Published: April 19, 2021
SANTA FE, N.M. – “After The Ceremony,” an oil on board by Bert Geer Phillips (1868-1956) sold for $75,000 at Santa Fe Art Auction on April 17. It came to sale in the firm’s Community Benefit Auction, a charity sale of 176 lots. The proceeds from this work will benefit a private charitable foundation dedicated to supporting local arts communities and families in need. The auction house’s president, Gillian Blitch, told us that they were able to raise more than $500,000 for the organization.
“We have been slowly divesting the foundation of its inventory as it changes its investment strategy,” Blitch said. “It continues to hand out grants, mostly to artists, but now to families and children in need. They also do hunger outreach and primarily service the New Mexico community. We did a large sale last year for them, we put a few items into our major sales, I’ll have some more in our upcoming Art of the West auction.”
The painting had been featured in Bert Geer Phillips and the Taos Art Colony, a 1994 title by Schimmel and White. It had at one point been in the Mr and Mrs John Marion collection as well as the Gerald Peters collection.
The firm noted that Ralph J. Phillips Jr, the artist’s son, recalled his father remarking that this painting depicts Taos Pueblo women among wild plum blossoms in springtime.
“The timing was perfect because we are just coming into bloom in Santa Fe,” Blitch said. “This is one of the largest works I have seen by Bert Phillips, it’s extremely colorful. Phillip spent time in England doing wonderful landscape scenes, but even though this is definitely Taos, I believe this shows the influence of his European training – in those idyllic pastoral landscapes. It’s an example of his love affair with Taos. It was romantic to him, it’s musical to him.”
Phillips once remarked of Taos, “I believe it is the romance of this great pure-aired land that makes the most lasting impression on my mind and heart.”
Bert Geer Phillips was a founding member of Taos Society of Artists and the art colony there. The Hudson, N.Y.-born artist met like-minded peers Ernest Blumenschein and Joseph Henry Sharp while studying in Paris at the Académie Julian. When they returned to New York, Blumenschein and Phillips leased a studio together. In 1898, the two embarked on a tour of the American West, where Phillips would ultimately remain as he set up a studio in Taos.
“After The Ceremony” measured 24-3/8 by 75½ inches and sold to a private collector in Texas.
Watch for a review on Santa Fe Art Auction’s sale weekend, including the timepiece auction, in a forthcoming issue.
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