Auction Preview | Leanin’ Tree Art Auction

Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale Art Auction, January 19-20

Arnold Friberg, Crossing the Tribal Border, oil, 25 x 50. Estimate: $60,000-$90,000.

Arnold Friberg, Crossing the Tribal Border, oil, 25 x 50. Estimate: $60,000-$90,000.

This story was featured in the January 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

For 40 years the Leanin’ Tree Museum of Western Art welcomed art lovers from around the world to its home in Boulder, CO. The hidden gem held the personal collection of Ed Trumble, founder of the popular greeting-card company Leanin’ Tree. In 1949, when Trumble started the card business, he couldn’t have predicted that it would lead to a serious passion for collecting original western art, let alone the museum that he eventually created to display that treasure trove of artwork. In fact, Trumble’s collection eventually grew to more than 500 pieces. For the past two years, the collector, now in his 90s, has been in conversation with Brad Richardson, partner in the Scottsdale Art Auction, as he considered shuttering the museum.

This month 542 pieces from Trumble’s extraordinary collection are on the block at the Scottsdale Art Auction. The two-day auction event begins on Friday, January 19, at 10 a.m. with the first 265 lots up for bid, all sold without reserve prices. On Saturday, January 20, the auction continues at 1 p.m. Richardson points out that the auction of these museum-quality works is special. “Twenty-four out of 28 sculptures in the collection are on view in Scottsdale,” he says. “And there are signature works by such artists as George Carlson and Allan Houser.”

The collection is also deep, Richardson says, with multiple works by members of the Cowboy Artists of America, such as Joe Beeler. In addition, there are numerous paintings and sculptures up for bid by other legendary artists. For example, there are 17 works by Olaf Wieghorst and 14 sculptures by Harry Jackson. The styles and genres range from traditional western paintings by Kenneth Riley to Fritz Scholder’s more abstracted, contemporary Native American works. A major portion of the holdings were purchased in the 1970s from galleries, shows, or artists, so they have only been part of Trumble’s collection.

One of the top lots is Gerard Curtis Delano’s painting DINEAH, which is estimated to sell for between $150,000 and $250,000. The piece is showcased on the catalog cover. Bob Kuhn’s FORTY WINKS, depicting a bear dozing on a downed tree, is another highlight, and it’s expected to sell for between $40,000 and $60,000. Buck McCain’s monumental bronze sculpture INVOCATION is estimated to bring in between $100,000 and $175,000 as well as create a lot of buzz. Bidding takes place in person, online, absentee, and by phone.

In a heartfelt letter to potential buyers posted to the Scottsdale Art Auction website, Trumble writes that western art has been his life’s passion. “The Leanin’ Tree Museum has brought immense joy, appreciation, and awe to those who have experienced it in person,” he says. “The gratitude I feel for those who have loved the art I have loved cannot be fully expressed. And because the museum has been my lifelong project, I care deeply about seeing the collection come full circle as it finds new loving homes with the next generation of families, collectors, and museums.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff

contact information
480.945.0225
www.scottsdaleartauction.com

This story was featured in the January 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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