Jackson Hole Art Auction
With strong wildlife and historic pieces, the Jackson Hole Art Auction soars to more than $8.4 million in sales.
Jackson Hole, WY
Records are meticulously kept for almost every auction that takes place in America, everything from estimates to hammer prices to price per square inch and much more. One thing that is not tracked is subject matter, which means we can’t definitively say Norman Rockwell’s painting of John Wayne holds the record for a work depicting the famous movie star, but it is certainly likely.
The painting sold for $1,496,000, just a hair’s width below the $1.5 million high estimate, during the second session of the Jackson Hole Art Auction on September 15 in Wyoming. The auction, which realized more than $8.4 million, closed out the popular Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. Rockwell, whose own auction record was set in 2013 at $46 million, was commissioned to paint Wayne in 1973. The actor sat for him in his studio in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Other top lots were Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait’s sporting image A Slight Chance (est. $400/600,000) that sold for $456,300, John Clymer’s Territorial Dispute (est. $150/250,000) that soared to $339,300, and Thomas Hart Benton’s Study for the Pathfinder (est. $175/225,000) that finished at $239,850. Thomas Moran’s work on paper Laguna, New Mexico Looking from the East had intense bidding which drove the final price to $339,300, nearly triple the high estimate of $125,000.
“The energy in the room this year was very positive,” says auction coordinator Madison Webb. “We had active bidding from the floor, phones, absentee and two competing online platforms—which led to a number of exciting bidding wars and ultimately recordbreaking prices.”
In addition to the major historic works, wildlife also had a strong showing with important pieces by Clymer, David Shepherd,
Carl Rungius, Wilhelm Kuhnert and Ken Carlson all finding bidders. Kuhn’s Basic Training, a painting of a mountain lion and cub, sold for $175,500, well over the $120,000 high estimate.
“Both sessions saw a number of exciting sleeper hits, with Jerry Jordan’s Spirit Welcome bringing $55,575, over its estimate of $10,000 to $15,000, and Charles Wysocki’s Melodramas in the Mist exceeding its $8,000 to $12,000 estimate with a sale price of $46,800 nearly four times the high estimate,” Webb says. “The 2018 sale set 15 new world auction records, including overall sales price records for both Jordan and Wysocki, as well as a price-per-square-inch record for Conrad Schwiering with Touch of Spring, which sold for a record breaking $26,325, significantly above its $5,000 to $7,000 estimate.”
Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), Study for the Pathfinder, 1925, oil on board, 14 x 11” Estimate: $175/225,000 SOLD: $239,850
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), John Wayne, oil on canvas, 38 x 31” Estimate: $1/1.5 million SOLD: $1,496,000
John Clymer (1907-1989), Territorial Dispute, oil on board, 24 x 40” Estimate: $150/250,000 SOLD: $339,300
Arthur F. Tait (1819-1905), A Slight Chance, 1883, oil on canvas, 20 x 30” Estimate: $400/$600,000 SOLD: $456,300