Even while the state of California is in an economic tailspin, prices for art by California impressionists (dead ones) are soaring to new heights.
A masterwork titled "Roses" by early 20th-century impressionist Franz Bischoff inspired heated bidding in Los Angeles on August 3. The 1912 oil on canvas was the top lot in Bonhams & Butterfields' sale of California and American Paintings and Sculpture which featured many fresh-to-the-market works, with several paintings reaching six-figures.
"Roses" (est. $600,000-$800,000) garnered $798,000, the highest price ever paid for a Bischoff work at auction. (Price realized includes buyer's premium.)
The vivid composition centered on pale pink-hued blossoms against an ornate wallpaper background. The roses are shown amassed on a basket and artfully arranged in a decorated green vase. The vase depicted in the composition accompanied the lot.
Austrian-born Bischoff is best known for his paintings and decorated-ceramics depicting roses. He often used flowers from his own garden as subject matter. He was also a noted California plein air landscape artist.
"'Roses, 1912,' is considered by many to be [Bischoff's] masterwork. It was this painting that earned him the moniker 'King of the Rose Painters'," said Scot Levitt, Vice President and Fine Arts Department Director at Bonhams and Butterfields.
The next Bonhams & Butterfields' sale of California & American Paintings is scheduled for December 8 in San Francisco.