Dallas’ David Bates’ Crab Legs Could Crack $50K in Heritage Texas Art Auction

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Dorothy Hood, Robert William Wood and Merritt Mauzey among headliners in event featuring Lone Star State’s top artists

David Bates (American, b. 1952) Crab Legs
David Bates (American, b. 1952) Crab Legs

DALLAS, Texas (August 20, 2020) – An exceptional oil painting by one of the most prominent artists from the Lone Star State could bring $50,000 or more wen Sept. 26 in Heritage Auctions’ Texas Art Auction.

David Bates’ Crab Legs, 1984 (estimate: $30,000-50,000) was created when the Dallas artist was approaching the top of the ladder of the most popular Texas artists. The 72-by-60-inch oil on canvas, from a distinguished Dallas collection, is signed and dated in lower corners: “Bates 84” and signed, dated and titled on the lower reverse: “David Bates Crab Legs 84.”

“This auction is shaping up to be similar to some of the best Texas Art auctions we have had in the last decade,” Heritage Auctions Texas Art Director Atlee Phillips said. “Crab Legs is a really great David Bates painting, from right at the sweet spot of when he was getting really big. We also are offering an outstanding David Bates wall sculpture, giving this event some fantastic two-dimensional and three-dimensional art from a really important Texas artist at the height of his career, works that offer very interesting contrasting and comparison between the two. He is probably the most important living Texas artist, with gallery showings in New York and artwork that regularly has sold for six figures, which is rare for a living, working artist.”

Another artist whose work is held in private collections and in multiple museums is Dorothy Hood, whose Navajo Blanket could fetch $18,000-24,000 or more. Born in Bryan, Texas and raised in Houston, Hood studied at the renowned Rhode Island School of Design in the 1930s and later at the Art Students League of New York. Regarded as a “pioneer modernist,” Hood’s work served as a historical link between Mexican synthetic surrealism and the American Color Field School.

Merged with a cancelled May auction, Heritage’s Texas Art event is bursting with works by many of the top Texas artists from a number of genres. Robert William Wood’s After the Shower, 1952 (estimate: $15,000-25,000) points a spotlight on one of the Lone Star state’s most well-known and popular landscape painters. After the Shower reveals the influence of two of the best early Texas artists, his teacher, Jose Arpa, and Julian Onderdonk, the Texas landscape Impressionist who is considered the standard-bearer when it comes to painting bluebonnet flowers.

Another highlight in the auction is Oasis, by Merritt Mauzey (estimate: $8,000-12,000), the Texas Regionalist painter who was one of the fabled Dallas Nine, a group of revered painters, sculptors and printmakers who were active in Dallas in the 1930s and 1940s. The self-taught artist is known for his depictions of rural life and the cotton industry in the Lone Star state.

Velox Benjamin Ward’s The Cows Won’t Come Home (estimate: $7,000-9,000) is an 18-by-24-inch oil on Masonite from another self-taught painter. He started painting at the age of 59, and even then only at the request of his family. He relied heavily on his memories of growing up in rural East Texas during the early 20th century, which lead to his creations centered on gardening, butchering meat, or in this case, tending to livestock. Heritage Auctions set a record for the artist when his Wash Day at Spring, 1963, sold for $62,500 in 2018.

Get an entirely different view of Dallas in Olin Travis’s Turtle Creek, circa 1920 (estimate: $3,000-5,000). This oil-on-board painting is signed lower left “Olin Herman Travis.” Many collectors are drawn to artwork that offers views from years past; Turtle Creek offers a century-old of the waterway that remains one of the most picturesque natural settings in the city.

One intriguing lot in the sale might become multiple lots before the event starts. Lajos Markos Heroes of Texas Portraits (estimate: $8,000-12,000) includes 12 portraits of legendary Texas figures like Sam Houston, Davie Crockett, James Bowie and William Travis … but the early interest in the portraits is such that the group might be broken up into separate lots. Markos was born in Budapest, Hungary, and came to the U.S. after World War II, working as a portrait painter in New York, where his subjects included the likes of John Wayne, Robert Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. He moved to Houston in 1960 and immersed himself in Western Art; some of his works can be found in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Markos became deeply entrenched in Texas; he died in Houston in 1993.

Other top lots in the auction include, but are not limited to:

Porfirio Salinas Texas Wildflowers (estimate: $10,000-15,000)

Robert William Wood Sundown (estimate: $10,000-15,000)

David Bates Barn Door Crappies, 1977 (estimate: $10,000-15,000)

William A. Slaughter Bluebonnets along the Creek (estimate: $8,000-12,000)

Robert William Wood Hill Country Spring (estimate: $8,000-12,000)

For images and information about these and all lots in the auction, visit HA.com/8008.

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

Heritage also enjoys the highest Online traffic and dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: SimilarWeb and Hiscox Report). The Internet’s most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has more than 1,250,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of five million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.

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