A regional auction house in Rochester, NY sold a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington owned by Oliver Chanler for $1.06m. The work was estimated in $200-300,000 range with the final bid coming in at $950k before commission:
“I thought it was going to go for more from what I’ve been reading, but it’s fine,” said Chanler, a Geneseo resident who discovered the value of the painting about 10 years ago. Bidding opened at $250,000 and quickly escalated to more than $700,000, when the action slowed down. […] Jeff Bridgman, the owner of Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques in York County, Pennsylvania, was the winning bidder. Bridgman, who deals in antique American flags and American folk art, said that he knew the painting would sell for much more than the estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. While Stuart reportedly painted more than 100 portraits of Washington, they aren’t available on the open market very often.
“There hasn’t been one sold for five years,” said Bridgman. “I’m very pleased.”
Chanler discovered the portrait’s worth when appraisers came to value his mother’s estate 10 years ago. He can only definitively trace his family’s ownership of the painting to his great-grandfather John Winthrop Chanler, who served in the House of Representatives from 1863 to 1869. However, the portrait could conceivably date all the way back to his great-great-great-great-grandfather John Jacob Astor, who also at one time had his portrait painted by Stuart.