(Fred Lynch) [Order this photo]
Hayes has recently found and purchased several sets of what he believes to be authentic and original prints, some signed and numbered, crafted by legendary artist Siegfried Reinhardt. Although Hayes has yet to have them professionally certified, he has no reason to think they are anything less than genuine.
"My jaw completely dropped when I came across them in a warehouse in St. Louis. The presentation, the signature, the boxes they are packed in. It all adds up to a very real find," Hayes said. "These could very well be the last project he was working on when he died in 1984. It's just an extraordinary feeling to have them."
Reinhardt's works are housed around the world in several prominent museums, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. He is among the few Americans with work in the Vatican Museum's permanent collection. Reinhardt was also the subject of a feature in Life Magazine in 1952, and in 1950 the magazine listed him among the 19 most important young artists.
He also had work on display in Cape's Missourian Art Show twice during the 1950s and '60s.
"With Reinhardt, you're talking about one of America's finest artists ever," Hayes said. "As far as I know, these are works that have never before been made available to the public."
"It's just astounding to think pieces like these would be floating around," said Barb Duncan, secretary of the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri. "I've always wanted to purchase some Reinhardt works myself, but they are so rare and price-prohibitive. His is truly art to behold and treasure."
"This is very interesting and attention-grabbing work. Once we get them up, I think they will really sell," Buckner said. "We haven't had them appraised or anything, but I'd estimate a price point to be anywhere from $500 to $650 for a complete set."
Reinhardt has several regional ties, including serving as artist in residence at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (1950-1954 and 1968-1969) and St. Louis Community College at Meramec (1971-1984). His works have sold for up to $11,500, which is why Hayes is taking extra precaution.
"I'm keeping them locked up. I knew immediately I couldn't keep them here at my house," Hayes said. "It's a shame because I'd love to display them. But I have to keep them safe and get them out there, educating young artists."
The Southeast Missourian attempted to contact sources to authenticate the works but was unsuccessful due to their availability.
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