Jackson Hole Art Auction
On a rocky outcropping, in dry golden grasses, pose two magnificent lions. Their tautly delineated musculature ripples under tawny fur, and their seemingly audible, full-throated roar has not dulled in the nearly 100 years since BRÜLLENDE LÖWEN (ROARING LIONS) was put down on canvas by renowned German wildlife painter Friedrich Wilhelm Kuhnert. With less than a thousand of his known works still in existence, it is particularly exciting that the Jackson Hole Art Auction features eight of his remaining, coveted pieces at this year’s 10th annual event. Kuhnert’s paintings are among a number of masterworks highlighted, including an important oil by N.C. Wyeth that has never been previously offered (with an estimated auction value of $500,000-$700,000). Also on the block is a collection of masterpieces by members of the Taos Society of Artists. “It is unusual to have works of this quality from them come on the market,” notes Roxanne Hofmann, a partner at Trailside Galleries.
This significant auction, presented jointly by Trailside and Gerald Peters Gallery, draws avid domestic and international collectors alike. Described by Hofmann as “closely curated,” the premier art sale’s high standards are evident in its tagline: Masterworks of the American West. The offerings come from both renowned, highly collected figures of the past as well as sought-after contemporary artists, displaying a variety of genres including landscape and figurative, wildlife and western.
The live auction, which takes place at Jackson’s Center for the Arts, is divided into two sessions. The first is geared toward emerging young collectors, with approximately 120 works available at more accessible prices on Friday, September 16, starting at noon, with preview hours the previous day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Among the highlights are a series of small pieces by John Banovich, Henry Farny, and Gerard Curtis Delano. Much anticipated and often standing-room-only, Session II begins at noon on Saturday the 17th, when over 200 significant works of art are auctioned, all available for viewing during a Friday preview from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Among noteworthy offerings, Walter Ufer’s OCTOBER, an autumnal scene made even more vibrant with its unexpected shock of ochre cottonwoods, is expected to fetch between $300,000 and $450,000. Hofmann is also particularly proud to make available a selection of important portraits of Native Americans by E.S. Paxson, as well as two never-before-auctioned works by western artist and illustrator John Clymer, MOVING CAMP and SEPTEMBER. “Both were painted in 1972,” she notes, “a historic year in his long career.”
Yet another highlight of Session II is the awarding of the Top Tier prize, now in its third year. A number of contemporary artists—including Bonnie Marris, Mian Situ, Ken Carlson, William Acheff, and Logan Maxwell Hagege—have been invited to submit work created expressly for this competition. All submitted pieces are available for bidding, and a jury of three curators awards $10,000 to the work deemed to be of significant merit. It makes a fitting present-day addition to the long aesthetic legacy celebrated by the Jackson Hole Art Auction. —Lynn Dubinsky
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