When in Doubt, Don’t Throw it Out
At the end of May I received an inquiry from C.H.. Her email demonstrates the importance of research and its role in determining value. "I noticed your website. This is a painting that we inherited from my in-laws. My husband's grandfather, Reverend Thomas Hazlewood and his wife Barbara lived in the Humbercrest United Church manse on or very close to Baby Point Rd. We know that he was there from at least 1946 to the early 1950s. It was given to them by the artist. From your archives the signature looks the same. The painting was certainly meaningful to them and when it was passed on to my husband's parents they held onto it until they died."
"I thought of the Group of Seven when I first saw it, but I liked it more. It does have beautiful colouring and flow. Unfortunately the painting was damaged by a massive flood in their house. It could have been Hurricane Hazel in 1954 but I am not certain."
"The damage is mainly a large crack about 8 inches long with a few other smaller cracks and a bit of paint missing.
"The back has our surname but is misspelled, a common mistake."
Understandably as the painting was damaged the temptation was to “just toss it”. This raises the issue of repair. Should canvases with cracks, tears and missing paint be fixed? The painting should be evaluated. Once the value has been established the question of repair can be addressed. If the value of the repair is greater than the piece, the decision becomes personal. It might be wise to see if the market value goes up before incurring repair costs but if appeal supercedes monetary investment then by all means repair and enjoy your painting. Readers might remember the story of Clara’s sketchbook: found on the road ready for garbage pick-up. (see Research Tours, June 2013, Richmond Hill). Many of those sketches have been matched with collectors’ paintings while others remain unaccounted for. Perhaps they were dumped: deemed to be worthless. We don’t know how many other of Clara’s works have met this fate. Luckily Reverend Hazlewood’s painting survives, contributing to the Clara Harris archive.
Best expressed by C.H: "Now that I know the historical significance I will not throw it out."