Jack­son Hole Art Auc­tion

Jack­son Hole, WY

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

Jack­son Hole, Wy­oming, is known for its abun­dance of wildlife, some of which will march through town to the ir­ri­ta­tion of lo­cals and to the de­light of tourists. Griz­zly bears, moose, elk and bi­son have all played cu­ri­ous res­i­dents in Wy­oming’s fa­mous city squished be­tween Grand Te­ton Na­tional Park, Yel­low­stone Na­tional Park, the Na­tional Elk

Refuge and a half dozen na­tional forests.

So it’s fit­ting that the best place in the world to view and buy wildlife art is Jack­son Hole. And one of the crown jew­els of Jack­son Hole’s thriv­ing art scene is the Jack­son Hole Art Auc­tion, which will take place this year on Septem­ber 13 and 14 at the Cen­ter for the Arts. This year’s sale will fea­ture nearly 500 works of art of­fered in two ses­sions. The first ses­sion will be of­fered en­tirely with no re­serves, a pop­u­lar fea­ture at sev­eral key West­ern art auc­tions.

“This year’s sale is shap­ing up beau­ti­fully. I can say un­equiv­o­cally that this is the strong­est se­lec­tion of wildlife art we’ve ever had, and wildlife art is our sig­na­ture cat­e­gory. It’s re­ally an as­ton­ish­ing col­lec­tion of art­work,” says

auc­tion part­ner Rox­anne Hof­mann Mow­ery, who adds that many of the works are com­ing from three highly cu­rated pri­vate col­lec­tions that fea­ture many works fresh to the mar­ket. “The first ses­sion should be a lot of fun be­cause it will have some great pieces there for emerg­ing col­lec­tors, in­clud­ing some re­ally amaz­ing pieces with es­ti­mates below $25,000. And, of course, the sec­ond ses­sion has some pieces that are sure to be very ex­cit­ing.”

Within the wildlife cat­e­gory, high­lights in­clude sev­eral ma­jor Carl Rungius paint­ings, the likely top lot be­ing Alaskan Wilder­ness, a 40-by-50-inch image of a moose amid fallen logs and a moss-cov­ered boul­der. It is es­ti­mated at $400,000 to $600,000. “Even though Rungius was born in Ger­many he be­came the most fa­mous artist paint­ing North Amer­ica wildlife. This first one is just gor­geous with a re­ally great prove­nance. It was ex­hib­ited at the Na­tional Academy of De­sign in 1924, and then in 1925 it was an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Penn­syl­va­nia Academy of the Fine Arts,” Mow­ery says. “It’s re­ally a su­perla­tive ex­am­ple of some of his most ma­ture, more im­pres­sion­ist style of work. It’s one of the master­works of his ca­reer.”

The other big high­light from the artist is the 1907 work A Moun­tain King, es­ti­mated at $150,000 to $250,000. It fea­tures a cari­bou look­ing down a dra­matic in­cline with a mag­nif­i­cent land­scape be­hind it. Sev­eral other Rungius works will be of­fered with sub­ject mat­ter that in­cludes a sad­dled horse, a bear and cub, and a wapiti, which re­sem­bles a deer.

Bob Kuhn is an­other wildlife master whose works will be of­fered in the sale. The two big pieces are both moun­tain lion paint­ings: Cat on the Qui Vive, es­ti­mated at $150,000 to $250,000, and The Look Be­fore the Leap, es­ti­mated at $100,000 to $200,000. “Cat on the Qui Vive is es­pe­cially won­der­ful be­cause it was a com­mis­sion di­rectly from the artist and it has been in a pri­vate col­lec­tion for quite some time. It will be very fresh to the mar­ket,” Mow­ery says. “What’s also im­por­tant to re­mem­ber is that Bob Kuhn loved cats, so these are re­ally very iconic works for him. He de­picted the cat’s el­e­gance, which is un­mis­tak­able in each paint­ing.”

In ad­di­tion to sev­eral other Kuhn paint­ings, and a rare Kuhn bronze, the Jack­son Hole Art Auc­tion will also of­fer im­por­tant works from

who’s who list of wildlife artists: Wil­helm Kuh­n­ert, Tucker Smith, David Shep­herd, Bon­nie Mar­ris, Stan­ley Melt­zoff, Luke Fra­zier, Ken Carl­son, John Cly­mer and sev­eral large works from Robert Bate­man, in­clud­ing the misty morn­ing scene Elk and Aspen (est. $80/120,000).

The Amer­i­can cow­boy is an­other prom­i­nent cat­e­gory in the sale, and this year will be no ex­cep­tion with pieces from James Bama, Bill Anton, Olaf Wieghorst, G. Har­vey and oth­ers. What is cer­tain to be one of the most talked about lots comes from Thomas Hart Ben­ton, the fa­mous re­gion­al­ist who cap­tured Amer­i­can sub­jects through­out much of the 20th cen­tury. His 1931 work on pa­per, Cow­boys at the Cor­ral (est. $400/600,000), is likely to spark some fire­works, Mow­ery says. “This is one ex­tremely rare. In 1930 he trav­eled to Wy­oming be­cause he was look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion in the West. He snuck into the Fourth of July rodeo pos­ing as a re­porter from the Den­ver Post and for sev­eral days he spent time sketch­ing the cow­boys he saw. He was fas­ci­nated with that part of the Amer­i­can West,” she says. “Ben­ton worked through­out the Great De­pres­sion, but unlike so many artists of the time, he didn’t seek sup­port from the WPA sim­ply be­cause he achieved so much suc­cess, even dur­ing the De­pres­sion.”

An­other cow­boy work to keep your eyes on is Mark Mag­giori’s Cow­boys at Work, es­ti­mated at $30,000 to $50,000. The piece shows three rid­ers on horse­back and two oth­ers tend­ing to a horse. The scene is framed by a dis­tant moun­tain range and clouds that are swoop­ing over the snow-cov­ered peaks. Two other cow­boy works will likely draw lots of in­ter­est: Arnold Friberg’s Too Many Cooks (est. $30/50,000), which shows a cow mak­ing a mess of the chuck wagon, and Char­lie Dye’s camp scene Re­muda (est. $70/100,000), which Mow­ery calls “one of the most sub­stan­tial and dra­matic works ever painted by the artist.”

Na­tive Amer­i­can sub­ject mat­ter will play a sig­nif­i­cant role in the sale, with Martin Grelle’s Cheyenne Rem­nants (est. $250/350,000) com­ing out as an early fa­vorite. “I’ve known Martin since the mid1980s and I’ve sold his work since that time, and this is sim­ply one of the best ex­am­ples of his ma­jor works,” Mow­ery says. “It’s a large paint­ing and has these large fig­ures with a travois as they travel through the win­ter as light glis­tens off the snow.”

Other works that will in­ter­est col­lec­tors in­clude Ken­neth Riley’s scene of a Na­tive Amer­i­can on horse­back, Re­galia (est. $25/45,000); Z.S. Liang’s new piece The Blue Coats are Com­ing This Way (est. $40/60,000); the Thomas Mo­ran wa­ter­color A Rock Strewn Coast (est. $20/30,000); James Reynolds’ trio of Na­tive Amer­i­can rid­ers, The Henry (est. $50/75,000); Michael Cole­man’s Mo­ranin­spired land­scape Cas­tle Butte, Green River – Wy­oming Ter­ri­tory (est. $30/50,000); and Clark Hul­ings’ Mex­i­can vil­lage scene Puerto Val­larta (est. $125/175,000).

The auc­tion pre­view will take place at Trail­side Gal­leries in Jack­son Hole, be­fore be­ing moved to the Cen­ter for the Arts be­fore the two ses­sions on Septem­ber 13 and 14.

Carl Rungius (1869-1959), Alaskan Wilder­ness, oil on can­vas, 40¼ x 50¼” Es­ti­mate: $400/600,000

gouache on pa­per, 20⅛ x 29¼” Mark Mag­giori, Cow­boys at Work, oil on linen, 36 x 36” Es­ti­mate: $30/50,000

Thomas Hart Ben­ton (1889-1975), Cow­boys at Cor­ral, 1931, graphite, wa­ter­color and Es­ti­mate: $400/600,000

Lo­gan Maxwell Hagege, The Ris­ing Clouds, oil on linen, 60 x 60” Es­ti­mate: $80/120,000

Carl Rungius (1869-1959), A Moun­tain King, 1907, oil on can­vas, 24½ x 32¼” Es­ti­mate: $150/250,000

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