The May 1, 2012 auction of California and Western Paintings and Sculpture at Bonhams offered a wide array of important Western scenes, Plein Air, Society of Six and land and cityscapes. Simulcast to San Francisco, the highly-anticipated auction featured "Southern Plains Indian Warrior" by Henry F. Farny, which was discovered at an estate sale. The work sold for more than three times the pre-sale estimate at Bonhams last night for $362,500 (est. $100,000-150,000).
Scot Levitt, Vice President and Head of Fine Arts Department at Bonhams, said of the discovery, "The consignor walked into our monthly 'Appraisal Day' in early 2012 at our Los Angeles office with what they thought was a print of a great painting. I had the pleasure of sharing the news with them that their newly discovered item was not a print at all but a painting worth six-figures. They were shocked to find out that their item turned out to be a great work of art."
In addition to the new discovery, artists such as Franz Arthur Bischoff, Alson Skinner Clark, John Frost, John Marshall Gamble, Frank Tenney Johnson, Hanson Puthuff, Granville Redmond, William Frederick Ritschel and William Wendt were prominently featured within the May auction. Highlights included three paintings by noted Plein Air artist Granville Redmond titled "Coastal Storm" (est. $100,000-200,000, sold for $134,500), "California Poppy Field," (est. $40,000-60,000, sold for $98,500) and "California Wildflowers on Rolling Hills" (est. $25,000-35,000, sold for $56,250). Bonhams currently holds the world auction record for a painting by Redmond, which was set in April 2009 for $542,000.
According to Levitt, "Drawing on the contours and colors of the rich California landscape, Redmond illuminates ideal places with pointillist brushwork and rich shadows. The three works represent powerful examples of his quintessential style."
Further Impressionist works of note included two paintings by William Wendt titled "Laguna Canyon" (est. $50,000-70,000, sold for $68,500) and "A vista of California (La Cañada)" (est. $60,000-80,000, sold for $60,000).
Also featured in the May sale was a strong selection of Western paintings. Works of note included an Alaskan scene titled "Mount McKinley" by Eustace Paul Ziegler (est. $50,000-70,000, sold for $84,100) and "Valley of the Rio Grande" by Russell Cowles (est. $3,000-5,000, sold for $52,500. Both of the works sold above estimate and established new world auction records for the artists.
Additional highlights from the spring auction included William Frederick Ritschel's "Storm Lashed Coast" (est. $80,000-120,000, sold for $116,500), "The Passing of the Pony Express, Arrival of the First Passenger Train in Truckee, May 11, 1869" by Alson Skinner Clark (est. $70,000-100,000, sold for $92,500), "Blooming Desert with Billowing Clouds" by John Frost (est. $60,000-800,000, sold for $62,500) and "Mending Nets, San Pedro" by Franz Arthur Bischoff (est. $30,000-50,000, sold for $60,000), among others.
Sales of California and Western Paintings and Sculpture will continue on August 7, 2012.
The illustrated auction catalog will be available online for review and purchase in the weeks preceding the sale at www.bonhams.com.