Western art masters captured in California fine art sale lineup

LOS ANGELES/SAN FRANCISCO – The Aug. 9, 2011 sale of California and American Paintings and Sculpture at Bonhams will offer a wide array of important Western scenes, Plein Air, Society of Six and land and cityscapes. Noted artists represented in the summer auction include E. Charlton Fortune, Granville Redmond, Fredrick Remington and Arthur Grover Rider, among others.

Leading the early highlights is an Impressionistic work by noted painter and Hollywood scenic artist, Arthur Grover Rider. Titled “Boats at Valencia,” the oil on canvas work measures an impressive 50 1/2 by 56 1/2 inches (over all) and is expected to bring $150,000 to $250,000 Aug. 9.

During his early training at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, Rider painted for the Chicago Lyric Opera. He continued his studies at Academies de la Grande-Chaumiere and Colarossi in Paris before moving to Spain. There, he met Joaquin Sorolla, who was a great influence on his work. Together, they painted on the Valencian Beach and Rider exhibited at the court of Valencia. In the 1920s, Rider made several trips to California before he settled in Laguna Beach following Sorolla’s passing.

For more than 30 years, Rider was one of the leading scenic artists in Hollywood. He worked with Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. Rider is recognized by the Internet Movie Database as an uncredited scenic artist on the 1939 classic film “The Wizard of Oz.”

Bonhams & Butterfields currently holds the world auction record for a painting by Rider, which was set in April of 2009 for $254,000.

Also on offer is “Drying Sails I,” 1926, an impressionist work by E. Charlton Fortune ($120,000-$160,000). Fortune worked in obscurity for much of her career and utilized the “E” (for Euphemia) to disguise her gender when submitting art to shows and competitions.

Fortune was born in Sausalito, Calif., in 1885 and by 1913 she was spending summers on the Monterey Peninsula. Although the artist is possibly better known for her later work in the genres of portrait and religious compositions, “Drying Sails I” is an earlier Impressionist style painting with emphasis on subtle color and light. The fresh-to-market work is one of several known Fortune depictions of Monterey, each capturing the natural beauty of its rugged landscape. Bonhams & Butterfields continues to hold the world auction record for the artist when “Late Afternoon, Monterey” brought $1,832,000 – the highest price ever paid for a Fortune work crossing the auction block – in December of 2007.

Further works of note from the summer auction will include California wildflowers and distant snowcapped mountains by Granville Redmond ($70,000-$100,000) and a rare painting by Frederic Remington titled “Indians on Horseback” ($100,000-$150,000).

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