Mom will be 84 in a couple of months and her husband, R, is 79 and suffering from his fourth bout with bladder cancer.  He also has emphysema.   They plan to be moving into a hotel next year and they have been doing a lot of house cleaning.  We visited today and came home with a box of baseball cards from the 1980s, and some art prints or lithos, not sure which, of some relatively unknown artists.

The art is not our taste and we don’t have the room for hanging them.  We will also be inheriting six original gold paintings and we already don’t know where they will be displayed in our home.  Our first thoughts turned to selling the art prints.

Of course, we looked up the most popular of the three artists, Emile Bellet, on Ebay, and his work is being priced at a couple hundred dollars each.  One is exactly the same as ours and one vender had it priced at $600.  All of this dealer’s auctions of the Bellet prints were ending today or tomorrow and had no bids.   That should say something about how easy it is to sell art today.  Not huge sums by any means, but selling one or two would certainly help me pay for groceries, and otherwise they’ll just sit rolled up in their cardboard tubes.  Maybe we should keep them for a while?

Then if we do want to sell them, how do I know if these are lithographs, serigraphs, or something else, like glicee/gilcee?  I tried to research it on line, but most sources said you really have to study the various printing forms.  

Are we wrong for wanting to sell this small inheritance?  I feel a little guilty about looking up the artists and finding out what their art is worth.  Still, the paintings are not our style at all, and R bought hoping they would be worth money some day.  Maybe now is the day?   And, frankly, we could really use the money.

As I mentioned, there are other paintings we will inherit one day.  We like these paintings a lot and don’t plan to try to sell them, but they will require cleaning after hanging in the smokers’ home for the past 35 years.  Any one out there in the blogosphere know where I should go to have paintings done in gold leaf cleaned of tobacco smoke?  And speaking of tobacco, does anyone know if it is possible to eliminate the smell of smoke from books?



21 thoughts on “Inheritance

  1. I can’t help you with your getting them cleaned or priced..but I hope you can find someone honest and trustworthy to help you. But as to your question about selling any that you feel led to…I believe it is a lot better than letting any of them sit in a container somewhere. And I don’t think it’s an affront to R….Diane

  2. I’ve had great success in removing tobacco smells from books, but it’s slow. You can only use the best of these methods on one or two books at a time, and all work best if you leave the books in the special environment recommended in the link below for several days to two or three weeks. See for several methods that have worked for me. (I prefer the “cedar chip” and “charcoal” methods over the dryer sheet method, which leaves the books smelling like a perfumed wh*re!) Good luck and let us know how things turn out.

    Hugs, Randa

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. Yeah, the dryer sheets don’t sound that practical. The charcoal sounds hopeful. I don’t think I want to hang my hardbacks from a rope in the yard. lol

      I’ll let you know how it goes.

  3. They are yours now and selling them is fine. Unless R wants them back at some stage which I doubt. If he bought them to make money then it’s up to you whether or not you want to make that money 😉

    I think you need to go to a gallery or to someone who knows what art is worth instead of just putting them up on eBay straight away.

    Sorry – I have no idea how to get tobacco smoke out of anything (except clothes) 😀

  4. I agree with the others, if they’re not to your taste and just going to sit getting dusty it’s much better to sell them to someone who will enjoy them! Might be worth taking to a gallery or auction room and asking them how much they’re worth and whether you can sell them there instead.
    Getting tobacco stains off fancy paintings? not a clue I’m afraid! Off walls, clothes etc not a problem but anything delicate is always awkward as I find out each time I try to quit lol xx

    1. Seems like taking them to an art gallery is the best idea. Who knows, maybe they’re worth more than my research has shown.

      I did get some good ideas about getting the smell of tobacco out of books, but cleaning the gold paintings is probably going to require a pro.

  5. I wouldn’t feel bad about selling, unless it was specificlaly discussed that an item was wanted to be handed down and kept in a family then I would honour that, otherwise an inheritances is there to benefit someone. My family don’t leave iheritances, not having much anyway helps so they need whatever they saved to see them through retirement. Even property is usless in the sense thatin many cases they have to be sold whilst they are alive to pay for their care as they are older

    1. Mom and R have already sold some of the other art they collected over the years. The gold paintings will be the only other things we will inherit, and I’m not certain they have much value other than the gold used in them.

      We have not inherited anything much from any relative. My parents are already gone and we got nothing at all from them…my sibs who lived nearby got everything. So we do want to keep some things to hand down to our son and grandson.

  6. I think it is fine to sell them. I would call the art department at a local university or art museum for advise about cleaning and selling.

  7. If you want to restore them (which will be better if you keep or sell them as they can be priced higher) contact an art museum (email long distance if necessary or phone) and ask to speak with a curator if they don’t have someone on staff who takes care of the art when it requires restoration.
    Explain you have inherited these as may be interested in having them restored -ask if can they recommend someone reliable and qualified.
    You need to know if it’s possible, what it will cost, what results can be expected , and if these are worth restoring.
    Cleaning process (and success) will depend on the media (inks, paints etc) the process used to create it, and the type of paper used (different ones have different qualities).
    It’s ok to sell them, but maybe wait a bit (prices are down – there’s a lot out available) and to make sure you don’t want them to hand down or keep just to remember.

    1. Yes, I know the art market is quite slow and very low prices right now. I’m sure it will be several years before prices start to go back up.

      In the meantime, we will roll them up. Luckily the prints do not smell strongly of tobacco, so that’s a big plus. On the negative side, these are all very new. We have contacted the art curator at a local private college and he has said he will check into the artists for us.

      The gold paintings are tough to find info on. The artists are supposedly prisoners of the Cadiz prison, which I believe is now closed. So far all I’ve found out is there are others out there with similar paintings from the same area and time frame and the owners know nothing about these paintings/painters. Some are trying to sell their art (without a photo posted) for anywhere from $200 to $300 a piece. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad price, but it seems reasonable. Though the gold paintings are very pretty and we do intend to keep the ones we eventually inherit, as our son would like to have them.

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