Scottsdale Art Auction Exhibition Gallery, April 5-6
This story was featured in the April 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art April 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art April 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
In 2004, Jack Morris, owner of Morris & Whiteside Galleries in Hilton Head, SC, contacted Michael Frost of J.N. Bartfield Galleries in New York City and Brad Richardson of Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, and Jackson, WY, and asked them if they wanted to organize a sale in Scottsdale. The three art dealers, who have over 100 years of western art experience between them, came together, and in 2005 they hosted their first auction. Now, eight years later, it has blossomed into one of the most important annual auction venues for serious collectors of representational art of the West.
“The Scottsdale Art Auction holds the auction record for 137 different artists,” says Morris. “Last year, we broke the record for a Terpning painting early in the sale,” then that record was broken two more times on other Terpning works during the day’s bidding. This year’s auction promises to hold more record-breaking sales, with John Clymer’s 30-by-60-inch oil painting WHISKY, WHISKY on the block. “The estimate for this painting is $800,000 to $1.2 million,” Morris says. “The highest record for a Clymer previously is $616,000. This is arguably the most important work he ever painted.”
There are over 380 lots of western, sporting, and wildlife art in this year’s auction, ranging from works by historical artists like Frank Tenney Johnson, Carl Rungius, Frederic Remington, and Oscar Berninghaus to contemporary, fresh-to-the-market works by Tom Browning, Kyle Polzin, Chad Poppleton, and G. Harvey. “We have five [E. Irving] Couse works,” Morris notes, “and a significant number of important Harry Jackson bronzes, including the rare STAMPEDE. The 2013 sale is especially strong in first-generation Cowboy Artists of America artists, and John Clymer, Tom Lovell, Howard Terpning, Kenneth Riley, and James Reynolds have multiple paintings included.”
All works are on view beginning Saturday, March 23, at the Scottsdale Art Auction exhibition gallery. On Friday, April 5, the auction opens with a preview for collectors from 6 to 8 p.m. The first bidding session begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 6, and bidding continues throughout the day with a break for a buffet lunch. For collectors who cannot attend in person, there is absentee, online, and phone bidding available.
Morris is quick to note, however, that sharing the excitement and enthusiasm of other collectors is one of the best reasons for attending. “There’s a lot of camaraderie among collectors,” Morris says. “They tend to be very passionate and enjoy sharing their information with other collectors. Friday when we do the preview and have the cocktail party, you hear people sharing their own stories of how they were able to buy this or that painting at a gallery, a museum, or an auction.” What sets the Scottsdale Art Auction apart, Morris says, is the expertise of the staff and the dealers and the confidence the collectors have in the work that they offer. —Laura Rintala
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