Summer brings a slew of top art events
By Kristin Hoerth
Every industry has its busy season, and if you ask me, we’ve just entered the thick of things in the western art world. There are important events throughout the year, of course, but it seems to me that more major shows and auctions are concentrated from June through September than at any other time. Each is different from the next, but each is a highlight of the year.
The high season starts with the Prix de West Invitational in Oklahoma City, which is among the top exhibitions and sales of work by living western artists. The opening weekend is a who’s who of well-known artists, dealers, and collectors; the opening-night sales total is a closely watched number that helps set the tone for the summer season across the market.
In July the action moves to Reno for the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction, which has been called the Super Bowl of western art—especially when it comes to works by deceased masters. In both 2007 and 2008, annual sales topped $35 million, a number that seemed incredibly high at the time and seems even more remarkable now that the market is so much lower overall. Still, last year’s auction posted an encouraging $17 million total. Among the highlights at Coeur d’Alene this year: two particularly vibrant oils by Maynard Dixon, two quintessential night scenes by Frank Tenney Johnson, and several truly lovely Albert Bierstadt landscapes, all with estimates hovering around the half-million-dollar mark. Of course, Howard Terpning’s work—last year’s standout—is included as well, with both older and newer paintings.
In August the focus shifts to Santa Fe for a different kind of must-do event: Indian Market takes over the plaza with some of the best Native American pottery, jewelry, and other works to be found anywhere, while the Santa Fe galleries shift into high gear, with some hosting as many as three separate shows during the month. If you can only be in New Mexico once a year (which would be a shame), this is the month to be there.
Finally, in September, the place to be is unquestionably Wyoming—first in Jackson Hole for the Jackson Hole Art Auction, the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Western Visions show, and the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. Then it’s on to Cody the very next weekend for the Buffalo Bill Art Show.
Whether you attend one or all of these events, you’re sure to find outstanding artwork for your collection as well as friends both old and new to share your passion.
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