W.R. Leigh’s Home, Sweet Home soared to nearly double its pre-auction estimate selling for $1.195 million and setting a new world record price for the artist in Heritage Auctions’ $2.27 million Art of the American West Signature® Auction, Saturday, Nov. 5. The painting came to auction from The Property of Philip Jonsson, son of former Dallas Mayor and Texas Instruments Co-Founder Eric Jonsson.
Overall, the auction saw 262 bidders vying for just 74 total lots, translating into a 95% sell-through by value. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.
“We knew this was an exceptional and historically important painting from the start,” said Kirsty Buchanan, Consignment Director for Western Art at Heritage. “Collectors obviously thought so, too, pushing it to a new record price for one of Leigh’s works. It led what proved to be a strong auction; we’re all thrilled with the response.”
“It’s just a masterfully depicted tableau,” said Ed Beardsley, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “It’s saturated with the colors and tones of the western landscape and it tells a compelling story of camaraderie on the plains.”
Another W.R. Leigh masterwork, Renegade at Bat, 1941 – also from The Property of Philip Jonsson – was the subject of much collector buzz and bidding in the auction before finishing the day at $388,375, further burnishing the great artist’s reputation. Renegade at Bay is a superbly executed scene of a horse whose calm demeanor is an effective contrast to the tension displayed by the cowboy who is awaiting imminent danger just around the bend.
Tom Lovell is always a perennial favorite in both Heritage Western Art and Illustration Art auctions, and his The Raven Followers, 1975, true to form, proved to be a favorite with collectors in this auction, as the painting of two American Indian warriors scouting buffalo from a sweeping vista realized $131,450. Maynard Dixon proved to be another artist who collector’s continue to hotly seek, as his oil Calico Hills (Virgin Valley, Nevada; No.350), 1927, more than tripled its $30,000+ pre-auction estimate to soar to $95,600.
The work of Birgér Sandzen continues to sell well at auction, as a pair of his oil paintings enticed collectors. His Early Fall, Smoky Hill River (Kansas), 1940 realized $71,700, while his Cottonwood Trees and Pond, 1922 performed admirably by bringing $47,800 exceeding the high estimate.