Jackson Hole Art Auction
Important historic and contemporary Western art to be offered September 14 and 15 at the Jackson Hole Art Auction.
Jackson Hole, WY
Now in its 11th year, the Jackson Hole Art Auction is once again returning to one of the West’s most celebrated cities during one of its signature events, Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. The roughly 10-day event features Western art of all kinds—as well as music, food and culture—before closing with the annual sale.
This year’s sale will take place across two sessions on September 14 and 15 at the Center for the Arts, where more than 200 works of historic and contemporary Western art will be offered to bidders.
“I just can’t believe we’re already on our 11th year. It’s certainly grown over the years and really become a destination sale for many people and we couldn’t be happier,” says auction partner Roxanne Hofmann-mowery. “We’re so proud that we can close out this wonderful event here in Jackson Hole. I just got off the phone with a collector who wants to come to the sale, but he also wants to come out at the beginning of the week to see the gallery openings, museum shows and all the other events. It’s exciting that people mark their calendars early for this event and our sale. We’re honored to be where we’re at.”
This year’s sale, like previous years, features a wide variety of works, but because it’s Jackson Hole there are a number of really exceptional wildlife works, which do quite well in the wildlife-rich area. Works include eight paintings by wildlife master Bob Kuhn, including the bear piece A Last Running Look (est. $55/75,000) and a mountain lion painting titled Basic Training (est. $90/120,000). Other
wildlife highlights are three Ken Carlson works, including Bachelor Bighorns (est. $30/40,000); a collection of 50 drawings (est. $50/75,000) by Wilhelm Kuhnert; Tucker Smith’s bison piece Ahead of the Storm (est. $60/90,000); and three major wildlife works from John Clymer, including the bear-bison attack scene Territorial Dispute (est. $150/250,000). Another Clymer, Rocky Mountains Big Horn (est. $50/75,000) comes from the famous Eddie Basha collection in Arizona.
“Our signature is our wildlife pieces and it’s become something that collectors come in especially for,” Hofmann-mowery says. “This year is no exception: the wildlife pieces are
amazing and we’re very excited to offer them.”
Other highlights include several works from prominent American illustrators, such as N.C. Wyeth’s 1908 portrait of a cowboy, estimated at $80,000 to $120,000, and two pieces by W.H.D. Koerner: Their Meeting Ground,
estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, and Old Monterey, estimated at $50,000 to $75,000.
Contenders for top lots include Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait’s 1883 oil A Slight Chance,
estimated at $400,000 to $600,000, and Albert Bierstadt’s oil Source of the Snake,
estimated at $300,000 to $500,000.
“Tait was one of our earliest sporting artists and this painting really shows his developed technique and knowledge of wildlife of the area. It’s rare to find a Tait with both hunters and wildlife subjects. He knew so much about hunting that you can sense it in this work as the hunters are anticipating the birds that might emerge from the grass on the other side of the river. It’s an exciting piece that should do very well,” the auction partner says. “The Bierstadt is also a fabulous painting. He traveled West and was renowned for his paintings of the American West. He would often create oil paintings on site and then go back to his studio to create larger works where he could show his artistic ability. In this one he shows us the immensity of the river, even as he only gives us a glimmer of it.”
A number of major Taos works will also be available to bidders, including three Gerald Cassidy paintings of Native Americans, two of which are estimated at $75,000 to $125,000; Eanger Irving Couse’s Autumn Flute Song, estimated at $40,000 to $60,000; E. Martin Hennings’ Evening on Taos Mountain,
estimated at $30,000 to $50,000; and three works from Oscar E. Berninghaus, one of which is Taos Field of Workers, estimated at $400,000 to $500,000.
A 1911 Edward Potthast work, Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon (est. $200/400,000), will be sold somewhat near Thomas Moran’s 1892
Laguna, New Mexico Looking from the East
(est. $75/125,000), which is fitting since the two artists traveled together.
“Potthast was extremely well known for his scenes of the East Coast, but in 1910 he joined fellow artist Thomas Moran and they were commissioned and sponsored by the Santa Fe Railroad to go to the Grand Canyon. Potthast painted this work right after his trip, and it evokes the immensity of the canyon and the profound effect it has on us,” says Hofmann-mowery. “The light and colors are shifting and his impressionistic style proves to be perfect. You can see the small figures of horses on the trail, but he conveys the enormity of the landscape so the people are just minor footnotes.”
Additional lots include Thomas Hart Benton’s Study for the Pathfinder (est. $175/225,000), Otto Sommer’s Beef for the Troops (est. $50/100,000), Frank Tenney Johnson’s Branding a Maverick (est. $175/275,000) and two works by William R. Leigh, the standout being the landscape
Jackson Lake (est. $50/75,000)
Works by contemporary artists include major pieces from William Acheff, Martin Grelle, Clyde Aspevig, Michael Coleman, Jenness Cortez, Roy Andersen, R. Tom Gilleon, Curt Walters, Robert Bateman and, rare for a Western auction, Bo Bartlett, whose wildlife piece Deer is estimated at $125,000 to $200,000.
Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819-1905), A Slight Chance, 1883, oil on canvas, 20 x 30” Estimate: $400/$600,000
Oscar E. Berninghaus (1874-1952), Taos Field of Workers, oil on canvas, 25 x 30” Estimate: $400/500,000
Bob Kuhn (1920-2007),Basic Training, acrylic on Masonite, 16 x 35½” Estimate: $90/120,000