O’Keeffe, Fechin masterworks highlight California, Western paintings sale

LOS ANGELES – Bonhams & Butterfields, California’s oldest and largest auctioneers, is pleased to announce the Aug. 17, 2010, sale of California and Western Paintings and Sculpture. On offer are variety of important early 19th century landscapes; Western scenes; Impressionist and Modernist compositions including plein air paintings; genre scenes and cityscapes by established California and American artists.

Following on the success of the April sale, which featured property from the Estate of Los Angeles Philanthropist Nancy M. Daly, the Los Angeles-based auction will feature works of note by Nikolai Fechin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Franz Bischoff, Maynard Dixon, Guy Rose, Granville Redmond, William Coulter, David Howard Hitchcock and Armin Hansen, among others.

Highlighting the summer auction is a robust offering of Western paintings and sculpture led by Russian-American artist Nikolai Fechin’s “Head of a Girl.” The oil on canvas work is dominated by a striking depiction of a young Mexican girl in brightly hued clothing. Highly sought after, the painting displays Fechin’s signature technique, which he used to create a powerful depiction of the sitter with an intensity that emanates from his bold palate and broad brushstrokes. “Head of a Girl” is expected to bring $150,000 to $200,000 on Aug. 17.

Additional offerings of note from the Western section include: a Southwestern watercolor by Victor William Higgins titled “Taos Ranch” (estimate $18,000-$20,000) and two works by Maynard Dixon titled “Approaching storm, Coast Range, California,” 1921 ($40,000-$60,000), from the collection of the Fresno Metropolitan Museum and “Fallen Leaf,” 1933 ($30,000-$50,000).

“Untitled (Woman painting)” by Georgia O’Keeffe ($30,000-$50,000) will also be featured during the sale. Rare to market, the early monotype is jewel-like and measures a petite 3 7/8 inches by 3 inches. The work is composed of muted, soft hues of gray, highlighting a glowing figure with rosy cheeks working at an easel.
“The demand for fresh-to-market California and American works remains prevalent. We continue to see buyer interest, particularly for unique pieces such as Fechin’s ‘Head of a Girl’ and O’Keeffe’s ‘Untitled (Woman painting),’” said Scot Levitt, Vice-president and Department Director, California and Western Paintings and Sculpture.

Highlighting the impressionist section of the sale is well exhibited and published work by Guy Rose titled “In the Olive Orchard” ($125,000-$175,000). The iconic oil on canvas has been included in numerous museum shows as well as Will South’s definitive volume on the artist titled, “Guy Rose: American Impressionist” and several other noted publications.  

As well, the Summer auction will feature a robust selection of Hawaiian paintings highlighted by “Lava Flow” by Joseph Dwight Strong ($50,000-$70,000); “View of Kamuela, Hawaii” by Lloyd Sexton Jr. ($30,000-$50,000); a portrait of Johnny Boy Gomez, friend and companion to Doris Duke, by Robert Lee Eskridge ($3,000-$5,000) and “Royal Palms at Moanalua” by David Howard Hitchcock, which will be sold to benefit the Hospice Foundation of the East Bay, Pleasant Hill, Calif. ($10,000-$15,000), among others.

Simulcast to the firm’s San Francisco gallery, the August sale will boast several unique views from in and around the Bay Area.  Featured works include: “Student Union Building, University of California, Berkeley” by Maurice Logan ($10,000-$15,000); a San Francisco vista from 1949 titled “View of the Ferry Building with Bay Bridge in the Distance” by Dong Kingman ($3,000-$5,000); an abstract watercolor depicting the Golden Gate Bridge by Jade Fon ($3,000-$5,000) and “Shrine of the Owl” by John Marshall Gamble ($4,000-$6,000). “Shrine of the Owl” depicts a rock sculpture of an owl known to be associated with the noted Bohemian Club in San Francisco.  

Additional works of note from the Summer auction include a classic hillside scene titled “Blue Flowers” by Granville Redmond ($80,000-$120,000); a golden hued farming scene titled “Wheat Harvest” by William Coulter ($40,000-$60,000); “Hard Aground,” an impressionistic oil on canvas board work by Armin Hansen ($25,000-$30,000); a modernist work titled “Floral still life” by Henrietta Shore ($15,000-$20,000) and two brooding works by noted plein air painter Thomas Lorraine Hunt titled “Boats along the Shore” ($25,000-$35,000) and “Incoming Tide” ($30,000-$50,000). ?


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