LOS ANGELES – Bonhams auction of California & Western Paintings & Sculpture realised a total of $4,954,575 on April 30 at the Sunset Boulevard salesroom. The highly anticipated evening auction saw heavy interest from US clients, the majority of whom were California-based, although offers came from as far away as the UK and Hong Kong. Telephone bidders dominated throughout, engaging in regular bidding wars with online bidders and attendees.
The auction's top lot was E. Charlton Fortune's The Senora's Garden. Painted circa 1918, the lot more than tripled its pre-sale low estimate, achieving $722,500. Depicting the area around Carmel, The Senora's Garden masterfully transferred Impressionist methods to the California Landscape.
Guy Rose's painting At Duck Cove more than doubled its pre-sale low to realise $458,500. Duck cove is located along the coast of Rhode Island, where Rose spent time after returning from France in 1912. After returning to California, Rose painted up and down the California coast, completing many notable works including Moonlight – Arch Beach, Laguna circa 1916-1919. The rare nocturnal composition, using a restricted palette while demonstrating a superb understanding of light, sold for $290,500.
Perhaps the evening's biggest successes were the world-record prices achieved for work by Charles Reiffel. Using an uninhibited combination of Impressionist and Expressionist techniques, Reiffel occupies a unique position among California plein air painters. His 1937 Rainy Evening nearly doubled its pre-sale low estimate, realising $398,500, while his 1938 To Wander – In San Diego Back Country sold for $134,500. Reiffel painted both works late in life, his most acclaimed period. The previous record for a Reiffel was $70,000.
Works by Granville Redmond also performed very well. The artist's Spring in Southern California, a colourful and quintessential example of his near pointillist style, realised $446,500. Valley Splendour, Redmond's exceptional and dramatic take on the classic California plein air painting, sold for $134,500.
Other notable results included Maurice Braun's California Splendour, which more than tripled its pre-sale low estimate to sell for $188,500. From the auction's Western Art section, Oscar Edmund Berninghaus' Tracks on the Trail nearly doubled its pre-sale high estimate, achieving $284,500, while Joseph Henry Sharp's The Old Chief's Query sold for $242,500.
"We are very pleased with the sale's results, which set world records and saw many lots significantly surpassing their estimates," said Scot Levitt, Bonhams Vice President and Director of Fine Arts at Bonhams in Los Angeles and San Francisco. "Bonhams is the only international auction house to present dedicated sales of California & Western Art, and we're proud to be the market leaders."
Bonhams next auction of California & Western Paintings will take place in August in Los Angeles.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com