Roses, Mt. Wilson and the West to highlight auction of California and American paintings and sculpture

LOS ANGELES—Bonhams & Butterfields will hold its Summer Auction of California and American Painting and Sculpture on Aug. 3, 2009. The Los Angeles-based sale will feature a wide variety of important California, Western, Society of Six, Hawaiian scenes and plein air works by established American artists including Franz Bischoff, Maynard Dixon, John Marshall Gamble, Edgar Payne, Granville Redmond and Guy Rose among others.

The marquee lot from the sale is an Impressionistic painting by Austrian-born American artist Franz Bischoff titled Roses (estimate $600,000-$800,000). The work depicts pink-hued blossoms artfully arranged against a backdrop of muted earthtones. Bischoff captures the roses playfully tumbling out of a basket as well as casually arranged in a decorated ceramic vase. Throughout the work, the artist expertly uses color and vivid composition to emphasize his reverence for nature.

Known for his landscapes and beautiful floral paintings such as Roses, Bischoff was inspired by the California countryside and attempted to capture the region’s diverse landscapes and brilliant light in each of his works. Roses is accompanied by the original vase that Bischoff depicts in the 1912 composition.

"Interest in American master Franz Bischoff continues to be strong. In addition to Roses and a noteworthy selection of Impressionist paintings, the August sale is projected to be the firm’s most diverse offering to date boasting a large number of fresh, desirable works," said Scot Levitt, Vice President and Fine Arts Department Director.

Lowtide Honfleur, a rare Impressionist work by Guy Rose will also be featured in the summer auction. Rose is considered the most important California Impressionist painter by many historians. A native Californian, he studied at the California School of Design before traveling to France to study in 1888. It is from this period that the oil on canvas Lowtide Honfleur comes. Prominently featured on the auctioneer’s catalog cover, the work is estimated to bring $400,000-$600,000 in August.

Upon Rose’s return to the United States, he became a major figure of the California Impressionist movement influencing artists such as Granville Redmond, John Marshall Gamble and William Wendt, who are also featured in the August sale. An assortment of other plein air works will include a breathtaking view of Mt. Wilson, one of the more prominent peaks in the San Gabriel Mountain Range, Los Angeles County titled Spring by Granville Redmond (estimate $150,000-$200,000); Red Buckwheat, Santa Barbara (estimate $60,000-$80,000) by John Marshall Gamble and Far From the Maddening Crowd (estimate $90,000-$130,000) by William Wendt.

Highlighting the Western section of the sale is Edgar Payne’s Navajo Country. The work depicts five Native American riders in a desert landscape of canyons and mesas with a cloudy sky above. The artist skillfully uses the strong horizontal of the distant mesas to create a vast and expansive composition suitable to the region, while moving the line of riders gently from upper left towards the center, emphasizing the figures place as prominent in the composition and underscoring the harmony of man and nature. In works such as these, the artist is able to fully communicate his admiration of and respect for the native peoples of this region while capturing the balance of life and nature in his art through a social realist bent. Navajo Country is expected to bring $200,000-$300,000.

Western themes, both traditional and modern, will be prominent throughout the summer auction. In addition to Payne’s masterwork, the sale also features a stunning piece by early 20th century artist Maynard Dixon titled Barren Hillside, Ranchos de Taos. N. Mex (estimate $80,000-$120,000). Measuring 16 by 20 inches, the desolate scene is an example of Dixon’s progression from figurative works to pure landscape — the subject matter for which he is best known and respected.

Following Bonhams & Butterfield’s continued success with Hawaiian paintings, the August sale boasts several works infused with the local colors, sensations and experiences native to the Pacific Islands. Featured in the grouping is Lloyd Sexton Jr.’s Houses beneath Hoolau Ridge, Oahu (estimate $20,000-$30,000) and two works by David Howard Hitchcock, Beyond Coco Head (estimate $8,000-$12,000) and Kahalawai, at foot of Diamond Head (estimate $10,000-$15,000).

Additional highlights on offer during the Aug. 3, 2009, sale will include Armin Hansen’s seascape Wanderer of the Past (estimate $150,000-$250,000) and a classic Impressionist landscape from Joseph Raphael, titled Belgian Landscape (estimate $60,000-$80,000).

Simulcast to the firm’s San Francisco gallery, the August sale will feature a series of what the department describes as "breath-taking views" — landscapes and seascapes, portraiture and genre scenes. Preview events are scheduled in San Francisco for July 24-26 and July 31-Aug.t 2 in Los Angeles.

For more information, visit www.bonhams.com/us.

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