Auction Preview | March in Montana

Great Falls, MT
Elks Lodge No. 214, March 16-18

Andy Thomas, The Battle of Beecher Island, oil, 30 x 40. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000.

Andy Thomas, The Battle of Beecher Island, oil, 30 x 40. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000.

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

This year, for its 30th anniversary, the annual March in Montana auction moves to Elks Lodge No. 214 in Great Falls, MT—the very lodge that C.M. Russell was inducted into in 1908. After the demolition of the Townhouse Inn, where the auction has been held in the past, partners Bob and Charla Nelson (owners of Manitou Galleries and Auction in Santa Fe) and Coeur d’Alene Art Auction chose the lodge in part because of its connection with the Russell legacy. “We feel like we’re reinventing the wheel,” Bob says, “but sometimes change can also bring opportunity.”

Some 730 western artworks and artifacts are up for bid at noon on Friday and Saturday, March 17 and 18. Among the hundreds of fine-art offerings—the lion’s share of the lots overall—are over 150 bronze sculptures, 25 of them by Robert Scriver; two major works by Native American artist Kevin Red Star; seven works by CAA artist Nick Eggenhofer; and multiple works by Frank McCarthy, Wilson Hurley, and Martin Grelle.

This year Andy Thomas brings a 30-by-40-inch oil painting entitled THE BATTLE OF BEECHER ISLAND, depicting the 1868 battle in which some 50 U.S. Army soldiers held ground for several days on a tiny island in the Arikaree River in eastern Colorado against a combined force of 300 to 400 Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho warriors. The painting is estimated to sell for between $30,000 and $50,000.

Among the cowboy collectibles, Charla mentions a pair of August Buermann spurs—given to a Great Falls resident by C.M. Russell (with provenance) and estimated to sell for between $3,000 and $5,000—as well as nine silver saddle rigs, including several made by Edward Bohlin. Indian artifacts include a late-19th-century Shoshone painted robe encased in a museum-quality frame (estimate: $6,000 to $9,000), a vintage Blackfoot war shirt, a Crow beaded martingale (a type of horse tack), and more than 80 weavings, including several room-size rugs.

With its move to the new location, a smaller dealer show accompanies the auction this year. Buyers can shop this “boutique” version from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Collectors can preview the auction from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and from 9 to noon on Friday and Saturday. —Laura Rintala

contact information
307.635.0019
www.marchinmontana.com

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

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