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Art & Antiques - September 2017


The Action in Jackson

ONE OF THE most important events in Western, wildlife, sporting, figurative, and landscape art, the Jackson Hole Art Auction, holds its 11th annual sale on September 15–16 at the Center of the Arts in downtown Jackson Hole. Taking place once a year in the historic Wyoming resort town, the auction is co-organized by Trailside Galleries and the Gerald Peters Gallery. With showrooms in Jackson Hole, Scottsdale, Ariz., Santa Fe, and New York, the two partners have a combined 100 years of experience in these art fields.

In the heart of the West, surrounded by the Grand Teton mountains, collectors will have the opportunity to bid on paintings, drawings, and sculptures, from 19th-century to contemporary. Among the classic works, one of the top offerings is Navajo Scouting Party, by Edgar Alwin Payne (1883–1947). Estimated at $400,000–$600,000, the oil on canvas depicts three mounted Indians at the edge of a butte, surveying the valley below. The colors of their shirts pick up the colors of the sagebrush and red earth, unifying the human element of the painting with the landscape element. Payne, who spent much of his life in California, painted in the U.S. and Europe but is best known for works, such as this one, depicting the Four Corners area of the Southwest. Another Payne, Navajos at Rest, will also be offered in the sale (est. $100,000–150,000).

From Taos School master E.I. Couse, The Leafy Screen (est.$40,000–60,000) shows a Native American in traditional dress, with a brilliant red sash, peering out from a hiding place. A less contemplative representation of Native Americans is Herald of Trouble (circa 1911) by William Gollings (est. $150,000–250,000), in which a Plains Indian warrior with a long feathered headdress trailing behind him waves his horsewhip in the air and seems about to gallop right off the canvas toward the viewer. Two architectural-themed paintings by Taos School painter E. Martin Hennings are on offer—Taos Pueblo, from around 1917 (est. $30,000–50,000) and San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, Taos (est. $20,000–30,000). Arnold Friberg’s Uncertain Odds, a blood-red depiction of a race between a stagecoach and a train, carries an estimate of $60,000–90,000. Six important oils by illustrator W.H.D. Koerner will be on the block; among them, New Horizons (est. $75,000–125,000) is a 1932 depiction of a covered wagon voyage.

Among the contemporary artists in the sale, wildlife master Bob Kuhn, who died in 2007 at 87, is well represented. His After the Short Rains, a panoramic portrayal in acrylic on board of lions on the veldt,
is estimated at $200,000–300,000. Ken Carlson’s Above It All (2017) shows a pair of white mountain goats surveying their own scene from the vantage point of a rocky outcropping (est. $35,000–45,000), and Bonnie Marris’ Born to Be Wild (2017) gives us a mother grizzly bear educating her cubs.

Not everything on offer in the Jackson Hole Art Auction is Western-themed, or even American. Two of the important lots take us to France: An oil on canvas by Parisian avant-garde painter Marie Laurencin, Portrait of a Woman with Multi-Skirt Half Nude, is expected to bring $70,000–$100,000. And the late American realist painter Clark Hulings’ Aix Fountain, a highly detailed French townscape, is estimated at $150,000–250,000.