A: Ron Davies was a Canadian landscape artist. He lived near Montreal and had a small store there. I found some newspaper ads from 1963 which advertised the shop, announcing they sell paintings and made custom frames. Ron Davies won several awards for his work, all were landscapes and in oil. One of particular note: He won first prize at an art show in Westerly, R.I., in 1970. This may be where you father acquired this painting and became familiar with the artist. Ron Davies passed away in 1982. The current fair market value for this painting would be in the $250-to-$300 range.
Huge Polaroid replicas
Q: My husband was a former executive at Polaroid in Waltham, Mass. He bought this print and I would like to know more about it and what it is worth today.
A: In the late ’70s, Dr. Edwin Land, chairman of Polaroid Corporation in Cambridge, Mass., had the dream to produce life-size, instant replicas of fine art, using a massive camera. In the early ’90s, Dr. Land’s dream became reality. Polaroid reproduced more than 50 pictures by such artists as Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper and Claude Monet. The series was called “The Polaroid Museum Replica Collection.”
The company developed both the film, which measured 40 by 80 inches, and the camera, which was 12 by 12 by 16 feet. The operators worked inside the camera, and it took two people to peel off the picture. Although Polaroid was able to make life-size replicas, the colors at first did not always match the original painting. Over the years, Polaroid worked with computers to produce accurate replicas. Your print is of a painting by William James Glackens called “Flying Kites, Montmartre, 1906.”
A committee at Polaroid chose the art, all of which came from the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Each reproduction came in a gold-toned hand-finished wood frame. The prints have an acrylic “easy to clean” finish on them. Initial prices ranged from $120 to more than $1,000. However, through the technologic advances in photography and prints, this proved not too be a successful venture. The current price for this print would be around $100.
Karen Waterman is an antique furniture and decorative arts appraiser in the East Bay area and will answer as many questions about your own “hidden treasures” as possible. By sending a letter or e-mail with a question, you give full permission for use in the column. Names, addresses or e-mail will not be published and photos will be returned if requested. Send e-mails (digital photos are encouraged) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send snail mail to East Bay Newspapers, Att. Karen Waterman, P.O. Box 90, Bristol, RI 02809.