Scottsdale Art Auction
Consistent bidding and a huge turnout help bring in $13.2 million at the Scottsdale Art Auction.
Auction lots come and go so quickly, usually at the rate of a lot every minute, it’s easy to forget about the artists behind each and every work. Look past the data—the lot number, the high and low estimate, the hammer price, the full sold price with premiums—and the artists and their lives begin to take shape.
This all came into sharp focus April 6 during the Scottsdale Art Auction, where artist Mark Maggiori had a new work available to bidders: Lot No. 160, Electric Desert, estimated at $20,000 to $25,000. Maggiori was in the room when the piece sold. He paced nervously in the back. He ducked behind his hat. When the auctioneer called him up, he jogged to the front to nod and wave, but quickly returned to the back of the room. (Scan our QR code on this page and see it all for yourself.) When the hammer fell, Electric Desert realized $99,450, a new record for the still-rising Western star. When he turned around, he was all smiles. The sale of the work wasn’t just a number on a spreadsheet; it was proof he was on the right track as an artist, it was legitimacy in the auction world, it was vindication for the late nights in the studio, and it was a huge show of support for his artwork. These are the moments
that make auctions so much fun.
Maggiori was one of numerous artists who had successful results in the April sale, which realized more than $13.4 million across two sessions, with 95 percent of the lots finding new owners. For auction partner Brad Richardson, the sale was a tremendous success. “We’re very pleased. When we can have more than $13 million in sales with 95 percent of lots sold, and some still selling now after the sale, that’s one of our best sales,” he says. “And we had 500-plus people in the room with lots of action in the room, as well as on the phones and internet. Everything brought good dollars with some great runs. And the auction records were really great as well.”
The new records include Logan Maxwell Hagege’s Breaking Through the Storm, which more than tripled its high estimate of $75,000 when it sold for $234,000; and Melvin Warren’s
Remnants of the Herd, which sold for $497,250, also tripling its high estimate, which was set at $150,000. “The Warren piece is one of the few paintings that people refer to by name, and a lot of people believe it’s the greatest work he ever painted,” Richardson says. “We’re pleased it performed so well and had so many bids.”
Other top lots were Thomas Moran’s
Castle Rock, Green River, WY (est. $3.5/4.5 million) that sold for $2.75 million; Albert Bierstadt’s postcard-sized Sunset – Salt Lake (est. $150/250,000) that sold for $315,900; Henry Shrady’s Elk Buffalo bronze (est. $200/300,000) that sold for $380,250, a world
record for the sculptor; E. Martin Hennings’ Across the Valley (est. $20/40,000) that sold for $105,300; Z.S. Liang’s Water Lily (est. $45/65,000) that sold for $93,600; and two works from Frank Tenney Johnson, Smoke of a .45 and Beneath the Western Moon, that sold for $672,750 and $222,300.
Art by Martin Grelle sold exceptionally well, realizing more than $860,000 across seven lots. His top piece was Offerings on the Wind, which sold for $438,750, more than clearing its $175,000 high estimate. G. Harvey work realized more than $619,000 across 12 lots, while Kyle Polzin’s paintings realized more than $342,000 across five lots, each one surpassing the high estimate.
In the auction’s first session, which had no reserves, 44 percent of the lots sold above the high estimates, including works by Bruce Cheever, Glenn Dean, James Boren, Grelle, Eric Sloane, David Mann, Andy Thomas and Charlie Dye, whose Cutting Out a Stray sold for $58,500, well above the $30,000 high estimate.
“Overall, the market is in a good place as people are out there chasing the best paintings,” Richardson says. “We feel very optimistic about the market.”
Mark Maggiori, Electric Desert, oil on board, 35 x 40”. Artist World Auction Record. Estimate: $20/25,000 SOLD $99,450
Mark Maggiori with his wife, Petecia, at the Scottsdale Art Auction.
Logan Maxwell Hagege, Breaking Through the Storm, oil on canvas, 40 x 60”. Artist World Auction Record. Estimate: $50/75,000 SOLD $234,000
Martin Grelle, Offerings on the Wind, oil on linen, 48 x 60” Estimate: $125/175,000 SOLD $438,750
Melvin Warren (1920-1995), Remnants of the Herd, oil on canvas, 36 x 60”. Artist World Auction Record. Estimate: $100/150,000 SOLD $497,250
Henry Shrady (1871-1922), Elk Buffalo, bronze, 22½”. Artist World Auction Record. Estimate: $125/175,000 SOLD $380,250