In May, 2011, a man with a small but pleasant oil painting titled "October," fresh from a New Jersey estate, walked up to the owner of a hot dog stand in North Carolina. Alison Bledsoe, the hot dog lady, looked at the dirty landscape of a bridge, some yellow leafed trees and some brightly colored houses. She wasn't quite sure if the interesting painting was worth buying, but it wasn't expensive.
Seven months later, on December 4, 2011, Les and Sue Fox of West Highland Art Auction Brokers (http://www.AmericanArtAdvisor.com) in cooperation with Alasdair Nichol of Freeman's Auctioneers, sold the professionally cleaned New Hope, Pennsylvania bridge scene by Fern Isabel Coppedge for $29,800 at auction. The Foxes offer art sellers a unique "Art Auction Partnership", which is the arrangement they made with Alison Bledsoe. There is a Q&A on their website, and a free brochure is available. Freeman's of Philadelphia, America's oldest auction house, was founded in 1806 and specializes in Pennsylvania Impressionism. In 2006, they set the record price for a painting by Fern Coppedge at $308,000.
"People find valuable paintings like this every day," explained Les. "According to our research there are more than 50 million undiscovered paintings in America worth from $1,000 to over $1,000,000. Our new book has the true stories to prove it." In addition to being successful art dealers, the Foxes are N.Y. Times bestselling authors. Their forthcoming book "The Art Hunters Handbook" will be published in 2012. The book will include the Alison Bledsoe story, and dozens of other Antiques Roadshow type stories, including a family who may own a genuine Michelangelo. It will also showcase 120 exciting American, European and Latin American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.
According to Fox, Fern Coppedge (1883-1951) was one of America's most prolific artists, having painted as many as 5,000 paintings during her lifetime. Coppedge was the only woman artist in the New Hope School, working alongside famed impressionists Daniel Garber and Edward Redfield. More than 200 of Fern's paintings can be seen on AskART.com, America's leading art auction information website. A current exhibition at the Michener Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania features a number of paintings by Fern Coppedge.
"We are always interested in evaluating and buying paintings by Fern Coppedge, and thousands of other artists," Fox added. "We offer a free appraisal service, non-refundable cash advances, and an amazing Art Auction Partnership program to people who have discovered or inherited a valuable painting."