A Family Heirloom’s Hidden Value

Every family has its treasures, those special items that are passed down through the generations. But how much do we really know about these precious objects that fill our homes? For one California family, their family heirloom was a beloved watercolor painting. And they turned to Lofty to find out more.


When this lovely painting was passed down to the seller’s mother by her great aunt, the family had no idea how much the piece was worth. All they knew was that, according to the seller’s grandfather, it had hung in the hallway of the aunt’s house for years.

When the family submitted photos of the painting to Lofty, our expert appraisers immediately recognized the artist as American impressionist painter Paul Sawyier (1865–1917), a leading watercolorist from Kentucky who had studied at McMicken School of Design (now the Art Academy of Cincinnati) and the Art Students League of New York, where he was taught by renowned artist William Merritt Chase.

With that information in mind, the family put the painting for sale in one of Lofty’s live virtual auctions. The were surprised—very pleasantly—when the painting sold for $10,695.


WHAT: Paul Sawyier, Landscape of a House with Well and Pond, watercolor on paper

WHO: The family of the painting’s late owner

SOLD FOR: $10,695 on Lofty