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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of Nov 27 - Dec 3, 2002


Sun Valley originals in private hands

Express Staff Writer

Brock Kitchen, of Charlotte N.C., had never been to Idaho and didnít know much about Sun Valley when he came into possession of a piece of history.

In the mid- to late 1980s, Kitchen met the widow of J.C. Hill, an artist in Charlotte. While looking through Hillís morgue files, he found some original artwork from an ad campaign done sometime in the late 30s and early 40s for the Sun Valley Resort.

"I ended up buying eight original art works from her," Kitchen said. Some were by Hill and some by Dwight Shepler. Shepler taught watercolor painting at several Boston art schools; wrote articles and did portraits as illustrations for the Boston Herald. He also created advertising illustrations for Sun Valley.

This original painting was created sometime in the late 1930s.

Fast forward to this past August: The Antiques Roadshow, a public television program, was coming to Charlotte, and Kitchen decided to take in four of the paintings for appraisal.

Originally, he showed an advance appraiser a Shepler painting of the Roundhouse on Bald Mountain.

This impressed the appraiser, who then introduced him to Nicholas Lowry, president of Swann Galleries in New York. In addition to running the company, Lowry is also principal auctioneer and director of the poster department at Swann. On occasion he is one of the vintage poster experts for the Antiques Roadshow.

"He tried not to act surprised when I was pulling them out." Kitchen said. ĎWhere did you get these?í he asked and then asked would I like to be on TV. He still didnít say anything about how much they were worth."

Kitchen still had to be approved by the producers of the show, who ultimately agreed. Lowry finally fessed up when they were on the air. He said he had recently sold a poster of one of the originals for over $3,000.

"How in the world did pieces from Sun Valley get here?" Lowry asked. "He was surprised and pleased," said Kitchen. Lowry told him about Sun Valley, and about the trend for Sun Valley nostalgia and ski memorabilia.

Lowry told him that in the current market the posters are selling for more than original artwork. "But, he told me later ĎIím sure thatís going to change. This is the market trend right now.í "

While Lowry is selling them through his gallery, Kitchen still has possession of the paintings. He really believes they belong in Sun Valley. Some are unsigned, and some are printed pieces imprinted with Wilmarth, an Omaha advertising agency, which was used by the Union Pacific Railway, the first owners of the Sun Valley Resort.

Kitchen can be reached at brock@perigee.net or by calling 704-567-8592.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.