Western themes prominent in Bonhams & Butterfields’offering of California & American paintings and sculpture

The next sale of California and American Painting and Sculpture at Bonhams & Butterfields is being assembled for Aug. 5, 2008.

The summer auction will feature a wide variety of important Western and Hawaiian scenes, Plein Air, Society of Six, and land and cityscapes by established American artists including Charles Marion Russell, Joseph Henry Sharp, Henry Raschen, Oscar Edmund Berninghaus and David Howard Hitchcock.

Battle between Blackfeet and the Piegans, an 1897 painting by Charles Marion Russell, highlights the upcoming sale. “Discovering a work of this caliber in private hands is exciting, as high-end works by Russell are typically hard to come by. Bonhams & Butterfields is extremely  pleased to offer this wonderful work in August,” said Scot Levitt,  director of California & American paintings and sculpture sales for Bonhams & Butterfields.

Russell’s highly desirable watercolor depicts a dynamic confrontation between two Native American tribes. The active composition is full of bright, fresh, lively colors accentuating each aspect of the tour de force masterpiece. It is expected to bring $250,000 to $350,000.

Western themes, both traditional and modern, will be prominent throughout the summer auction. In addition to Russell’s masterwork, the sale features: In the Forest of Pueblo Cañon by Oscar Edmund Berninghaus (estimate $40,000-$60,000); Joseph Henry Sharp’s Indian with Colorful Blanket and Hat (estimate $20,000-$30,000) and a Southwestern modernist work by Raymond Jonson titled Composition Eleven – Rain, 1931 (estimate $40,000-$60,000).

Following the firm’s success with Hawaiian paintings, Bonhams & Butterfields features a selection of works from the Pacific Islands.
David Howard Hitchcock’s Hanalei Valley, Kauai (estimate $40,000-$60,000) is featured in the grouping, signed and inscribed by the artist, the work is infused with the local colors, sensations and experiences native to the Hawaiian Islands.

“The artist spent a great deal of time traveling around the islands while documenting indigenous subject matter and tropical vistas native to Hawaii. Works rich in local color and highlighting regional subject matter such as Hanalei Valley, Kauai are perennially popular with collectors,” Levitt said.

Also featured within the Hawaiian section of the auction is a work entitled Waimea Canyon, Kauai by Lloyd Sexton Jr. (estimate $15,000-$20,000).

Simulcast between salesrooms in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the August sale’s illustrated online catalog will feature a series of what the department describes as “breath-taking views” – landscapes and seascapes, portraiture and genre scenes. The catalog will be online at www.bonhams.com/us in the weeks preceding the sale and previews.