Sotheby’s Amer­i­can Art Sale

New York, NY

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

Dur­ing Sotheby’s more than 120-lot sale of Amer­i­can art on Oc­to­ber 2, col­lec­tors will be treated to a dy­namic group­ing of nearly two dozen Western art lots. The pieces, ar­riv­ing at auc­tion from an ar­ray of con­signors, are both his­toric and con­tem­po­rary, pro­vid­ing a va­ri­ety of works for col­lec­tors to en­joy.

“I think we’ve re­ally made a great ef­fort to put to­gether a very well-rounded sale,” says Char­lotte Mitchell, as­so­ciate spe­cial­ist in the auc­tion house’s Amer­i­can art depart­ment. “We tried to be se­lec­tive in terms of the works we in­cluded, and hoped we could se­lect work of the high­est qual­ity and se­lect ex­am­ples from across dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. We are very pleased with how things have come to­gether.”

Among the stand­outs of the Western seg­ment are works with a more il­lus­tra­tive qual­ity to them. In­cluded is Wil­liam R. Leigh’s dy­namic buck­ing bronco paint­ing Hell Bent, which has a pre­sale es­ti­mate of $250,000 to $350,000 and is ar­riv­ing to mar­ket from a fam­ily that has owned the piece since around 1975.

“It is a dy­namic ex­am­ple of the artist’s work, and I think it show­cases Leigh at his best,” de­scribes Mitchell. “It’s from 1954, to­ward the end of his ca­reer and re­ally shows how he in­cor­po­rated ev­ery­thing he learned through­out his ca­reer and show­cases his ac­com­plish­ments as an il­lus­tra­tor. The move­ment he achieves [in the paint­ing] is in­cred­i­ble and the color is fresh and bright...we think it will also ap­peal to col­lec­tors in il­lus­tra­tion, which is a mar­ket do­ing quite well.”

An un­ti­tled cover for Coun­try Gen­tle­man, by N.C. Wyeth, is an­other paint­ing with crossover ap­peal, as Wyeth is rec­og­nized

for his il­lus­tra­tions of many books and mag­a­zines. The work, as Mitchell ex­plains, ap­peared on the cover of the pub­li­ca­tion in 1917 and was gifted by Wyeth to its first own­ers then it has de­scended through the fam­ily. It is ex­pected to sell be­tween $80,000 and $120,000.

Sev­eral wa­ter­col­ors are also of note in the sale, in­clud­ing Thomas Moran’s 1874 paint­ing Yel­low­stone Lake (est. $150/250,000), which was com­pleted three years after the artist’s first trip west. “The color on this is truly ex­quis­ite,” says Mitchell. “The blue pool and green of the trees is a good com­bi­na­tion. It’s a lovely ex­am­ple of his wa­ter­col­ors. It’s nice and in­ti­mate in scale, which isn’t some­thing we al­ways see. It’s a great ex­am­ple of one of Moran’s early wa­ter­col­ors and his in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the West.”

Vic­tor Hig­gins’ in­ti­mately sized paint­ing Fish Ponds II (est. $15/25,000) is also note­wor­thy, as the wa­ter­color is from his Taos pe­riod. As Mitchell ex­plains, it has nice and fresh color, and it is a vari­a­tion on a larger scale piece that sold at auc­tion about five years ago. Sev­eral Western lots ar­rive at auc­tion from the Col­lec­tion of Pa­trick and Car­lyn Duffy. Pa­trick is best-known for his role as J.R. Ewing on the TV se­ries Dal­las. In­cluded in the group will be sev­eral bronzes, paint­ings by Gary Ernest Smith, and a rare Og­den M. Pleiss­ner oil paint­ing of a farm scene. The work, ti­tled Reap­ing Along Wing River, Wy­oming, is a sub­ject mat­ter and medium by the artist that does not come to mar­ket of­ten. It has a pre­sale es­ti­mate of $15,000 to $25,000

N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), Un­ti­tled (Coun­try Gen­tle­man Cover), 1917, oil on can­vas, 30 x 30” Es­ti­mate: $80/120,000Wil­liam R. Leigh (1866-1955), Hell Bent, oil on can­vas, 30 x 25”Es­ti­mate: $250/350,000

Thomas Moran (1837-1926), Yel­low­stone Lake, ca. 1874, wa­ter­color and gouache on pa­per, 9¾ x 19” Es­ti­mate: $150/250,000

Vic­tor Hig­gins (1884-1949), Fish Ponds II, wa­ter­color and pen­cil on pa­per, 12 x 15¾” Es­ti­mate: $15/25,000

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