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Heritage Auctions $1.3 Million of Western and Texas Art

From Press Release

Popular illustrators of the American West carried the day in a $1.3 million Western & Texas Art auction at Heritage Auction Galleries on July 16. The auction also marked the second event to feature significant selections – 25 in all – from the Estate of Charles Martignette, which accounted for almost $500,000 of the auction total. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.

It was a spectacular and important Martignette lot, William Herbert Dunton’s 1906 masterpiece The Badger Hole (The Spill), which drew the day’s top bid at $143,400, while J.C. Leyendecker’s Two O’Clock easily assumed the second spot when spirited bidding moved it to $89,500. Leyendecker also posted the top Martignette price the previous day, July 15, when his 1917 Kuppenheimer ad diptych, A Proud WW I Sailor’s New Uniform, brought $155,350 at Heritage’s Signature Illustration Art Auction. Frank McCarthy’s By the Snow Moon (1978), took the third rung in the auction when it rang up $77,675.

“These offerings, across the board, show that the market demand for American vernacular painting is still strong,” said Michael Duty, Director, Art of the American West at Heritage. “The Martignette selections were an excellent complement to the quality selections consigned along with them.”

Leyendecker and Dunton may have shown their considerable popularity via single offerings, but it was Harvey T. Dunn who showed the greatest appeal across a wide variety of work as fully three of his canvases populated the Top 10 lots of the auction. The first among equals of this trio was Dunn’s stunning 1907 oil painting The Plowman, a rare painting that captures the essence of life on the prairie, which realized $65,725. His late period painting, A Game of Chance, 1947, followed close behind with a final price of $56,760, while his Prairie Homesteaders Coming Home, 1909, saw much interest before settling in at $33,460.

The Texas Art portion of the auction showed the continued strength of the Texas art collecting market when a pair of important names topped the billing with spectacular, sweeping canvases and equally impressive totals. Olin Travis’s Modernist Lakeside, 1955, showed its billing as the catalog cover lot was warranted with a final price of $47,800 – a record price for the artist – while strong demand and solid prices continued for the work of Julian Onderdonk. His Evening Near Jackson, Southwest Texas rose to a notable height of $59,750.

“Onderdonk has shown in previous auctions just how sought-after his work is,” said Atlee Phillips, Consignment Director of Texas Art at Heritage, “and now, with the tremendous interest shown in Lakeside, Travis has certainly moved into another sphere. The pieces, and the prices, show just how well positioned Heritage is to deliver them to the top collectors in the field.”

Further highlights of the auction include, but are not limited to:

G. Harvey Powell Street Cable Cars:
Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches, signed lower right: G. Harvey ©.

Realized: $47,800

Frank Earle Schoonover, Return of the Ancient Otter (1919):
Oil on canvas, 38 x 27 inches, signed and dated lower right: F.E. Schoonover / 9-18.From the Estate of Charles Martignette.

Realized: $32,265

For more information on the Art of The American West & Texas auction, to read detailed descriptions of these, and any other lots, and to download full-color, enlargeable images, go online to

To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalog, please contact Client Services at 1-800-872-6467, ext. 1150, or visit to order by email.

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