Dear Helaine and Joe:
I hope you are able to tell me more about this Lee Reynolds painting and its monetary value. The image measures 60 by 48 inches.
Dear L. G.:
We have visited the “Lee Reynolds” story before, which means we could not revisit the subject until enough time had passed. We have tried to be strong about this, but we have approximately 100 emails about “Lee Reynolds” paintings — so we will go there once again, but this answer is for everybody!
It is estimated by several sources there are between 300,000 and 500,000 paintings bearing the “Lee Reynolds” “Reynolds,” “Stuart” (Lee Reynold’s brother), “Reyn,” “Lee Reynolds Burr” or “Lee Burr” signatures. Yet the artist Lee Reynolds Burr (1936–2017) only created somewhere between 200 and 350 original works during his lifetime.
Lee Reynolds Burr was born in Los Angeles and received a bachelor’s in fine arts degree from UCLA in 1962. Described in his obituary as an “artist and entrepreneur,” Burr founded the Vanguard Studios in Beverly Hills, California, in 1964. This was essentially an art factory with an assembly line of artists mass-producing paintings using silk screen printing with some handwork to produce a raised effect on the canvas.
The above procedure is a gross simplification of the process, but the goal at Vanguard was to produce oil paintings the average American could afford to hang on their walls over the sofa. Major outlets were furniture stores and interior designers, and the work was considered to be decoration rather than fine art. (Some would fight us over this last statement, but “decoration” does seem to be the majority opinion.)
The subject matter of the Reynolds Vanguard Studios paintings ranged from abstracts to landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, representations of flowers, Southwestern and Mexican themes, birds (we love the parrots), hot air balloons, rodeo cowboys, seashells, musicians, and cats and dogs. Some are very artistic and of a high standard, and some are, well, tacky.
According to the artist himself, “Lee Reynolds” was a trade name and no painting with this signature was touched by his hand. Burr originals will bear his full signature, “Lee Reynolds Burr,” and his later works include his thumbprint.
As for the painting in today’s question, it is attractive and a good “Lee Reynolds” size at 5 by 4 feet. The monetary value, however, is hard to determine. Prices range from $19 to $10,900 on eBay, and that is a huge difference. To be sure, the $19.99 is for “cheesy” flowers in a pot, and the $10,900 example is supposedly for an original.
Cityscapes with bridges and water in these pleasant, restful, foggy hues tend to be priced in the $450 to $650 range, but some sellers are wanting more in the $1,000 to $1,200 range (and up). We feel there is growth potential here, but right now, we favor the lower values.
(Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson have written a number of books on antiques. Do you have an item you’d like to know more about? Contact them at Joe Rosson, 2504 Seymour Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917, or email them at email@example.com. If you’d like your question to be considered for their column, please include a high-resolution photo of the subject, which must be in focus, with your inquiry.)
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