Published: April 26, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Santa Fe Art Auction
SANTA FE, N.M. – Gillian Blitch and her team at Santa Fe Art Auction put together a two-session sale on April 15-16 offering works and multiples in a wide range of styles and media, including historic American and European artwork to contemporary Native prints and works on paper. Selling for more than eight times its high estimate was an untitled 1982 work by Paladine Roye [Pon-Cee-Cee] (1946-2001) depicting an Indian camp, which was bid to $9,600 by an Oklahoma buyer. The gouache on paper was signed and dated lower right: “Paladine H. Roye/’82,” measured 26 by 30¼ inches and came from the estate of Buddy and Connie Sanchez. Roye, born in White Eagle, Okla., was a full blood, enrolled member of the Ponca tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. His Ponca name was Pon-Cee-Cee, which means “watch out for this one.” He became a full-time painter in 1979, working in acrylic, watercolor, gouache and prints. A large portion of the items in this sale were old with no reserve and to benefit philanthropic and art-related charities in both New Mexico and Oklahoma.
“It was a small sale for spring, combining artworks consigned for the benefit of two foundations, including the Michael R. Jordan Endowment for Native American Art and a select preview of artworks from the expansive Connie and Buddy Sanchez collection of Native American art,” said Blitch. “We were delighted by world auction records achieved for WakPa, whose work has long been absent from the market, as well as Paladine Roye. More of the Sanchez collection will be available in our upcoming American Indian sale scheduled for August 12-13.”
Bidders were hot for WakPa, the alias for Donald Brewer, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe. He grew up in Thornton, Colo., where during high school he started painting, a talent he would develop and that would later become a career now spanning more than 20 years. He is renowned for his use of color and the contemporary feel of his paintings, which present just a touch of realism. The works by him in this sale came from the Sanchez collection, and they all routinely surpassed their estimates.
The leading piece was an untitled (Night Clouds) acrylic on canvas, 48 by 60 by 1¼ inches, which was estimated $600/800 but settled at $6,600. Another untitled acrylic on canvas (Four Riders) brought $5,520 against a $400/600 expectation, plus an untitled piece depicting a lineup of seven riders was pushed to $2,280 ($600/800). An untitled 30-by-40-inch acrylic on canvas depicting morning clouds rose to $1,800, while $1,440 was achieved for WakPa’s untitled (Four Figures) painting.
Born in the northernmost town of Swedish Lapland, far above the Arctic Circle, Inger Jirby (b 1942) adopts that environment’s blazing fall colors to dramatic effect in her passion-filled fauvist paintings. She began painting as a young girl and never stopped. Her first hero was Van Gogh, followed by colorists Matisse and Bonnard. In this sale, her “Autumn in Santa Fe” was bid to $5,760. The oil on canvas was signed lower right and measured 40 by 56 inches. From a private family foundation, this work like many of the others in this sale was sold to benefit a private charitable foundation dedicated to supporting local arts communities and families in need.A monotype by Robert Natkin (1930-2010), an American abstract painter whose work is associated with abstract expressionism, color field painting and Lyrical Abstraction, came from his “Bern Series,” which grew out of his visit to Bern, Switzerland, in 1977. There he visited the Paul Klee Foundation, which is both a museum displaying Klee’s work and a research center. Fetching $4,428, this 1982 monotype was signed lower left and measured 40½ by 29½ inches.
Most of this two-day sale’s bidding firepower came on the second day, but there was a notable lot across the block in its first session. Cyrus Edwin Dallin’s (American, 1861-1944) “Captured But Not Conquered,” 1918, a plaster figural sculpture depicting Edgar M. Halyburton, the first American prisoner of war in World War I, went out at $3,840. After his capture, German propagandists took and distributed Halyburton’s image in hopes to demoralize newly arrived American troops. But the effort backfired, and within days, the photograph was reappropriated by the allies and reproduced internationally: an American soldier standing tall with one hand in his pocket and the other clenched in a fist at the side was seen as a message of defiance against the odds. Inscribed on base ©CE Dallin 1918 and titled, the figure was 33 by 11 by 7¼ inches.
Commanding the viewer’s attention with its rich red adobe and doorway, a 1983 untitled work by Bonita Barlow (American, b 1955) realized $2,400. Born in Stamford, Conn., Barlow studied at the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts and with American Impressionist Henry Hensche at the Cape School of Art. She moved to Santa Fe in 1980 and currently lives in southern New Mexico.
With his main residence in Santa Fe until he died in 1969, Arthur Musgrave was born in Brighton, England. He came to Santa Fe in 1916, where he was the first to paint the Museum of Fine Arts, then under construction. Later he donated several paintings to the museum. He also spent time at Cape Cod, Mass., where he had a summer house at Truro. Crossing the block here was “Sur Vie, France,” an Impressionist landscape that sold for $2,280.
Fetching the same price was Harold Joe Waldrum’s “Vermilion House T-23,” vertical acrylic on canvas, 90½ by 30¼ inches.Exuding both beauty and mystery, Anvar Saifoutdinov’s (b 1963) “Woman in Moonlight,” 1992, an oil on canvas signed lower left was inscribed verso “Anvar / Saifoutdinov / Born In Kazan, Russia / 15 June 1963 / Usa Taos / 1992 May-June” and measured 29-7/8 by 19¾ inches. It brought $2,214. Saifoutdinov is a Russian artist whose work has been offered at auction multiple times.
Additional highlights included an untitled gouache on paper by Carl Woodring (Osage, 1920-1985) depicting a buffalo hunt from 1960 that sold for $1,599; an untitled (Eagle Dancer) piece by Jean Bales taking $1,140 and an R.C. Gorman “Red Blanket,” 1985, leaving the gallery at $1,020.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.santafeartauction.com or 505-954-5858.
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