Everyone has a neglected piece of art stored somewhere in their garage. When people decide to do their spring cleaning on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow, they sometimes find out those works of art are worth thousands of dollars — other times, they're worth $15. But Houston resident James Kenner received only good news when he stopped by a taping of the show in Fort Worth: His Auguste Rodin sculpture is worth hundreds of thousands more than he expected.
Kenner says the sculpture first belonged to his father’s great aunt. When she died, it was passed down to Kenner’s great grandmother, then his grandmother, then his father, and finally him. Sort of.
“My parents are still alive, but I had expressed an interest in the Rodin. I thought it was a very beautiful piece, so I would like to have that. Everyone agreed. My parents said, ‘When we go, it will be yours,’” he says.
Since his parents are still alive, it’s not quite his piece yet. However, he still took it to the Fort Worth Antiques Roadshow, which aired Monday night on PBS, and had it appraised by Eric Silver. French sculptor Rodin, who worked in the late 19th and early 20th century, was often compared to Michelangelo and frequently depicted mythological and historical themes in his works of art, Silver said.
Silver added that if the sculpture is an authentic Rodin, it could be worth between $400,000 and $500,000.
“I was amazed. Completely blown away,” Kenner tells us. “I didn’t expect a number like that at all. I was thinking maybe a few thousand. You can probably see it on television. It was a little bit of disbelief there at that amount.”
Silver told Kenner that to prove it’s an official Rodin, he had to send it to the Committee of Auguste Rodin to prove its authenticity. Kenner tells us he did send it off to New York and it is in fact an official Rodin.
Now that Kenner knows its worth, he says he’s given it back to his parents, proving he’s a better person than you and me. “[My parents] considered it mine when I went, but at that point, no. ‘Mom, Dad, this is yours.’ They’ve been handling it since then. We’ve all been very interested and helping, but at that point, it kind of becomes a family object,” Kenner says, adding that his parents plan to auction it off.
“Hopefully it’s sold for a lot of money. It really depends, from what we understand, on what the bidders want to bid. At the same time, it’s just an estimate. We hope for more,” he says, laughing.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.