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W.R. Leigh Painting Sets Record with $1.195 Million at Heritage Auctions

Home Sweet Home by W. R. Leigh, 1932

Home Sweet Home by W. R. Leigh, 1932

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.

Home Sweet Home by W. R. Leigh, 1932

Home Sweet Home by W. R. Leigh, 1932

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