David Bates’ Crab Legs Brings World-Record $275,000 at Heritage Auctions

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Event rides robust Texas Art market above $1.2 million

David Bates Crab Legs 1984
David Bates Crab Legs 1984

DALLAS, Texas (September 29, 2020) – David Bates’ Crab Legs set a world record when it sold for $275,000, more than five times its high pre-auction estimate, to lead the total for Heritage Auctions’ Texas Art Auction to $1,280,038.75.

More than 600 bidders weighed in during the event that boasted sell-through rates of 96.6% by value and 90% by lots sold.

“I am thrilled with the success of our Texas Art auction, but more than anything else, I am thrilled to report that the state of the Texas Art market remains strong,” Heritage Auctions Texas Art Director Atlee Phillips said. “Crab Legs is a spectacular David Bates painting. We knew there would be a great deal of interest, but even we were bit surprised about how competitive the bidding got.”

The top lot was one of seven by Bates in the auction, a list that also included:

Edward Muegge “Buck” Schiwetz’s Main Street, 1963 also inspired eager bidders who kept pursuing the painting until it closed at $52,500, more than 10 times its high pre-auction estimate. Schiwetz is known best for his illustrations of the oil and gas industry, and his depictions of historic Texas buildings and rural life capture the imaginations of lovers of both Texas art and Texas history.

Lajos Markos Heroes of Texas Portraits (12 works) tripled its low estimate when it drew a winning bid of $45,000. The lot included 12 portraits of legendary Texas figures like Sam Houston, Davie Crockett, James Bowie and William Travis. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Markos came to the U.S. after World War II; some of his works can be found in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

Velox Benjamin Ward’s The Cows Won’t Come Home brought $35,000 in the event, five times its low pre-auction estimate. The 18-by-24-inch oil on Masonite comes from a self-taught painter who relied heavily on his memories of growing up in rural East Texas during the early 20th century, which led to his creations centered on gardening, butchering meat, or in this case, tending to livestock.

Everett Franklin Spruce’s Night on the Boat, circa 1945 nearly doubled its high pre-auction estimate when it finished at $27,500. The 20-by-24-inch oil on Masonite is one of two lots in the event from the property from the Joanna M. Champlin Trust, which also produced Jesús Bautista Moroles’ Disk Weaving, 2005, which went for $11,250.

England-born Robert William Wood remained immensely popular among collectors. His  After the Shower, 1952 and Afternoon Bluebonnet Pasture, circa 1920s found new homes at $23,125and $20,625, respectively.

Other top lots included, but were not limited to:

Porfirio Salinas Spring by the River: $21,250

Edward Muegge “Buck” Schiwetz Abandoned Farm out of Winchester, Texas, 1978: $20,000

A.D. Greer Bluebonnets, 1985: $20,000

Charles Umlauf Horse: $18,750

Porfirio Salinas Texas Wildflowers: $18,750

For images and results for 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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