Albert Bierstadt’s stunning 1872 masterpiece Mount Brewer from King’s River Canyon, California is expected to bring $700,000+ as the centerpiece of Heritage Auctions Nov. 10 Western & California Art Signature® Auction, an event that is expected to bring in more than $10 million at the company’s Fine Arts Design District Annex, 1518 Slocum Street.
“This sale represents a remarkable moment for collectors of Western art, for Heritage Auctions and for the art market in general,” said Ed Beardsley, Vice President of Fine & Decorative Arts at Heritage. “The quality of the art is without question and the market is primed for work of this level to become available.”
Bierstadt, a celebrated member of The Hudson River School of Painting, is equally renowned for his sweeping depictions of the American west and his epic landscape of Mount Brewer shows the unrivaled talent of this American master. He was the official artist for several western survey expeditions and helped document the raw natural beauty of the uncharted American west.
“His field sketches were painstakingly transported back to New York, where Bierstadt would translate these preparatory works into finished oil paintings,” said Kirsty Buchanan, Associate Director of Western Art at Heritage. “These finished paintings, such as Mount Brewer, gloriously romanticize America’s rugged wilderness, pristine natural formations and majestic variety of terrain.”
Howard Terpning’s Plunder From Sonora, 1982 (estimate: $500,000+), coming to auction from the Weider Health and Fitness Collection, is a prime example from one of America’s most successful and highly valued living Western artists and was recently featured in the artist’s one man retrospective organized by the Autry Museum.
Charles Marion Russell’s epic watercolor Kickover of Morning Coffee Pot, 1896 (estimate: $300,000+), is an historic scene of cowboy culture at the end of the nineteenth century. The monumental watercolor includes a self-portrait of the artist at the lower right corner, shown as a young cowboy with his back to the viewer. He cinches a saddle on his blindfolded horse while observing an early morning battle between a seasoned cowhand and a spirited bucking bronc, a common part of life on the Montana range at the turn of the century.
Frederick Sackrider Remington, the most famous sculptor of the American West, is represented in the auction by the bronze Bronco Buster #16, 1895 (estimate: $250,000+), cast by the Henry Bonnard Bronze Co. The Bronco Buster was Remington’s first sculpture, the first western “action” bronze of its kind and a revolutionary and ambitious composition that gracefully melds tension, balance and energy.
An abundance of work from The Taos Society of Artists is in evidence in the auction, led by E. I. Couse’s important Prayer to the Rain God, c.1926 (estimate: $200,000+), from The Hogan Family Collection. This historic painting depicts one of Couse’s favorite models, Jerry Mirabal, whom he painted in various capacities throughout his career. In the painting, Couse has depicted the large Tesuque rain god and a wall painting representing another rain deity.
Also from The Hogan Family Collection, Nicolai Fechin’s Portrait of a Lady, 1926 (estimate: $100,000+) is a vibrant portrait featuring energized brushwork that displays Fechin’s eye for detail that has made him one of the most popular artists of the 20th century. Henry Franҫois Farny’s The Ambush (estimate: $70,000+) is a notable example by this French-born artist amply demonstrating why he is one of the most beloved 19th century painters of the American west.
“Farny’s paintings sensitively document the American Indian,” said Buchanan, “and capture a way of life that was quickly disappearing in his own time. He’s regarded as one of the finest Indian portraitists of his generation, who focused on solitude rather than conflict.”
Further highlights include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Ernest Leonard Blumenschein, Taos Valley Reflections: Oil on canvas. from The Hogan Family Collection. Estimate: $150,000+.
- William Robinson Leigh, One Good Turn Deserves Another, 1944: Oil on canvas, from The Hogan Family Collection. Estimate: $150,000+.
- E. Martin Hennings, Indian Hunters: Oil on artist’s board. from The Hogan Family Collection. Estimate: $100,000+.
- William Herbert Dunton, Heart of the Rockies: Oil on canvas. Estimate: $100,000+.
- Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius, Caribou on the Tundra, 1938: Oil on canvas, from The Weider Health and Fitness Collection. Estimate: $100,000+.
- John Ford Clymer, The Raiding Party: Oil on masonite, from The Weider Health and Fitness Collection. Estimate: $100,000+.
- Edgar Alwin Payne, Navajo Country: Oil on canvas. Estimate: $80,000+.
- Thomas Hill, Fishing in the Yosemite Valley, 1891: Oil on canvas, from The Weider Health and Fitness Collection. Estimate: $70,000+.
- Williams Keith, Yosemite: Oil on canvas, from The Weider Health and Fitness Collection. Estimate: $40,000+.
Heritage Auctions is far and away the largest auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $800 million, and 750,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com