California Impressionist and Society of Six lead Winter auction at Bonhams

11 Dec 2012, California and Western Paintings & Sculpture
California and Western Paintings & Sculpture

California Impressionist and Society of Six lead Winter auction at Bonhams

11 Dec 2012, California and Western Paintings & Sculpture

Los Angeles - The December 11 auction of California Western Paintings and Sculpture at Bonhams featured a wide variety of important Impressionist works, Western scenes, Plein Air, Society of Six and land and cityscapes. Simulcast to San Francisco, the highly anticipated auction brought nearly $4.7 million and featured works by August Gay, Selden Connor Gile, Maurice Logan, Julian Onderdonk, Edgar Payne, Granville Redmond, Guy Rose, Charles Marion Russell, Frank Earle Schoonover, Bernard von Eichman and Newell Convers Wyeth, some of which came from the Collections of Robert H. Aichele and Margie and Robert E. Petersen.

The top painting of the 220 lot December sale was "Woman sewing" (pre-auction estimate $400,000-600,000, sold for $782,000) by Guy Rose, a signature example of early American Impressionist painting. The influence of French Impressionism is clearly exemplified in the use of diffused light through the trees and the wispy, fresh quality of brushwork throughout the background. Rose has taken this Impressionistic style an extra step by juxtaposing a truly Plein Air setting with a more carefully finished sitter. The viewer's eye is drawn to the fine detail of the woman's face, hands, dress and shoes tantalized all the while by the play of light and color throughout the trees and inlet beyond.

According the Roy C. Rose, the grand nephew of the artist, this painting was probably executed in New England shortly after Guy and Ethel Rose returned to America in late 1912. This work resembles other paintings executed in the summers of 1913 and 1914 in Wickford, Rhode Island. In fact, the same wooden gazebo that surrounds the woman sewing is seen in Rose's painting "Girl in a Wickford Garden." A letter written by the artist's grand nephew, discussing this painting, accompanies this lot.

Scot Levitt, Vice President and Fine Arts Department Director, said of the painting: "The works Guy Rose created following his time in France, such as 'Woman sewing,' are always highly sought after among collectors. This painting is considered by many to be one of the artist's finest works. Bonhams was pleased to present 'Woman sewing' during its holiday auction."

Of the many important Society of Six works offered from the Collection of Robert H. Aichele, significant prices were achieved for "China #3" by Bernard von Eichman (pre-auction estimate $50,000-70,000, sold for $176,500); the auction catalog's cover lot, "Woman in the garden" by August Gay (pre-auction estimate $70,000-90,000, sold for $176,500); "Belvedere Waterfront" by Maurice Logan (pre-auction estimate $30,000-50,000, sold for $74,500) and three paintings by Selden Connor Gile titled "Cows and Pasture" (pre-auction estimate $70,000-90,000, sold for $206,500), "Main Street, Tiburon, with boats" (pre-auction estimate $80,000-120,000, sold for $194,500) and "The Bathers" (pre-auction estimate $70,000-90,000, sold for $92,500).

According to Levitt: "This sale was one of the most complete offerings of Society of Six artists to public auction in recent years. We were pleased with the strong result."

Additional highlights from the winter auction included "Field of bluebonnets at sunset" by Julian Onderdonk (pre-auction estimate $150,000-200,000, sold for $326,500); "Deer in landscape" by Charles Marion Russell (pre-auction estimate $150,000-250,000, sold for $188,500) from the Collection of Margie and Robert E. Petersen; "As the canoe swept by" by Frank Earle Schoonover (pre-auction estimate $80,000-120,000, sold for $182,500); "The Topmost Peak" by Edgar Payne (pre-auction estimate $150,000-250,000, sold for $170,500); "A California Mission" by Newell Convers Wyeth (pre-auction estimate $100,000-150,000, sold for $122,500) and "California landscape with poppies and eucalyptus" by Granville Redmond (pre-auction estimate $40,000-60,000, sold for $60,000). Bonhams continues to hold the world auction record for a painting by Redmond, which was set in April of 2009 for $542,000.

Auctions of California and Western Paintings and Sculpture will continue in spring 2013. The illustrated auction catalog will be available online for review and purchase in the weeks preceding the sale at


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 appraisal services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

Related auctions