regency Galleries in Los Angeles, the Regency Galleries in Laguna Beach, and the Taos Gallery in Taos.

Of his first one-man show in Los Angeles, ***** ***** wrote in a review in the 'Los Angeles Times': "the thing that is fascinating about DiBert's dark, varnished pictures is their ethical function. One realizes that these are moral allegories as were the works of ancestors; Harnett, Peto, and the Dutch Specialists. They seem to speak of a man with simple values of distresssed by the world outside". (Taos Gallery brochure)."

Prizes ensued including a Gold Medal from the Council of Traditional Artists Societies and Life Membership from the American Institute of Fine Arts. He also earned the Jose Drudis Foundation Award for outstanding work in 1969.

Exhibition pamphlet, The Taos Art Gallery, Taos, New Mexico
Sue Van Alfen, "Southwest Art", 'Paul DiBert', February 1981

When assessing an artist's work, appraisers must look at completed sales of works by the same artist. Art gallery sales prices are private.
We must then go to auction sales prices which are public. When using comparable work by the same artist, medium, subject matter and size are factors to be considered.
Appraisers most often use price per square inch of previously sold comparable works by the same artist as a measure of value.

Using this widely accepted method of assessment, I was able to determine an estimated auction value of $950-1050 for your DiBert oil painting assuming good condition and depending on sale location.

As for retail value, I have seen art sell for 4 to 5 times auction values depending on the tastes of the art gallery owner as well as location of the gallery.

In general, a private seller to a dealer or at auction can expect 30-60% of estimated retail value.

Insurance replacement values are usually about 10% more than retail values.

If you wish to sell, these are my suggestions -

The internet has your widest pool of buyers. To sell close to estimated retail try the following -

Try ads on sites such as

Some like where you can set up your store for free and the selling fees are small - 20 cents to list an item plus 3.5% of the final price.

Or list with no fees whatsoever:

I hope I have helped you.

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Kind regards.


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Expert:  Doris replied 1 year ago.

Hi there!

I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help or do you have more questions about your item that would help?

Kind regards,