Rare 18th Century Painting Finds Its Way to Relics Estate Sales and Consignments

When a large painting of a young girl feeding her kitten showed up at Relics Estate Sales and Consignments, Ken Kooyman knew he had something special on his hands. Kooyman holds a degree in art history from Harvard and spent a majority of his career running antique malls before he started working for Relics.

After a little sleuthing, Kooyman discovered that the painting entitled “Breakfast for Two” hung at The Louvre in 1885. Created by Willis Beals, the painting made its way to the 58th Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy in 1888, eventually to the Los Angeles County Art Museum at the turn of the 20th Century and finally to Relics’ store on Persimmon Street in Bluffton.

“He has a large repertoire of artists that are very well known that he was associated with,” Kooyman said of Beals. “Obviously, in 1885, studying in Paris, who knows which French impressionists he may have been in contact with at that time as well? There are some impressionistic characteristics to the painting, as well as realism; it’s a transitional piece.”

Kooyman wasn’t surprised that it only took three days to sell online.

“It’s going to Maryland,” Kooyman said. “The buyer obviously knew something about the artist  … I’m so glad it has a new home and someone who appreciates it.”

Kooyman said this unique piece of art helps establish Relics in the art community.

“This is just an example for people that if it’s sitting in the closet, the garage or storage unit, there’s always the possibility of something having value to someone else if you no longer have interest in it,” he said.