Heritage Auction Galleries Texas Art Sale

. July 5, 2009

A veritable Who’s Who of Texas art, past and present, will impart spirit, artistic grace and Lone Star State pride at an auction of Texas Art at Heritage Auction Galleries on July 16, at the company’s Slocum Street Annex in Dallas’s Downtown Design District.

A stunning piece of Texas modernism leads the offerings. Olin Travis’s (1888-1975) 1955 masterpiece Lakeside is a watershed moment in Texas painting and is a seminal piece of modern art. Paintings executed with as much skill and vision as Lakeside prove that Travis, like many “Texas” artists, are American Modernists first, painters that defy the limitations of the “Regionalist” label. It carries an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

“There are moments in the creative life of every artist when they produce a work which distinguishes itself from the rest of their oeuvre” said Atlee Phillips, Consignment Director, Texas Art at Heritage. “Lakeside is just such a painting – a masterpiece of Texas Modernism. It is an artwork that furthers our understanding of Texas Regionalism and its place in context of the larger modernist movement.”

“Lakeside (1955) is most definitely a ‘major’ painting in Travis’ body of work, probably the most stylistically representative post-1940 landscape,” said Travis scholar and friend Sam Blain, “and when the definitive ‘Olin Herman Travis Retrospective’ is organized, I truly hope this piece is included.”

Florence Elliot McCLung’s (1896-1994) Volcanic Cone at Fort Davis, Texas, 1930, and Stuart Gentling’s (1942-2006) Parrot on a Stand also represent fine examples of important work by Texas artists at the peak of their powers.

McClung, an artist of the same school as Travis, began painting in the early 1920s, gaining note for her romanticized rural landscapes. Volcanic Cone at Fort Davis Texas, 1930, is just such an example of her work. This charming painting eloquently captures the Texas scenery and invokes the peace and awe simultaneously inspired by the dramatic Texas landscape. It is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.

Stuart Gentling, along with his brother Scott, could be called the ultimate Texas painters, especially when it comes to painting the land, flora, and fauna of the Texas landscape. Their travels across the state – from the ranches of South and West Texas, to the Piney Woods of East Texas, to subjects close to home in North Texas – provided them with a wealth of subject matter. Stuart passed away in 2005. Parrot on a Stand shows Gentling’s keen interest in, and knowledge, of ornithology; in fact, he was a skilled taxidermist and was often given deceased birds by The Fort Worth Zoo to preserve and paint. This painting is one of a pair originally purchased to hang together. It carries an estimate of $8,000 – $12,000. There are three more lots being offered by the brothers, including a copy of their Of Birds and Texas book and one of the original water colors of a print from the book.

Further highlights of the auction include, but are not limited to:

Julian Onderdonk (1882-1922), Evening Near Jackson, Southwest Texas:
Onderdonk was a native of San Antonio and the son of the artist Robert Jenkins Onderdonk. He enjoyed considerable success in his lifetime and became best known for his paintings of bluebonnets. He also loved to depict the Texas Hill Country. He died an early death at age 40 and his paintings have steadily grown in stature and price. His work is the most admired and sought after of any Early Texas artist. Evening Near Jackson, Southwest Texas features one of the artist’s favorite subjects: a road curving through the Southwest hills of Texas.
Estimate: $50,000 – $70,000.

Everett Franklin Spruce (1908-2002), After the Rainstorm, 1990: Spruce is one of the best known artists of the “Dallas Nine,” a group of regional modernists who helped define the Texas Art scene beginning in the 1920s. After the Rainstorm is an abstracted landscape with expressive surfaces and contrasting fields that creates dynamic yet barely restrained energy. A compelling and seductive canvas. Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000.

Jo LeMay Rutledge (20th Century), The American Barditch I, 2008: In The American Barditch I, Rutledge has taken a new approach to the Texas landscape. Instead of a classic image of open vistas or fenced ranchland, she has placed the viewer in the ditch around the fence. The barbed wire becomes the horizon line, and the grasses, wildflowers, and birds are all crowded around and caught in the ditch, safe from destruction outside the reach of hungry stock. Rutledge paints in a compelling and contemporary style, but the most interesting aspect of these paintings may be the fact that she captures the realities of the modern Texas ranch free from the idealization of previous artists. Estimate: $5,000 – $7,000.

Sharon Kopriva (b. 1948), Figure in Waiting, 1984: Houston artist Sharon Kopriva has gained accolades and provoked strong reactions throughout the world for her paintings and sculptures, which exhibit the influences of her Catholic background and a trip to Peru in 1981. These experiences, cultural, political, and religious, have contributed much to the development of her iconic and often humorous images of expressionistic mummy-like figures. Figure in Waiting (1984) is dark in subject matter, which stands in contrast to the brilliantly expressionistic use of color and line. In this painting, as with many others by her, Kopriva has shown a willingness to address some of the most disturbing and elemental aspects of the human condition without having to sacrifice her inherent talent for making exquisite art. Estimate: $8,000 – $12,000.

Paul Richard Schuman (1876-1946), Gulf Coast Scene, 1922: Paul Schumann has been called the interpreter of the true Texas gulf coast and this painting is a fine examples of Schumann’s quintessential style. Schumann captured the beauty and essence of the Texas Coast at the beginning of the twentieth century. Estimate: $8,000 – $12,000.

Robert Williams Wood (1889-1979), Bluebonnets, 1933: Oil on canvas, 20 x 30 inches. Signed and dated lower left: Robert Wood 1933. Estimate: $12,000 – $18,000.

Porfirio Salinas (1910-1973) Landscape with Flowering Cactus: Oil on canvas laid on board, 12 x 16 inches. Signed lower right: Porfirio Salinas. Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000.

For more information on the Art of The American West & Texas auction, to read detailed descriptions of these, and any other lots, and to download full-color, enlargeable images, go online to www.HA.com/5019.

To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalog, please contact Client Services at 1-800-872-6467, ext. 1150, or visit www.HA.com/Catalog to order by email.

Heritage Auction Galleries is the world’s third largest auction house, and by far the largest auctioneer of rare collectibles, with annual sales more than $700 million, and 450,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.HA.com.

Image: OLIN TRAVIS (American, 1888-1975) – Lakeside, 1955 Oil on canvas 20-1/2 x 49 inches (52.1 x 124.5 cm) Signed lower left and right: Olin Travis Titled and signed verso: “Lakeside” / by Olin Travis / Dallas, TX

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