Published: November 24, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Santa Fe Art Auction
SANTA FE, N.M. – Santa Fe Art Auction’s annual Signature Sale offered its premier auction of fine art on November 14, culminating in a gross total of $2.7 million on 373 lots. The sale went 85 percent sold.
Leading the auction was “The Orange Cloud,” a 32½-by-42¼-inch oil on canvas from Gerard Curtis Delano (1890-1972) that sold for $526,500. It came from a private collection in Arizona, along with 11 other works from the artist.
“Interest came from all over, though of course the Western buyers were particularly interested in it, and that includes those from Texas,” the auction house’s president, Gillian Blitch, said. “It’s such a signature painting and while we don’t know the date of this piece, it has his red dot in the lower right hand corner. He used that as a sort of private designation of those pieces that he considered to be masterworks.”
Records for Delano’s most valuable works find a running theme on a similar subject, one of intimacy and quiet centered on two or three Native Americans on horseback before a Western landscape.
Behind at $64,350 was “Wilderness Silence,” an 11¾-by-21¾-inch watercolor on paper from Delano that had provenance to the Gerald Peters Gallery. A Native American is seen in a canoe with his dog as a bird flies through the fog behind them.
Blitch said the sale pulled from 90 consignors including two major collections.
A number of works were consigned by a private family foundation with proceeds to benefit a private charitable foundation, 501(c)(3), dedicated to supporting local arts communities and families in need. Among them were works from William George Richardson Hind, Thomas Sully, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Walt Kuhn, Ernest Blumenschein, B.J.O. Nordfeldt and Victor Higgins. The auction house sold a total of $150,000 for the foundation. At the high end of its consignments was a Higgins work, a $29,250 result for an oil on burlap of “Moses,” executed in 1932-33. In it, Higgins produced an image of Moses on the mountain with a tablet bearing the roman numeral seven, for the seventh commandment forbidding adultery. It is believed that the work was a study for a mural at the Taos County Courthouse where Higgins ultimately painted “Moses the Law Giver,” which went with a less fiery approach than his study. The WPA commissioned the “Taos Fresco Quartet” of Emil Bisttram, Ward Lockwood, Bert Phillips and Higgins to create ten murals on the courthouse.
Painted when she was only 15 years old, a snow-covered winter scene titled “Trees in Snow” by Georgia O’Keeffe went on to bring $43,875. The 1902 watercolor on paper was sold on behalf of the same foundation. “This was a fabulously important piece in terms of early development of one of the century’s greatest artists,” Blitch said.
Selling in consecutive lots were two related works: a Raymond Jonson (1891-1982) watercolor titled “Watercolor No. 13,” executed in 1944 that sold for $3,300 on behalf of the charitable foundation. The very next lot was a work from one his students, Richard Kurman (1927-2020) who passed away earlier this year. His painting “North Sea Watch, 2012” sold for $1,080. “We’ve had one or two of his paintings in almost every annual sale,” Blitch said. “He was probably the last living student of Raymond Jonson, showed at his gallery and studied with him. When he consigned this painting, he said ‘I think it’s the best I’ve ever done.'”
A rare print by Gustave Baumann (1881-1971), “Palo Verde and Ocotea,” a 1928 color woodcut, sold for $40,950 above a $5,000 high estimate, setting an apparent auction record for the artist according to AskArt. Blitch said, “It doesn’t come up very often, the color is beautiful and his Arizona prints are particularly desirable.” It was editioned 20 of 120.
Santa Fe Art Auction offered a few works from the Barbara and Ed Okun Collection ahead of a single-owner sale they will mount in April, 2021. The firm also has an ongoing exhibition “American Legends of Ceramic Art 1975-1995: The Barbara and Ed Okun Collection of Ceramic Art,” which runs at the gallery through November 30. Among the top offerings from that collection in this sale was a Karl Horst Hödicke (b 1938) acrylic on canvas, dated 1982, measuring 67¼ by 91¼ inches and titled “Odysseus and Siren” that went on to sell for $81,900. Hödicke is the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the PalaisPopulaire in Berlin. “We got this out to European countries,” Blitch said. “Even before the auction started we had an absentee bid above high estimate, though two German bidders on the phone drove the work to its final place.”
Santa Fe Art Auction presents a number of living artists with each sale and notable among them this round was an artist auction record for Navajo artist Tony Abeyta (b 1965) whose “Autumn Rains” took in $32,175. The oil on canvas measured 24 by 20 inches.
The auction house will hold its inaugural timepiece and luxury accessories sale on December 13. For information, www.santafeartauction.com or 505-954-5858.
May 17, 2022
May 17, 2022
May 17, 2022
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm