Great Falls, MT
This story was featured in the March 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Of course there will be Charlie Russell artworks at the 27th annual March in Montana Fine Art & Collectibles Auction—almost 20 bronzes among them—in celebration of Russell’s birth 150 years ago. Yet with 650 lots on the block during two days of live auction, the event offers something for collectors of every taste and at every price level, notes Bob Nelson, co-owner (with his wife Charla Nelson) of Manitou Galleries of Cheyenne, WY, and Santa Fe, NM.
Manitou Galleries and the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction team up to present March in Montana, which this year takes place March 21-22 at the Townhouse Inn in Great Falls. Some 300 collectors are expected to attend, plus many more participating online and by phone. The focus of lively bidding is a wide range of high-quality historic and contemporary western, sporting, and wildlife art, as well as antique American Indian and cowboy items. The auction preview is set for Wednesday, March 19, through Friday, March 21, with live-auction action beginning at 1 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.
March in Montana also features a simultaneous dealer show, with as many as 40 top-notch dealers of western art and artifacts set up in rooms surrounding the live auction. Both the dealer show and auction draw collectors and dealers from around the world, Nelson points out. “We’re a little different from all the other auctions in that we’re selling a lot of collectibles. It’s hard to find decent collectibles on auction.” He adds that March in Montana is extremely discerning, specializing in fine Navajo weavings—generally not readily available at auction outside the Southwest—and antique American Indian beadwork. March in Montana’s sister auction, the Auction in Santa Fe, takes place in August.
This year’s March in Montana event presents almost 70 Navajo textiles created between the early 1900s and about 1950. A fully beaded Sioux woman’s dress, circa 1910, is also on the block, along with beaded leggings, moccasins, and pipe bags. A strong selection of Pueblo pottery is featured this year as well. On the cowboy side of things, collectibles include antique firearms, saddles, and spurs dating from approximately 1880 to 1920.
Along with historic western art by Russell, Joseph Henry Sharp, and others, March in Montana is pleased to offer works by such Cowboy Artists of America members as Robert Lougheed, George Phippen, and John Ford Clymer, Nelson says. Other highlights include a Plains Indian encampment scene by Ace Powell, a Conrad Schwiering mountain cabin scene, a landscape by Austrian-born western artist John Fery, and an Allan Houser bronze. Living artists in this year’s auction are represented by “storyteller” painter Andy Thomas as well as Martin Grelle and Mian Situ.
March in Montana’s organizers bring more than 150 years of collective knowledge on western fine art and collectibles to the event, frequently resulting in record-breaking sales. As Nelson puts it: “It’s an almost overwhelming number of great items in all price ranges, for all kinds of people to collect.”
Featured in the March 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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