California and Western Paintings

November 12th, 2010

Bonhams & Butterfields, San Francisco and Los Angeles, California

by Alice Kaufman

Photos courtesy Bonhams & Butterfields

Scot Levitt, Bonhams & Butterfields California and Western paintings specialist, said that his August 17 and 18 auction "continued the trend of the last few sales. We sold about eighty percent, including post-auction sales, both by lot and by low estimate." Sales at the Los Angeles/San Francisco auction totaled $2,174,532 (includes buyers' premiums).

Levitt said these auctions "are definitely a struggle. There are fewer buyers, but good paintings still attract attention. Anything good and fresh still sells pretty well. There were no runaway huge spikes in the bidding but solid performances instead. There were three William Wendt paintings in this sale, decent examples but not A-plus, and they all sold well."

Levitt's next auction is scheduled for November 22. For more information, call (323) 850-7500 or visit the Web site (

A private collector from Virginia paid $51,850 (est. $40,000/60,000) for Edgar Payne's Surging Sea, 20" x 24".

A landscape scene at the base of mountains by William Wendt (1865-1946), 40" x 50", sold to a private collector from Virginia for $97,600 (est. $100,000/150,000).

Works by Guy Rose (1867-1925), an American Impressionist who also painted in France, are perennial market leaders. His painting of a Provençal olive orchard sold for $200,000 ("a very good price for that," said Scot Levitt), the highest price paid at the sale. The buyer was a private collector from Las Vegas. The presale estimate was $125,000/175,000. Levitt called the painting "small [15" x 18"] and really pretty. It looked like a Monet."

This oil on canvas by Percy Gray, 16" x 20", sold for $27,450 (est. $15,000/25,000) to "a very loyal Los Angeles collector who has bought a number of paintings by Guy Rose and others."

A painting of California wildflowers and rolling hills by Percy Gray (1869-1952), 1921, 15¾" x 19½", sold for $33,550 (est. $15,000/25,000) to a Carmel dealer. "A very nice painting with lots of wildflowers," said Levitt.

A poppy landscape by Granville Redmond (1871-1935), 1920, 11" x 13", sold for $51,850 (est. $40,000/60,000) to a private Laguna Beach collector.

Santa Barbara by Colin Campbell Cooper (1856-1937), 1923, 15" x 18", sold for $34,160 (est. $25,000/30,000) to a private collector from Beverly Hills, another "very loyal buyer. We need more of those," said Levitt.

An oil on canvas of boats along the shore by Thomas Lorraine Hunt (1882-1938), 20" x 24", sold for $42,700 (est. $25,000/35,000) to a Los Angeles collector.

A view of Kamuela, Hawaii, by Lloyd Sexton Jr. (1912-1990), 30½" x 72", sold for $36,600 (est. $30,000/50,000) to a public institution in Hawaii.

Five Hundred Reward by William Henry Dethlef Koerner (1878-1938), 12" x 33", sold for $39,500 (est. $20,000/30,000) to the same Montana couple who bought Maynard Dixon's Fallen Leaf.
A Santa Fe dealer paid $182,000 (est. $150,000/200,000), the auction's second-highest price, for a painting of a girl, 18" x 14", by Russian-born Taos painter Nicolai Fechin (1881-1955). "A nice fresh museum deaccession in mint condition," said Levitt.

This painting of a boy by Grace Carpenter Hudson (1865-1937), 20" x 16", sold for $24,400 (est. $25,000/35,000) to a collector in Salt Lake City, "a very loyal, regular buyer at these sales."

An oil on canvas of a Sicilian girl by Joseph Kleitsch (1882-1931), circa 1919, 24" x 18", sold for $33,550 (est. $8000/12,000) to a private collector in Ohio, a first-time buyer who Levitt surmised might be a member of the artist's family.
Maynard Dixon's Fallen Leaf, 1933, 19¼" x 15½", sold for $51,850 (est. $30,000/50,000) to a private couple in Montana. Although Dixon is best known for his Western scenes, this and his Approaching Storm "…are indicative," said Levitt, "of his landscape work, a lot of which is not Western. They are both nice, fresh pictures."

Approaching Storm, Coast Range, California, 1921, by Maynard Dixon (1875-1946), 16" x 19¾", "a nice landscape" consigned by the Fresno Art Museum, sold for $67,100 (est. $40,000/60,000) to a San Francisco collector.

An oil on canvas landscape scene, believed to be Irvine Park, by William Wendt, 30" x 36", sold for $54,900 (est. $50,000/70,000) to the same Las Vegas collector who bought the Guy Rose.
An oil on canvas of Calabasas Valley by Arthur Grover Rider (1886-1975), 20" x 24", sold for $30,500 (est. $18,000/22,000) to the same Las Vegas collector who bought the Guy Rose.

A landscape showing a cow trail by William Wendt, 30" x 36", sold for $67,100 (est. $60,000/80,000) to a private collector from Berkeley.

Hard Aground by Armin Hansen (1886-1957), 13" x 15½", sold for $37,820 (est. $25,000/30,000) to the same Carmel dealer who bought Percy Gray's scene of California wildflowers and rolling hills.

A view of two boats by Edgar Payne (1883-1947), 12¼" x 14¾", sold for $27,450 (est. $20,000/30,000) to a private collector from the Palm Springs area.


A monotype of a woman painting by Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986), 3-7/8" x 3", sold for $27,450 (est. $30,000/ 50,000) to a second Santa Fe dealer. Levitt thought this monotype on paper would "appeal more to the painting crowd than the print crowd." Bonhams offers work by O'Keeffe "very, very rarely—unfortunately."

Originally published in the November 2010 issue of Maine Antique Digest. (c) 2010 Maine Antique Digest
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