Estate of 19th-century artist John Douglas Patrick up for bid

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Dozens of original artworks and other personal effects from the estate of John Douglas Patrick (1863-1937), who studied in France and achieved worldwide acclaim by being one of the first Americans ever to be awarded a medal by the Paris Salon in 1889 for his seminal work Brutality, will be sold in an online auction Monday, January 15th, at 7 pm Central.

Eyeing Works of John Douglas Patrick

John Douglas Patrick

Photo of John Douglas Patrick dating to 1912.

The auction is being conducted by KC Auction & Appraisal Company, based in Kansas City. The catalog will be visible and open to pre-bidding on New Year’s Day, January 1st, at www.kcauctioncompany.com. There will be no live, phone or absentee (left) bidding. It’s an absolute auction; everything sells to the highest bidder, regardless of final price.

“We expect this auction to generate tremendous interest, locally, nationally and internationally,” said Jason Roske, owner of KC Auction & Appraisal Company. “This is based solely on the quality of Mr. Patrick’s work and because of his worldwide appeal. We’ve already seen strong interest from institutions and collectors, and we anticipate keen interest from French galleries.”

The auction will exclusively feature artworks by Patrick, plus other items from his estate. The balance of his body of work and personal effects will be sold over the course of several more auctions, folded into general fine art and antique auctions planned throughout 2018 by KC Auction & Appraisal Company. All 500-600 of his artworks have been stored away for decades.

Diverse Artistic Mediums On Offer

The artworks in the January sale cover a wide range of styles. Patrick, a classically trained figural painter is also a creator of wonderful plein air (outdoor) works depicting fields, orchards, trees and other nature-related subjects. His drawings and portraits are mostly classical in nature.

Some of the canvases are studies for Brutality, a monumental work that was gifted to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City by the artist’s descendants in the 1990s (Brutality is not for sale in the auction). Also up for bid will be gorgeous impressionistic landscape paintings.

The other items will include his personal trunk that he used when traveling back and forth to Paris; hundreds of pieces of correspondence (including letters from patrons, contracts from the Kansas City Art Institute, where Patrick taught for decades); brochures from various art shows that featured his work; his painting supplies box (with artist’s palettes) and many other items.

Award-Winning Artist

Cutting Corn painting

Cutting Corn by John Douglas Patrick (Am., 1863-1937), part of a 1936 retrospective of the artist’s work at the Kansas City Art Institute and thought to be part of the 1908 Jones Dry Goods Store Exhibition.

A biography of Patrick, with him participating in the creative process, appears in a brochure by The Fine Arts Institute of Kansas City (scholastic year 1909-10), listing his achievements as such:

• Three times a medal winner during the first six months in the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, where he painted his first Salon picture.
• First and second prize during his first year in the Academie Julian of Paris, becoming the second American receipient.
• Second prize won in a competition with 120 others.
• An exhibitor in three successive Salons.
• His Brutality awarded the bronze medal, Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1889.

Son of Scottish Immigrants

John Douglas Patrick was born to Scottish immigrants in Hopewell, Pa., but he moved with his family to a farm outside Lenexa, Kansas, near Kansas City, when he was still young. He showed a proficiency for drawing and painting early on and went on to attend the St. Louis School of Art for four years. Then he left in 1885, to study at the prestigious Academie Julian in Paris, France.

His talent garners attention and appreciation by faculty and he receives invitation to Paris Salon, the annual exhibition, in the late 1880s. He made his mark with Brutality, an impressive, powerful work. Depicting a man abusing a horse to get it to do his bidding, the 11 foot 6 inch by 9 foot 6 inch oil on canvas is Patrick’s statement that animals deserve dignity and respect.

Patrick returned to the U.S. for family reasons in the 1890s and spent two years teaching art at a school he founded in St. Louis. During this period his reputation is secure when some of his work appear in the Kansas pavilion at the 1894 World’s Fair. In 1900, he returned to the Lenexa-Kansas City area and remained there for the rest of his life.

Pioneering Art Educator

In 1907, Patrick becomes one of the first teachers at the newly-formed Fine Arts Institute (later

Patrick's copies of Societe des Aristes

John Douglas Patrick’s personal copies of his 1886 and 1887 Societe des Artistes Francois Salon books. Patrick was a member of the French Salon in 1886, 1887 and 1888

re-named the Kansas City Art Institute) in Kansas City. According to family lore, Patrick taught for free the first year, to help the school save money and attract enrollment. He pay starts the following year until his retirement in 1936. The school held a retrospective of his work in December 1936; in January 1937, just one month later, Patrick passed away at age 74.

Because of Patrick’s service as an art professor, and additional income from portrait commissions, few of his personal works are acquisitions through sales. He cherished the very act of creation and considered his paintings to be a part of himself. He painted until the end of his life.

Upon his death, the task of inventorying and storing Patrick’s estate fell to his family. They kept his artworks in one bedroom of a two-bedroom apartment. The next generation of heirs stored his paintings and drawings in a basement, where they’ve remained ever since.

Various Mediums and Artist Tools

“We are honored and humbled to bring this historic and important collection to auction,” Mr. Roske said. “Collectors are in for a treat when they realize the quality, quantity and breadth of Mr. Patrick’s work. They’ll have the opportunity to acquire pieces from France. In addition, they hail from many places in the United States, including Lenexa, Kansas City, St. Louis and Tennessee.”

Roske added, “The variety of works include quick sketches in graphite, completed drawings, studies for Brutality and other paintings, and many oil paintings. Some are spectacular works ready to hang in the home, gallery or museum. Others are in states of ‘estate fresh.’ This is a rare chance to acquire items created by and used by this overlooked American Master.”

Furthermore, a preview will be held the second week of January (dates and times to be announced), at the KC Auction & Appraisal Company gallery, located in the historic Quality Hill section of Kansas City, at 1070 Washington Street, by appointment only. For an appointment, call 816-283-3633.

Planning to Participate

KC Auction & Appraisal Company is always seeking quality items for future sales. To inquire about consigning a piece, a collection or an estate, you may call them at 816-283-3633; or, you can e-mail them at info@kcauctioncompany.com. The firm specializes in fine art, antiques and estate liquidations. In addition, it is the recipient of the Best Auction House in Kansas City award. This award is a selection of by readers of Pitch magazine three of the last four years.

For more information about KC Auction & Appraisal Company and the internet-only Part 1 auction of the estate of artist John Douglas Patrick, please visit www.kcauctioncompany.com.

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