Auction Preview | California & Western Auction

Los Angeles, CA
Bonhams, November 23


R. Brownell McGrew, Found’em, oil, 38 x 48.

This story was featured in the November 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story

The venerable auction house of Bonhams began its life as a single showroom in 18th-century London and has grown to become one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today the respected British-owned company has major offices not only in London but also in Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. This month Bonhams in Los Angeles presents its fall California & Western Auction, which features about 150 lots, including paintings, sculpture, and artifacts. The majority of the works were created between 1860 and 1940.

The auction takes place on Monday, November 23, at 6 p.m. and is simulcast in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Previews take place in Los Angeles November 20-22 and in San Francisco November 13-15. “The sale has a number of fresh-to-market and rare examples by very well-known artists in this category,” says Erin Cabral, a specialist in California and western art at Bonhams.

One of the most highly anticipated offerings is a piece by John Frost [1890-1937]. THE BEACH, SANTA MONICA is a 1921 painting that is expected to sell for between $100,000 and $150,000. Frost was well known for his luminous, colorful paintings of the Sierra Mountains as well as for his scenes capturing desert terrain in locales such as Palm Springs, CA. Hence, the artist’s depiction of a Southern California beach is considered a departure from his usual fare. In his day, Frost was considered a top-tier landscape painter. An early member of the California Art Club, he also spent time in Giverny, France, and was strongly influenced by the French Impressionist Claude Monet.

Another highlight of the auction is the painting BUCK PETERS, RANCHMAN by Maynard Dixon [1875-1946], with an estimated value of $200,000 to $300,000. Cabral describes the painting as “a dynamic scene by a master of the genre.” Dixon was a native Californian, but the Golden State was not his primary source of inspiration. He often chose to head for New Mexico and Arizona, where desert scenes, Native Americans, and cowboys captured
his imagination. —Bonnie Gangelhoff

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