Matin de Novembre by Guy Rose (1867-1925), oil on canvas, 28¾" x 23¾", brought the auction's highest price, $458,500 (est. $250,000/350,000). It went to private collectors from Texas.
A Los Angeles couple, "two of our better clients," paid $122,500 (est. $80,000/120,000) for Granville Redmond's 19½" x 30" oil on canvas of coastal wildflowers. Levitt said this painting had it all"subtle poppies and wildflowers, early, decent size, nice condition."
Bonhams, Los Angeles/San Francisco, California
by Alice Kaufman
Photos courtesy Bonhams
Bonhams' California and Western paintings and sculpture auction held August 7 in Los Angeles and simulcast in San Francisco had buyers from both locations as well as from farther afield than usual. Sales totaled $2.7 million (includes buyers' premiums).
Bonhams specialist Scot Levitt said, "The top examples by the star California and Western artists continue to enjoy heated competition and strong prices, but below the top echelon the market is uneven. There are some great buys to be had by those willing to invest the time to look closely at these auctions and focus on some of the lesser names or atypical compositions."
Gallery owner Greg Colley of Glendale, California, said, "Scot is right on. Early California art has been hot since I became a dealer ten years ago. The best examples still command very high prices, even as the recession continues. Good quality works by lower-tiered artists are not in as high demand as the big names are and, therefore, can be really great values."
Colley, whose California Art Company LLC "is very close to downtown Los Angeles," specializes in "higher quality early California Impressionism and plein-air paintings by well-listed deceased California artists." He was able to add to inventory at the auction, where he bought "a fabulous nocturne painting by Granville Redmond, who is one of the top-tiered early California artists. The painting was fresh to the market and extremely dirty with an old original ornate frame. Most people can't see how dirty a painting is, and they don't know how great it will look once it has been cleaned and revarnished."
Colley is 49, which puts him in the younger group of dealers. Levitt said that at Bonhams there are "not enough new young buyers coming into the market. The old stalwarts are either dying away or their walls are filling up, and it is tough to find a lot of new young buyers interested in older paintings. There are definitely some, thank goodness, but we could always use more."
Colley, on the other hand, said he sells to young buyers and has a pool of young dealers he works with. "I specifically target younger people." How? "I have more than forty Web sites. I target everybody, but I will spend time educating beginning collectors so they won't make the same mistakes I made. I will spend time educating, not selling a painting."
The next California and Western paintings and sculpture auction at Bonhams is scheduled for December 11. For more information, call (415) 503-3241 or (800) 223-2854 or visit the Web site (www.bonhams.com).
A southern California dealer bought Edgar Payne's Valley of San Juan, oil on canvas, 16" x 20", for $40,000 (est. $20,000/30,000).
Monterey Bay by Si Chen Yuan (1911-1974), oil on canvas, 40" x 60", sold for $20,000 (est. $8000/12,000) to a San Francisco/London collector.
Evening Tide, California Coast by William Frederick Ritschel (1864-1949), oil on canvas, 40" x 50", sold for $80,500 (est. $80,000/120,000) to a Carmel, California, dealer. Scot Levitt called it "a big, impressive painting for Ritschel."
A collector in New York City paid $48,750 (est. $20,000/ 30,000) for View near Monterey by August Gay (1890-1949), oil on board, 10½" x 12½".
This 18¼" x 22½" oil on canvas of an old barn by Maurice Logan (1866-1977) sold for $23,750 (est. $20,000/30,000) to the same Carmel dealer who bought Ritschel's Evening Tide, California Coast.