Christie's to Offer American Western Art from the William I. Koch Collection

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • April 14, 2015

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Frederic Remington, Pretty Mother of the Night—White Otter is No Longer a Boy.

Christie’s announced the sale Visions of the West: American Paintings from the William I. Koch Collection, which represents the breadth of Western Art with works spanning the 19th Century to the present day. The dedicated sale will take place on May 21, at noon, following Christie’s Spring sale of American Art, and will feature more than 65 paintings from Mr. Koch’s superb collection.

Highlights include the most important historic artists of the genre including Thomas Moran, Frederic Remington, Henry F. Farny, William Robinson Leigh, and Philip R. Goodwin, among others. The sale also features notable examples by many of the most important contemporary Western artists, including Howard Terpning, Martin Grelle, Tom Lovell and G. Harvey, among others.  Representing a wide variety of Western subjects, the sale represents an excellent opportunity for new and established collectors alike.

 William I. Koch discusses his passion for the West, stating: "I am pleased to partner with Christie’s in the sale of works from my personal collection. Over the years my passion for collecting has grown exponentially. Many works were purchased and intended for installation in my western town, but I am now just simply out of room! The treasures in the sale are among my favorites, but it is time to pass along these pieces of history to other collectors who share my passion for the west – a place of natural grandeur, simplicity, and codes that have  strongly influenced my life."


Thomas Moran (1837-1926) Cliffs of Green River, Wyoming Territory watercolor on paper Estimate: $1,200,000 – 1,800,000 
Cliffs of Green River, Wyoming Territory possesses all the qualities of Moran’s best works on paper and demonstrates the artist’s mastery of light, color and composition, as well as his ability to capture the spirit and essence of the Western landscape. Cliffs of Green River, Wyoming Territory is a powerfully composed, rare large-scale watercolor, in which Moran conveys the rugged beauty of the cliffs with a view of the commanding Castle Butte. Thomas Moran’s watercolors of the American West rank among the most significant accomplishments in the history of American art. 

Frederic Remington (1861-1909) Pretty Mother of the Night—White Otter is No Longer a Boy oil on canvas Painted circa 1900 Estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000 
Pretty Mother of the Night—White Otter is No Longer a Boy is a classic composition in Remington’s oeuvre. The present work demonstrates Remington’s talent in rendering nocturnal effects and also his ability to capture the pathos of the Native American. Remington created illustrations for stories in magazines such as Harper’s Weekly, and he also wrote novels of his own inspired by his travels in the West. Pretty Mother of the Night—White Otter is No Longer a Boy was the signature image for Remington’s second novel The Way of an Indian, which was first published as a serialized article in The Cosmopolitan in 1905, and subsequently as a book in 1906. The present work was used both as the cover for the magazine and the cover and frontispiece of the book. 

William Robinson Leigh (1866-1955) Roping the Wolf oil on canvas Painted in 1913 Estimate: $600,000-800,000 
Roping the Wolf is exemplary of Leigh’s technical mastery, and his ability to capture the spirit of the West through his emphasis on detail and theatrical depictions of the people and settings that he experienced on his visits. 

Henry F. Farny (1847 – 1916) Summoned by the War Chief gouache on paper Executed in 1900 Estimate: $800,000 – 1,200,000 
Summoned by the War Chief is a study of a proud warrior and his family standing before a tepee on the plains. French by birth, Henry Farny emigrated and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he spent the remainder of his life. Farny made his first trip to the West in 1881, and became an active participant in the life of the Indians who lived near Fort Buford. He returned to the West in 1883 and 1884 in order to witness the final laying of the Northern Pacific Transcontinental Railroad and to illustrate an article for Century Magazine. During these trips and possibly a few more into the early 1890’s, Farny gathered artifacts and clothing from the Native Americans he came to know. He would later incorporate these objects in the compositions he created in his Cincinnati studio. Aided by additional on-site sketches and photographs, Farny’s depictions of Native Americans are among the most accurate and sympathetic by any 19th century American painter.

Tags: American art

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