My search for Hubert, AKA Léon Salles, began decades ago upon discovering his exquisite etching beneath a mirrored beer sign. How many treasures are accidentally discovered in a similar manner? How many fortunes are made based on these discoveries? A rare copy of the Declaration of Independence was once found beneath a $4.00 picture frame at a flea market around the same time I found my etching. It fetched its buyer a million dollars! For years I wished that my Hubert etching would be my claim to fortune and I began a search that I hoped would lead to a similar lucrative result.
Apparently I’m not the only one who thought of my etching as a potential cash cow. The most oft repeated question posed to me since I began this blog has been “What is my Hubert worth?” The monetary value has been the burning question on many minds. Over the years I made several futile attempts at appraisals but never received a definitive answer from a reliable source. Until now.
I considered toting my etchings to that popular TV series “Antiques Roadshow” on tour, however, the one and only time they were scheduled to be in my immediate area I didn’t find out about it until after they were long gone. And, of course now, the show is cancelled until further notice. My bad timing was only a temporary setback. As luck would have it, I discovered I had a neighbor who was a jewelry appraiser for the very same “Antiques Roadshow.” When I approached him and related my Hubert/Léon Salles saga he kindly gave me the name and contact information for one of the prints and posters expert on the show. I sent off an email and kept my fingers crossed.
I had just about given up hope when that old mantra “good things come to those who wait” once again proved true. I received a lovely email from the print expert. Although she had seen some works signed by Hubert, she was not familiar with his history or background until she viewed this website. She found his works to be quite lovely, but because there is not a strong market for works by either Hubert or Salles, the prices recorded are generally under $100. For those of us fortunate to own works signed Hubert or Léon Salles, unfortunately they will not be our winning tickets to financial freedom.
So what is it that makes a piece of art worth millions of dollars? Precisely, that someone is willing to pay that much for it. That being so, what is it about a particular work of art that induces someone to delve deep into their bank account and shell out a million dollars? Research tells us that things such as scarcity, supply and demand, subject matter, originality, condition, history, and provenance all play a role in assigning a dollar value. However, the dollar value of a work of art is not necessarily the worth of the piece.
Occasionally, it’s about love and passion. Something about the artwork resonates with you and creates an emotional connection. How that piece of art makes you feel should be the most important element. I came to first acquire a Hubert/Salles etching purely by accident. Although it was love at first sight for the piece, I wanted to know more about this artist who created such beauty. My connection to his work gradually evolved and deepened into something stronger. And when it did, it was like a drug – I had to have another one and then another and so on. The more I acquired I found that my chase became more of a labor of love and less of a fling for financial freedom. It’s my hope that someday the world will come to love and appreciate the work of this very talented artist, Léon Salles. As Edgar Degas once said “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”