Auction Preview | Santa Fe Art Auction

Santa Fe, NM
Peters Projects, November 10-11

Thomas Crotty (1934-2015), Chama River at Abiquiu, oil, 50 x 90. Estimate: $90,000-$120,000.

Thomas Crotty (1934-2015), Chama River at Abiquiu, oil, 50 x 90. Estimate: $90,000-$120,000.

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

The Santa Fe Art Auction—one of the Southwest’s largest annual sales of classic and contemporary western art—takes the stage at Peters Projects this month with an impressive selection of 250 lots, including artworks by such heavy hitters as Albert Bierstadt, Alfred Morang, Bert Geer Phillips, and Joseph Henry Sharp. The 24th annual event kicks off with a preview from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, November 10. A second preview takes place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at which point the auction commences with in-person, absentee, phone, and online bidding.

The auction—organized in conjunction with Gerald Peters Gallery—is thoughtfully curated with a nod to historic and contemporary southwestern art. Notable gems on the auction block this year include exemplary sculptures and paintings by artists associated with the Santa Fe Art Colony, the Taos Society of Artists, and Los Cinco Pintores, as well as several works by Cowboy Artists of America members Howard Terpning, Charlie Dye (1906-1972), and Frank McCarthy (1924-2002). “The variety is a really strong point for this sale,” says acting director Jenna Kloeppel. “Various styles, genres, and time periods are represented, and many works have a strong connection to New Mexico and the art communities that have thrived here, especially in the 20th century.”

Visitors can find numerous examples of New Mexico modernism, including an Art Deco-era piece by Raymond Jonson titled THE NIGHT, CHICAGO, which is anticipated to fetch up to $120,000. “It’s a very different work to come to our auction because it doesn’t feature our typical western subject matter,” says Kloeppel, “but of course, Jonson is a well-known New Mexico artist, and it’s a really striking piece.”

Debuting in the auction are two oils by Jonson’s former student, Santa Fe painter Richard Kurman, who studied with Jonson at the University of New Mexico in the 1940s. Both works, which are valued between $4,000 and $7,000, reflect the modernist aesthetic featured in the sale this year, notes Kloeppel. “You can really see Kurman’s background training with Jonson in them,” she adds. “EL NEVADO DEL TOLUCA is a modernist-leaning, geometricized landscape he painted in New Mexico, and ENDGAME PURPLE is a more conceptual piece that harkens back to Jonson’s completely abstract work.”

Many other contemporary offerings appear on the auction block, as well, including a Taos Pueblo scene by up-and-coming western artist Michael Cassidy, a Utah desert landscape by G. Russell Case, and wildlife works by Luke Frazier and Ron Kingswood. One of the major highlights of the sale is a rare southwestern landscape painting by East Coast realist painter Thomas Crotty (1934-2015) titled CHAMA RIVER AT ABIQUIU, which is expected to garner $90,000-$120,000. “All of Crotty’s auction sales, to date, have been Maine scenes and New England landscapes,” says Kloeppel. “He came to northern New Mexico in the 1980s and was really taken with what he saw. In response, he did this very detailed, large-scale triptych of the Chama River. It took him several years to complete, and it’s been in a private collection until now. It’s incredibly beautiful and overwhelming when you see it in person because of its scale.”

Also up for bid are portrayals of Native American life in the Southwest, including a later piece by Taos, NM, artist Dorothy Brett (1883-1976) titled THE DEER HUNTERS. The work, which depicts a critical hunt on the cusp of winter, is expected to draw between $15,000 and $25,000. Brett moved to Taos from her native England in the 1920s and went on to nurture close relationships with Taos Pueblo natives. “Brett’s artworks are highly sought after, especially pictures like this one that portray natives, whom she so enjoyed to paint,” says Kloeppel. “In this painting, she captures a very important event in the Pueblo calendar, which is sustenance for the winter. Brett was presumably privy to the event, so the work is a testament to her relationships with those individuals.”

A unique selection of southwestern folk art also appears on the block, including a Penitente Brotherhood-inspired death-cart sculpture by Horacio Valdez that is valued between $15,000 and $20,000. —Kim Agricola

contact information
505.954.5780
www.santafeartauction.com

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

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