Christie’s Amer­i­can Art Sale

New York, NY

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

Christie’s fall Amer­i­can art sale will in­clude a stun­ning ar­ray, in sub­ject and size, of West­ern works, from Eanger Irv­ing Couse’s 46-inch-tall Flute Player at the Spring to Ge­orge de For­est Brush’s 4½-by-7½-inch In­dian in the Snow, which is roughly the size of a pa­per­back book. “We try hard to bring a great group­ing of West­ern works, and this year is no dif­fer­ent,” says Tylee Ab­bott, vice pres­i­dent and spe­cial­ist at Christie’s. “It’s a di­verse bunch.”

An im­por­tant high­light from the sale is Al­bert Bier­stadt’s After­glow, an 1889 oil es­ti­mated at $600,000 to $800,000. “It’s very char­ac­ter­is­tic of Bier­stadt’s style: dra­matic, big and bold. And while Bier­stadt was cer­tainly known for his lu­min­ist pic­tures, this one re­ally glows. It reads to me as sun­set, and the ti­tle, After­glow, al­ludes to that as well,” Ab­bott says. “The fig­ures are im­por­tant be­cause they give the scene scale. The grandeur of the West­ern land­scape is paramount, and the peo­ple in­crease the drama.”

An­other Bier­stadt in the sale—the Amer­i­can Rock­ies, es­ti­mated at $120,000 to $180,000— comes from the col­lec­tion of Diane Disney Miller, daugh­ter of Walt Disney. Disney Miller, who died in 2013, lived in Cal­i­for­nia and fre­quently col­lected works that glo­ri­fied the beauty of the state. Se­lect works from the col­lec­tion are be­ing of­fered with a por­tion of pro­ceeds ben­e­fit­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions she sup­ported through­out her life, in­clud­ing the Walt Disney Fam­ily Mu­seum, Jane Goodall In­sti­tute, Los Angeles Philharmon­ic and oth­ers. The bulk of the col­lec­tion was ac­quired in the 1980s so many of the works, in­clud­ing pieces by Thomas Hill and An­drew Wyeth, have been off the mar­ket for nearly 40 years.

Couse’s Flute Player at the Spring is an­other work that is gen­er­at­ing a lot of in­ter­est from bid­ders, Ab­bott says. “It’s im­pres­sive at 46 inches tall. It’s large for a Couse, which makes it very rare to the mar­ket. What’s so won­der­ful about it is the elab­o­rate de­tail in the paint­ing, in­clud­ing in the bead­work, the moc­casins, the hair­pieces and the belt,” he says of the work

cre­ated by one of the founders of the Taos So­ci­ety of Artists. “It also re­tains its orig­i­nal Couse-de­signed frame, which are ex­tremely sought-after. The piece has never been to auc­tion, and we’re quite ex­cited about it be­cause it’s a sig­nif­i­cant work.”

Two other works by Taos So­ci­ety of Artists mem­bers in­clude Wal­ter Ufer’s In­dian Mother, Isleta (est. $80/120,000), Os­car

E. Bern­ing­haus’ In the High As­pens (est. $60/80,000) and Joseph Henry Sharp’s Jerry of Taos (est. $80/120,000), which shows one of Sharp’s fa­vorite mod­els, Elk-foot, who also used the name Jerry Mira­bal.

An­other im­por­tant of­fer­ing is Henry Farny’s 1903 gouache on pa­per­board work The Re­turn to Camp, es­ti­mated at $100,000 to $150,000. “This is clas­sic Farny. Like

Bier­stadt, lu­mi­nos­ity is key, and you can see how Farny uses it in this beau­ti­ful end-of-day glow,” Ab­bott says. “It’s also im­por­tant to note that he paints a sym­pa­thetic view­point, as op­posed to the ‘no­ble sav­age’ that you see in some oth­ers works around this time.”

In ad­di­tion to a Fred­eric Rem­ing­ton bronze of The Rat­tlesnake (est. $100/150,000), Christie’s will also of­fer Brush’s In­dian in the Snow (est. $80/120,000). Works by Brush, es­pe­cially Na­tive Amer­i­can works, rarely come to auc­tion, which be­gins to ex­plain the es­ti­mate for a paint­ing the size of a post­card. “There are never enough op­por­tu­ni­ties for a Brush. It is ex­tremely rare,” Ab­bott says, adding that the mar­ket is in great shape for West­ern art. “Peo­ple are com­mit­ted to col­lect­ing great pic­tures, es­pe­cially the kinds of works that Christie’s is of­fer­ing—the best work that’s in great con­di­tion with good prove­nance and prop­erly es­ti­mated. We’re happy with what we’re of­fer­ing.”

Eanger Irv­ing Couse (1866-1936), Flute Player at the Spring, 1918, oil on can­vas, 46 x 35” Es­ti­mate: $250/350,000

Henry Farny (1847-1916), The Re­turn to Camp, 1903, gouache on pa­per­board, 12½ x 7¼” Es­ti­mate: $100/150,000

Ge­orge de For­est Brush (1855-1941), In­dian in the Snow, ca. 1915-20, oil on can­vas, 4½ x 7¼” Es­ti­mate: $80/120,000

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