When Subject Matter Stymies Art Valuation

The Art of Emanuel Glicenstein Romano

We were approached some 10 years ago about a warehoused collection of the famous artist and social realist Emanuel Glicenstein Romano. We were highly excited to acquire such a collection, and the source was rock solid, so we bought it sight unseen for a prodigious sum of money.

After fully viewing and cataloging the collection, which came from the artist’s estate some six months later, it was apparent that, while this was indeed one of the most important collections of a known artist that we had ever acquired, it would also be the most challenging.

man painting
Emanuel Glicenstein Romano
stymies art painting


An Unusual Subject

Glicenstein Romano was obsessed with one subject: the Holocaust. Almost all of the works acquired deal with the Holocaust in allegorical style and with stark, bold and often disturbing images that depict the Nazis and their victims, which makes the works difficult to market. The images are powerful and well done. But at least half of them are not the kind of thing you want hanging on your living room wall. Many critics have deemed them “priceless.” But putting a value on them is almost impossible. Indeed, after 10 years of ownership and hundreds, if not thousands, of inquiries from across the world, less than 20 percent of them have been sold.

We have donated two of them — one to the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg. The future of the collection is uncertain. Other than a few of the more iconic examples that will sell due to intense interest, the majority will likely be donated to a museum or similar entity — again, due to the disturbing subject matter.

This is an archival article formerly written and is for informational purposes only. The valuations in this article have likely changed since it was first written.

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