Published: December 3, 2019
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Vogt Galleries Texas
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – The palette of long, blue Western skies was augmented with tools of the artist’s trade and the effects of everyday life when Vogt Galleries Texas offered for sale the contents of the studio and items from the estate of famed contemporary Western artist Gerald Harvey Jones, commonly known as G. Harvey, in the firm’s November 16-17 auction. G. Harvey passed away in November, 2017.
G. Harvey’s notable collectors included President Lyndon B. Johnson and Texas Governor John Connally. The latter was so impressed with Harvey’s works that he reportedly presented a G. Harvey original to each governor of Mexico’s four northern states.
While G. Harvey’s most recognizable subject matter is relegated to his expansive Western or Texas landscapes, his cityscape images earned him comparison to post-impressionist artist Édouard Cortès. The auction house wrote, “Harvey always believed that history lives through art, including the epic struggle between the states, the western migration, the brief time when horses and automobiles clattered across cobblestones together.”
G. Harvey’s original paintings, dating between 1962 and 1966, ruled the sale and produced the top four lots. “Desert Landscape,” a 1962 oil on board measuring 36 by 48 inches, went out at $34,073; “Hill Country Autumn,” a 1966 oil on canvas measuring 36 by 30 inches, sold at $27,720; “Forsaken Beauty,” a 1962 oil on canvas measuring 24 by 36 inches, sold at $15,015; and “Texas Country,” a 9-by-12-inch oil on canvas painted near Johnson City in 1965, went out at $13,225.
“The 60s were his early works,” said Katy Alexander, director of specialty auctions at Vogt Galleries Texas. “This wasn’t inventory overflow or pieces sent back from a gallery. They were kept in the studio as study pieces. So many of these early works were things he kept and used them to inspire later works. The large landscapes – they were pieces he hung in his home. They were G. Harvey’s G. Harveys. That really inspired collectors of his work – to be able to have something that was really special to the artist himself.”
The artist’s bronze sculptures were also to be found, led by his 1993 work “The Cowpuncher,” edition 1/50, 26 inches tall, that sold for $6,353. Two examples of a 2011 bronze, “A Texas Breed,” 8½ inches tall, editions 24/100 and 27/100, sold for $2,711 and $2,310, respectively.
Several lots of the artist’s tools were offered and collectors seized the moment. Leading the group at $1,617 was a brown jug containing a collection of the artist’s paint brushes. Two other paint brush collections sold for $809 and $693. The artist’s painters palette board, with a rainbow of colors dried on it, went out at $723. Harvey’s sculpture palette – a board to which the artist affixed a rope on each end and wore around his neck in his early years as he worked the clay on the board – found a new home at $433. The lot came with a clay prototype of what appears to be an unfinished cow and calf.
“The paintbrushes – these were not selling to dealers,” Alexander said. “They were selling to collectors and the letters are already coming back and they are pairing them with their favorite piece, making their own studio vignettes.”
Other effects included a collection of taxidermy, which G. Harvey mounted on the walls throughout his studio and home and used as inspiration. At the top was an American bison/buffalo, a prominent fixture in Harvey’s studio, that sold for $2,888. Two Rocky Mountain elk shoulder mounts brought $549 and $520.
Furniture and decorative arts from the artist’s estate found good bidding, including a three-drawer console table that sold at $3,581, above a $700 estimate. A lot of 35 pieces of estate silver took $924, while a primitive corner cabinet, 32 inches tall, brought a modest $462. A pair of cowboy boots made by M.L Leddy’s and signed by G. Harvey went out at $1,155.
Alexander curated the sale with Vogt Galleries Texas’ director of luxury estates Gabe Echeverry. The auction house has sold a number of notable San Antonio estates in recent past, including arts patron Linda Pace.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For additional information, www.vogtauction.com.
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