Going, Going, Gone
Judith Eurich (M.F.A., '73; M.A., '88), director of fine arts and photographs for Bonhams & Butterfields Auctioneers, is an expert on the works of the old masters, Andy Warhol and most every major artist and photographer in between. Her skill as an appraiser enables her to deliver the good news that a photo found in grandmother's attic could put the grandchildren through college. Just as easily she can glance at the "P" in a Picasso signature to determine if a painting is a phony.
Eurich spent 12 years in the curatorial department in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco between earning two degrees at SFSU -- one focused on printmaking, another on art history.
Collecting and cataloging fine art and prints for Bonhams & Butterfields' two yearly auctions requires a great deal of Eurich's time, but occasionally the company sends her to appear on PBS' popular "Antiques Roadshow." Filmed in venues across the country, the show draws long lines of people with antiques they have purchased, inherited or found. They keep their fingers crossed for good news from Eurich and other on-site appraisers, who assess items and then huddle with producers to point out the valuable or especially quirky items they think will make for good TV.
The appearances can bring great items to Bonhams & Butterfields' auction block. Eurich recalls her on-air appraisal of a photograph which turned out to be a true Edward S. Curtis auratone (the frontier photographer's prints range in value from $5,000 to $15,000). Later she received calls from excited viewers who realized they owned similar prints that they wanted to offer on consignment for future auctions.
The reward of appraising is seeing "a terrific piece of property sell at a great price," Eurich says. "It's thrilling. A real adrenaline rush." And when that property goes to a museum where many people can view, enjoy and learn from it, even better, she says.
-- Adrianne Bee
1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco,
CA 94132 (415) 338-1111