Early California landscape art, fresh on the market, blows away presale estimates

Two fine examples of early California landscape art, fresh on the market, sold for well above estimates at a March 19, 2011 Midnight Sun Antique Auction.  Estimated at $40,000 to $60,000, for a Hanson Puthuff oil painting entitled ‘Blue Hills and Winding Rivers’, competitive bidding brought in $103,500 for this wonderful piece of Plein Aire art.  All prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

A vibrant seascape by Jack Wilkinson Smith entitled ‘The Jeweled Pacific’ was estimated to bring in between $15,000 to $25,000, the final hammer went down at $60,000. Total price was $69,000.  Both paintings came from a private estate in Southern California.

Hanson Puthuff’s painting is a beautiful example of his work from 1926 when he began his career as a full time landscape artist.  He received his training at the University of Denver Art School & Chicago Academy of Fine Art. He was a leading force in the California art scene throughout his life until his death in Corona del Mar, California in 1972.  ‘Blue Hills and Winding Rivers’ is a very large example of his work measuring 28 inches by 36 inches housed in its original frame and dated on verso. Jack Wilkinson Smith received critical acclaim for his Sierra landscapes and coastal marine scenes. ‘The Jeweled Pacific’ depicts the Southern California coast that he was well noted for.  This was a rather large example of his work, measuring 24 inches by 30 inches dated 1921.

Other highlights of the auction include two exceptional museum quality Roman glass tubular bottles dating back to over 2,000 years.  One piece brought in $4,300; a double handled alabastron core formed with white threads and feather designs marvered into blue ground measuring 4 3/4 inches high.  These precious artifacts were purchased in Europe in the 1920’s and exhibited in a museum in San Diego, California in 1950.

Another top lot was a diamond ring with a total of approximately 6 carats of diamonds set in 14kt yellow gold ring sold for $5,520.  The ring had a large 2 carat central single marquise cut diamond encircled by smaller marquise diamonds. 

Out of all the lots sold in the auction, 80 percent sold within or above estimate and only 4 lots were passed out of 275 total lots.  Midnight Sun Antique Auction Company generally produces two auctions a month including a variety of antiques, art, jewelry and collectibles. 

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