Thomas Hart Benton, “Approaching Storm”, 1938
Are you lucky enough to own some vintage prints? A precious few know that Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975) was a notable artist of the 1930s as well as a teacher (Jackson Pollock is one of his most famous students). Our trusted appraiser Sarah Reeder says she often come across vintage prints by Thomas Hart Benton in her appraisal work, and it’s useful for people to know how to recognize them as they tend to have higher market values than many prints by other artists.
The print that was recently brought to our attention is Thomas Hart Benton’s lithograph “Approaching Storm” from 1938. Lithographs are prints made from carved stones, and this one is signed in pencil lower right. Prints were an especially popular medium during the economic struggles of the 1930s because they were considered a more accessible format that allowed a greater portion of the population to be able to afford art by famous artists in their homes.
So, what’s it worth?
At the retail replacement level at the time of writing, Sarah would expect this lithograph to be priced accordingly:
The replacement value would be around $5,500 if it is in good condition, (less if it isn’t).
At the fair market value level, she would expect the lithograph to sell at auction for around $3,000 (if it were offered in a well-advertised auction at a venue with a strong reputation selling Benton prints.)
If I owned this print, I would hold onto it! It’s gorgeous and while who knows if it will go up in value, it is an American treasure and has timeless appeal.
Are you curious about the potential value of a treasured possession? Send us an email with detailed photos, including any maker’s marks, and we may feature it on a future blog post!
Read a more detailed version of this appraisal, plus a deep dive on appraisals in general, visit the Orion’s Attic website.
Sarah Reeder, ISA CAPP is an art and antiques appraiser. She is the owner of Artifactual History® Appraisal serving Northern Virginia and the Washington, DC Metro Area and Co-Editor of Worthwhile Magazine™. Learn more on her website.