Issue 45, Winter 2015

Editor's Letter: Lucinda Bredin "One of the many excitements of putting together each issue of this magazine is the astonishing range of beautiful, curious and unusual items offered for sale at Bonhams. Yet it often strikes me how impromptu themes emerge from forthcoming sales.

In this issue, I was struck by the notion of pioneers. Take the artists, Frederic Remington and Charles Marion Russell. They weren't the first painters to depict the Wild West, but with their vivid illustrations of life on the range – a collection of which is to be offered in New York's American Art Sale in November – they were responsible for propagating enduring myths of the cowboy era. (Did you know that High Noon has been screened at the White House more than any other film? Me neither.) One man who has marinated himself in legends is Larry McMurtry, whose Pulitzer prize-winning Western epic, Lonesome Dove, is a favourite of our Global CEO, Matthew Girling. Turn to page 54 for the real story on the taming of the oh-so-aptly named 'Wild West'.

Another creative pioneer is Andy Warhol. Nowadays, we are so swamped with reproductions and reworked 'found' images, that it is hard sometimes to appreciate how iconoclastic Warhol was. As a celebrated example of his Electric Chair series comes up in the Contemporary Art sale in February, on page 30 Adrian Dannatt examines the artist's grim obsession with death and disaster as a condition of the modern age.

Elsewhere in the magazine, Rachel Spence investigates the ongoing disparity in prices for the work of female artists compared to their male counterparts. Compare the £2 million offered for the most expensive painting by Abstract Expressionist Lee Krasner to the one by her partner, Jackson Pollock, which hammered for £37 million. Read all about it on page 46.

In another field, for the past 70 years the Land Rover has forged a path across the wildest terrains in the remotest areas of the world. As the two millionth Defender is sold for charity by Bonhams, Bear Grylls salutes this most intrepid – and pioneering – of vehicles.
Finally, mention must be made of a pioneer of the kitchen: our own Tom Kemble, Head Chef at Bonhams Restaurant, which has just been awarded a Michelin star – the first for any auction house, anywhere in the world. On page 67, Tom gives us an exclusive recipe from his autumn menu. We hope that you discover works in the magazine that will similarly whet your appetite. Enjoy the issue."

Lucinda Bredin

  1. Page 3

    Shock to the system

    Andy Warhol's screenprints of American iconography are instantly recognisable. But he was not afraid to delve into the darker side of life. Adrian Dannatt visits Death Row

    Do you believe in capital punishment?", Andy Warhol was asked by Glenn O'Brien, during an interview in 1977. To which Warhol replied with typical deadpan aplomb, "For art's sake, of ...

  2. Page 6

    Kind of blue

    It's the world's favourite colour, found in the rarest diamonds and in depictions of the Virgin Mary – and yet some cultures still don't have a word for it, says James Fox

    Why make so much of fragmentary blue
    In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
    Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
    When heaven presents in ...

  3. Charles Marion Russell (American, 1864-1926) A Shadow Rider 11 x 7in

    Page 8

    Fast draw

    As settlers carved out new lives, artists were inspired to depict the majestic landscapes and people of the American West. Larry McMurtry salutes these pioneering painters

    he opening of steamboat travel on the upper Missouri River in the 1830s offered artists of all stamps a fabulous opportunity. Before them lay the mythic West: its plains and mountains, its riches, its ...

  4. Page 10

    True grit

    The image of the cowboy has always been fed by myth. Rich Hall attempts to divide the truth from the tales

    I once watched a film called Meek's Cutoff, directed by Kelly Reichardt. Six Oregon-bound pioneers find themselves stranded and nearly waterless in the desert. The film's composition is stark, the characters framed microscopically against an endless alkaline ...

  5. Page 22

    King of the road

    For 70 years, the Land Rover has traversed difficult terrain
    all over the world. As the two-millionth vehicle is sold for charity at Bonhams, Bear Grylls gets behind the wheel of this British classic

    Among the kind of people with whom I keep company – adventurers, explorers and such like – there is a saying: "If you want to go into the ...

  6. Page 27

    Into the vortex

    William Roberts was one of the trailblazers of modern British art, but he was also his own worst enemy. Mark Hudson speaks up for a reclusive genius

    There are artists who have hugely enhanced their reputations through personal charm, an ability to work the system or simply by being nice people. Then there are those who stymie their progress at ...

  7. Page 32

    Club class

    As the finest golf painting in the world is offered for sale, Peter Alliss hails its subject – and his celebrated club

    It is not often that a world-famous piece of golfing memorabilia comes on the open market, but such is the case with the portrait of one Henry Callender, an early member of the Royal Blackheath Golf Club in South ...

  8. Page 35

    Out of the Ashcan

    As likely to be holding a drink in his hand as a brush, George Luks was a pugilist-cum-painter – and a key chronicler of everyday life in turn-of-the-century America, says Neil Lyndon

    1911 photograph of George Luks reveals the painter in a stance that discloses both his own character and the full-blooded commitment with which he followed the artist's style ...

  9. Page 37

    Star quality

    The very talented Tom Kemble tells Bruce Palling how he won a Michelin star for Bonhams Restaurant in record time

    It is the dream of most chefs to run their own restaurant by the time they reach their early thirties. But for that restaurant to win a Michelin star in its first year is more akin to fantasy. Remarkably, Tom ...

  10. Page 51

    Art for all

    Alongside the advances of the industrial revolution came a rise in municipal museums in regional cities, funded by philanthropic individuals. Giles Waterfield examines the motives of these 19th-century collectors

    Alderman Andrew Walker was famous for his pubs. Stylish, bold, alluring, they offered the inhabitants of Liverpool the excellent beer that flowed from Walker's breweries. They made him a great ...

  11. Page 64

    My favourite room
    Wilbur Smith

    Monet's water lilies in the Musée de' l'Orangerie are an unmissable panorama whenever the novelist Wilbur Smith visits Paris

    I am cheating a bit, because there are two – the consecutive rooms in the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, where Monet's paintings of water lilies are really special. It is a peaceful, beautiful place, built in 1852 ...

  12. Page 69

    Hall of plenty

    A home that has belonged to the same family for 300 years reveals an extraordinary array of treasures that have never left the house. Philippa Stockley discovers an exceptional collection

    Outside the portico of castellated Hooton Pagnell Hall in South Yorkshire, a hunt meets. The master of foxhounds is top-hatted, the other riders sport a variety of headgear. Thronged local ...

  13. Page 72

    Breaking the glass ceiling

    Female artists are attracting attention for commanding high prices – but why is their work still valued at less than their male counterparts? Rachel Spence investigates

    Last winter, headlines were made as a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe smashed the record for prices at auction for women artists. Entitled Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1, the 1932 painting of a white ...

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