Skip to main content

Western Arts Auction finishes with 97% sell rate

An early 20th century oil painting by M. Evelyn McCormick, one of the first female impressionist painters, lead all lots — selling for $16,250 – during Witherell's May 16 sale.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Selling at $16,250, a large McCormick painting dominated Witherell’s Western Arts Auction that ended May 16, 2017.

Oil Painting Depicts early Monterey

Fremont House painting

"Fremont House" by M. Evelyn McCormick, late 19th/early 20th century, commanded $16,250 during the May 16 auction. (All photos courtesy of Witherell's)

One of the first women Impressionists, M. Evelyn McCormick, (American, 1869-1948) became known for plein aire oils of Monterey’s historic buildings and adobes. One of these is the “Fremont House” painting.

From the early part of the twentieth century, the 27-by-33-inch oil-on-board was estimated at $15,000-$25,000.

A coin-silver bowl by Schulz & Fischer (1863-1900) from the Edwin Iloff Silver Collection was one of the surprises of the Western Arts Auction. Going for $13,125, well above estimate, the large, gilt, wash bowl featured a decorative rim mounted with two birds and nests. The 17.5-inch-high centerpiece had a classical female figure stem on an engraved dome base. Marked, "Coin / Schulz & Fischer mark / S.F. Cal.", the gross weight was 65 oz

Front & Back Bar Highlight in Western Arts Auction

From the late nineteenth century, a front & back bar—original to the Auburn Opera House in Gold Rush country—was another top seller of the Western Arts Auction at $9,750. Made of oak, the 15-feet-long bar was typical of the saloon-style bar. Estimated at $8,000 to $12,000, the massive bar sold to a prominent Western Americana collector for use at his ranch.

Three 18-carat gold spoons, also from the Edwin Iloff Silver Collection, went to a lucky bidder for $8,000, more than was expected for the lot. The "Plain" style pattern included a place spoon (marked San Francisco Barrett & Sherwood, inscribed Carroll), a monogrammed citrus spoon (marked Barrett & Sherwood San Francisco Cal) and a citrus spoon (marked San Francisco). The gross weight was 2.9 oz.

Scarce Historic Drawing Captivated Bidder Interest

A rare and important 1849 drawing of Sutter’s Fort with personal notes also did well during the Western Arts Auction. Bidding closed at $6,250, well within the $5,000 to $10,000 estimate.

The 4-by-8-inch paper and ink document was inscribed on front with "Sutters Fort as seen from the SW about 2 miles. One cannot form much of an ID from this - tis built of mud brick - there is a trench about it and hay stacks old carts logs..." and on back with “Sacramento City/Oct. 2/49/.”

'Sutter's Fort' Represented Twice

A more contemporary “Sutter’s Fort” painting sold for $5,500, a world record for the artist, Randy Steffen (American, 1917-1976). Eight pieces of Steffen have sold at public auction to date. The most expensive one prior was a bronze at $1,265.

Used as the cover lot for Witherell’s advertising mailer was a Lorenzo Ghiglieri (b. 1931) bronze,

'Need for Buffalo" bronze sculpture

"The Need for Buffalo, 27/36" bronze sculpture on a mahogany plinth, 20th century, by Lorenzo Ghiglieri, realized $2,250.

"The Need for Buffalo, 27/36" on a mahogany plinth. It sold for $5,375 while another bronze in the series sold a year ago for $2,250. The sculpture depicts a Plains Indian on horseback aiming a bow and arrow at two buffalo and is signed on the lower left. Excluding the 2-inch plinth, the bronze is 22-by-42-by-21 inches.

Selling for slightly more than $170,000, the 97 lots in the Western Arts Auction came to an average of $1,750. Only one lot failed to sell for a 97 percent sales rate. All prices include buyer’s premium.

Founded in 1969, Witherell’s auctions of objects of value—decorative arts and design, antiques and fine art—to the global online market and places items through private sales.

For more information, visit or call 916-446-6490.

Weekly Showcase



Over 100 YEARS of Chinese History - Our pristine Jade Collection is extensive and beautiful!  Please visit our web site to get an idea of how beautiful this collection is.