A Batesville, IN, man has discovered that a painting he bought at a yard sale for 50 cents ten years ago may be worth a lot of money.
Jesse Ronnebaum bought the early 1900s picture of seven guys shooting pool because it stood out to him for some reason. He recently noticed it said “Palette and Chisel Club 1910” at the bottom and decided to try and find out more about it using Google.
Turns out, the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts is the second largest artist organization in the country, based in Chicago. The men in the painting are all well-known artists that took turns painting each other into the work.
The primary artist was William Victor Higgins, an Indiana native. He left his family’s rural Shelbyville farm at age 15 to become an artist in Chicago. He worked as a sign painter while putting himself through school at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago.
When Ronnebaum began to realize what he had in the painting, he contacted Indianapolis art dealer Curt Churchman for help. The Higgins painting is now being restored and will be auctioned off in May in Chicago.
It’s difficult to say what the one-of-a-kind painting is worth, but Ronnebaum is happy to have had a part in its history and hopes to do some great things for his family with the profits from the auction.