Heritage Auctions’ American Art Signature Auction
In a sale dominated mostly by Golden Age illustration, Heritage Auctions’ May 4 American Art Signature Auction brought to market a fine selection of Western-themed material. The works, many of which were also illustrations, included imagery of the lands, the people and the wildlife of that region. “Everything sold in the Western section, which was wonderful,” says Alissa Ford, director of Heritage’s Western art department. “It seemed like overall the market was very strong in Western art, but also across all categories.”
One of the top landscapes of the day was the fourth highest earning piece at the auction: Grazing Sheep at Headwaters of a Stream by John S. Jameson. The work, which had been estimated to sell between $40,000 and $60,000, more than quadrupled its high estimate when it achieved $250,000. “What was extra special about this work was it was completely fresh to the market. It traced back to the artist and it was being offered for the first time since he painted it,” says Aviva Lehmann, Heritage’s director of American art.
Another work coming to auction for the first time was John Fery’s Lake St. Mary, Going to the Sun Mountain, which had been in a crate from 1948 to 2005 when it was then loaned to the Hockaday Museum of Art for 12 years. Estimated at $20,000 to $30,000,
the work sold for $27,500. “This was kind of debut into the world really,” says Ford. “It had been at the Hockaday, but it was the first time to market.”
Also performing well was W.H.D. Koerner’s Dude Wrangler, an interior illustration for the March 10, 1934, edition of The Saturday Evening Post. The piece, which had an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000, brought $27,500. In discussing both the Koerner and the Fery, Ford explains, “The subject matter for both pieces is what attracted the bidders. Fery’s was Glacier Park and such a monumental scene by him is really rare. The Koerner, it was the subject matter, but also the fact that it was The Saturday Evening Post interior illustration. Those types of illustrations make them more valuable.”
Other highlights included a small-scale painting by Taos Society of Artists founding member Eanger Irving Couse. The work, titled
Indian Brave Kneeling Before the Firelight (est. $20/30,000), had several bidders vying for it before selling squarely in its estimate at $25,000. Conrad Schwiering’s Teton painting
Mountain Rhapsody (est. $10/15,000) had many bidders from Wyoming bidding, raising its final price to $17,500.
W.H.D. Koerner (1878-1938), Dude Wrangler, The Saturday Evening Post interior illustration, March 10, 1934, oil on canvas, 36 x 27” Estimate: $10/15,000 SOLD: $27,500
John Fery (1859-1934), Lake St. Mary, Going to the Sun Mountain, oil on canvas, 48¼ x 70¾”Estimate: $20/30,000 SOLD: $27,500
Conrad Schwiering (1916-1986), Mountain Rhapsody, oil on Masonite, 30 x 36” Estimate: $10/15,000 SOLD: $17,500
Eanger Irving Couse (1866-1936), Indian Brave Kneeling Before the Firelight, 1921, oil on board, 7½ x 93⁄8”. Estimate: $20/30,000 SOLD: $25,000