Auction Preview | Texas Art Signature Auction

Dallas, TX
Heritage Auctions, May 10-13

Porfirio Salinas, Bluebonnets and Distant Hills, oil, 12 x 16. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000.

Porfirio Salinas, Bluebonnets and Distant Hills, oil, 12 x 16. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000.

This story was featured in the May 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  May 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Art collectors will find three main categories of Texas art to explore this month at Heritage Auctions in Dallas: early landscapes, midcentury regionalism and modernism, and contemporary art. With previews available May 10-13, collectors have ample time to peruse the nearly 150 lots by 50 artists. The bidding begins on Saturday, May 13, at 1 p.m.

Heritage’s director of Texas art, Atlee Phillips, says that it’s not all necessarily western art on the block. “There’s a lot of impressionism, modernism, originalist, midcentury modernism, and contemporary work as well,” she says. The key for her is to combine traditional western themes with more contemporary works, creating a larger sale that appeals to everyone.

Phillips says about half of the lots are traditional Southwest landscapes, running the gamut from the earliest artists, like Julian Onderdonk [1882-1922], to turn-of-the-century artists, like Robert William Wood [1889-1979], to today’s living masters. In fact, one of the most anticipated pieces in the sale is BLUEBONNETS AND DISTANT HILLS by Porfirio Salinas [1910-1973], who is known as one of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s favorite artists. Salinas was extremely prolific when it came to painting the Texas landscape, so although his paintings aren’t rare, they’re of high value among collectors, with this particular landscape estimated at $10,000 to $15,000.

A notable painting in the contemporary category—which is quickly growing in popularity among young and new collectors—is by American artist Donna Howell-Sickles. Howell-Sickles began painting cowgirls in 1972, using classical mythology references and feminine symbols like triangles, six-petal flowers, bears, and apples to provide deeper meaning. One example is her oil and charcoal work APPLES OF DISCORD, which is expected to draw $3,000 to $5,000.

But what Phillips is most excited to see on the block are works by Perry Boyd Nichols [1911-1992], a Dallas native and accomplished painter, printmaker, and mural artist, and DeForrest Hale Judd [1916-1993], a nature artist and longtime professor at Southern Methodist University. Both were members of the Dallas Nine, a group of midcentury regionalists and modernists active in the 1930s and ’40s whose work is highly prized and often kept in collections over the years, meaning that it’s rarely on the auction blocks. Nichols’ work, OWL, and Judd’s work, MAGUEY, are expected to sell for $2,000-$3,000 and $8,000-$12,000, respectively.

This broad range of prices and diverse mix of artists draws enthusiastic collectors from across the state to participate in the auction. “The Texas art market is very resilient because the collectors are so passionate,” Phillips says. Although attending in person isn’t even necessary with online and phone bidding available, Phillips says this auction brings plenty of collectors to the auction house because of the featured artists who have strong followings. “This show is really a testament to Texas as both a southwestern state and a state with a history and movement in art that tells a larger story of America,” she says. —Katie Askew

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This story was featured in the May 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  May 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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