Heritage Auctions’ American art sale
Heritage Auctions’ November 1 sale of American art saw solid results for its Western art offerings.
Western paintings and sculpture were among the major highlights of Heritage Auctions’ November 1 sale of American art in Dallas. Leading the segment, and the sale as a whole, was a rare 1½-scale version of one of Frederic Remington’s most iconic sculptures—bronco Buster. The piece, created shortly before the artist died in 1909, was cast after his death in 1910 and only 19 editions from the larger-scale plaster model were made. Hailing from the collection of illustrator Mort Künstler, Bronco Buster sold squarely within its presale estimate of $500,000 to $700,000 at $615,000.
Two Western paintings also landed in the top 10 lots of the sale: G. Harvey’s When the Cowboys Come to Town – Houston, 1900 (est. $120/180,000) at $162,500 and Howard Terpning’s Jicarilla Apache Riders at $125,000. The Harvey, as Heritage’s Western art director Alissa Ford explains, was “a Houston scene and it came out from a collection in Houston. It was a monumental work and it was similar to the large-scale pieces we’ve sold in the past.”
One of the other highlights in the sale was a Harvey Caylor painting On the Ranch from 1989, which sold for $37,500. “This was just a rare piece that garnered the attention of not just American buyers, but local Texas buyers,” Ford explains. “We held the sale in conjunction with our Texas art auction, which really brought over some cross-market traffic.”
Modernist Western paintings were among those with the most interest, including Eric Sloane’s October Moon Over Grand Canyon, which sold above its presale estimate at $18,750. The painting featured “strong geometric details and that strong color,” says Ford. “I think that’s what people are drawn to right now.” Several pieces by Ed Mell also soared above their estimates. Among them were Opening Skies (est. $25/35,000) at $42,500 and his painting Glowing Thunderhead (est. $15/25,000) at $40,000.
“The demand for works by Ed Mell right now is extremely strong,” says Ford, who adds, “I think
the reason why [he’s] garnering so much interest not just from the Western market, but from the American art market is because his style crosses the boundaries of what Western art really is. He has this fabulous modernist style that is easy for anyone to love and bid on.”
Ford adds, “We see a lot of Western buyers turning their interest to modern painting as well, and adding that into their collection. It’s where they have this beautiful, cohesive crossover.”
Tucker Smith, Glacier Goats, 1991, oil on canvas, 30 x 36” Estimate: $30/50,000 SOLD: $55,000
G. Harvey (1933-2017), When the Cowboys Come to Town – Houston, 1900, 1983, oil on canvas, 40 x 60” Estimate: $120/180,000
Ed Mell, Opening Skies, oil on canvas, 60 x 72” Estimate: $25/35,000 SOLD: $42,500
Howard Terpning, Jicarilla Apache Riders, 1975, oil on canvas, 30 x 24” Estimate: $200/300,000 SOLD: $162,500
Frederic Remington (1861-1909), Bronco Buster, conceived 1908, cast 1910, bronze with greenishbrown patina, 32⅞” Estimate: $500/700,000 SOLD: $615,000