It’s everyone’s fantasy: a couple of old paintings hanging by the ping pong table in the family’s basement turn out to be the kind of masterpieces that sold last week for $800,000. The outdoor scenes were done by Jasper F. Cropsey, a painter from the Hudson River School. The top lot, a winter hunting scene at Niagara Falls, went for $552,000.
The paintings fetched more than 10 times the estimate when they came up at the Clarke Auction Gallery in Larchmont, NY. They were consigned by an unidentified college administrator. He said they had hung for 30 years in the Connecticut family home alongside a paint-by-numbers picture done by his older sister. When his mother died last year he brought them in for appraisal, hoping they might be worth a few hundred dollars.
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