Hindman’s Arts of the American West: Works from the A.R. Mitchell Museum
When Hindman presents the Arts of the American West sale on November 7, tucked within the 400 lots of artwork will be pieces from the A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art in Trinidad, Colorado. A number of works are by the man himself, A.R. Mitchell, a former cowboy who went into art and illustration and eventually became the so-called “King of Western Pulp Covers.”
Mitchell died in 1977, and much of his studio and work went to his sister, who entrusted it to the A.R. Mitchell Museum in the immediate years following his death. The museum, which is one of the hidden gems of the Western art world, is home to thousands of works by Mitchell, as well as works by his contemporaries, artists such as Harvey Dunn,
Harold von Schmidt and other Golden Age illustrators. Hindman will be offering a selection of these works, the proceeds from which will benefit the Colorado museum.
“By partnering with Hindman, we anticipate introducing Arthur Roy Mitchell’s body of work—as well as his life as an illustrator, fine artist, historian, working cowboy and ardent lover of his native Southwest— to a broader audience of art appreciators who may be unaware of this prolific and passionate artist,” says Allyson Sheumaker, executive director at the A.R. Mitchell Museum. Funds received through the sale will support the museum in better serving its mission and local community by maintaining the extensive collection of Mitchell original
paintings, sketches, Native American and Hispanic artifacts and personal effects; making facility upgrades to the 113-year-old former department store building that houses the museum; and publishing a book of Mitchell’s art.
“I was impressed by the artist’s work immediately upon entering the A.R. Mitchell Museum for the first time. The Pulp Western…works are bold and active, but I was even more impressed by his peaceful, stirring landscapes and the dignity with which he depicted the American Indian,” says Maron Hindman, the auction house’s vice president of West and Southwest. “In 1976 Mitchell was unanimously chosen to receive the Trustee’s Award from the Cowboy Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions to Western History. From what I have learned about A.R. Mitchell, he was a colorful and often caustic character. He should be remembered as an artist, teacher, historian and philosopher. The book Mitchellisms: Anecdotes and Utterances of a Man of Character, by Richard Louden, is a mustread for Mitchell fans. One of my favorite Mitchellisms: ‘Egoism is the anesthetic given by a kindly nature to relieve the pain of being a damn fool.’ His wit and character should indeed add a certain luster to his art and encourage more visitors to the A.R. Mitchell Museum in Trinidad, Colorado.”
Works in the sale from the museum include Mitchell’s Morning Friskies (est. $2/4,000), Driving Off Rusters (est. $2/4,000) and Tit for Tat (est. $3/4,000), which Hindman says “captures the essence of a round-up that only a true cattleman can understand and effectively delivers it to the rest of us non-riders.”
Other works include Dunn’s Cattle Herd and Cowboy (est. $8/12,000) and Bet a Stack of Blues (est. $8/12,000), as well as von Schmidt’s magnificent wagon train scene River Crossing, estimated at $12,000 to $18,000.
A.R. Mitchell (1889-1977), Tit for Tat, oil on canvas, 23 x 29”. Property Being Sold to Benefit The A.R. Mitchell Museum. Estimate: $3/4,000
Harold von Schmidt (1893-1982), River Crossing, oil on canvas, 36 x 50”. Property Being Sold to Benefit The A.R. Mitchell Museum. Estimate: $12/18,000
A.R. Mitchell (1889-1977), Morning Friskies, oil on canvas, 26 x 25”. Property Being Sold to Benefit The A.R. Mitchell Museum. Estimate: $2/4,000