Charles Robert Patterson (1878-1958)
Recently Tangible Good was hired to do a market report on maritime artist Charles Robert Patterson and I found myself won over by the old fashioned majesty of his pictures. (Before we go any further, a market report is a summary of comparable works with their sales results. Something short of a true appraisal, it draws no conclusions about value but gives the client some guideposts with which to do his own value analysis).
Patterson was born in Britain to a family of ship builders and sailers. His father was president of the Whitehaven Shipbuilding Company of Southampton, his uncle was a ship master and his brother was also a mariner. At thirteen, Patterson was apprenticed and went to sea as ship’s boy. In the 1920s he settled in New York where he made a name for himself reviving the great tradition of maritime art. In the inter-war era of avant garde advances is modern art, Patterson’s work is stubbornly traditional and totally unironic. His paintings of South Street are still considered the most accurate record of that seaport.
Although we found records of fewer than two dozen Patterson paintings sold publicly during the past 25 years, these enjoy a very high sell rate. Approximately 89% of Patterson paintings offered on open market have sold, typically at or above estimate. A record for the artist was set in 2007 when Blue Water Racing brought $14,400 at Leslie Hindman Auctions in Chicago. This figure includes buyer’s premium and so should be adjusted to an approximate hammer price of $11,500. However, the picture appears to have been miscatalogued as dating to 1850, which would significantly alter its value. Consequently, the high price should be taken with a grain of salt. Most have sold in the $2,000-$5,000 range.