John Rasmussen almshouse painting to sell at Sotheby's

ohn Rasmussen's View of the Berks County Alms House will cross the block in a sale of folk art at Sotheby's.

The striking painting will lead a set of pieces from the collection of Ralph and Suzanne Katz in New York on January 21.


John Rasmussen was one of the three Almshouse Painters of Pennsylvania

Rasmussen arrived at the Pennsylvania almshouse depicted in the work in 1880, after being committed for alcoholism. He lived out the final 15 years of his life there.

He was one of three elderly painters (the others were Charles Hoffman and Louis Madoff - all three were German immigrants) who produced highly detailed views of the institution they called home.

Collectively known as the Almshouse Painters, each of the men greatly influenced the work of the others. This resulted in an intriguing overlap in styles.

All painted a central view of the almshouse, surrounded by images showing different scenes from the local area.

This was a typical method of producing maps at the time, indicating the men were probably trained as draftsmen in Germany.

The record for any work by the painters is $545,000 - set for a view by Charles Hoffman in 2013.

Sotheby's describes the present example as being "among the best to come to market in recent memory."

It's valued at $80,000-120,000.

You can look at all our art and photography memorabilia for sale here.

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