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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Bischoff Masterpiece Sets New Sale Record

Competitive bidding at Bonhams & Butterfields on August 3, 2009 pushed the price for a 1912 oil on canvas painted by Franz Bischoff to a record high for the artist. The international auctioneers’ sale of California and American Paintings and Sculpture established a new world auction record for Bischoff when the artist’s Roses sold for $798,000 – the highest price ever paid for a Bischoff work at auction.


The top painting of the auction was the impressionist work by Franz Bischoff titled Roses. The work depicted pink-hued blossoms artfully arranged against a backdrop of muted earthtones. The artist captured the roses playfully tumbling out of a basket as well as casually arranged in a decorated ceramic vase.

Throughout the painting, Bischoff expertly used color and vivid composition to emphasize his reverence for nature. He was known for his depiction of roses, many of which he grew in his own garden. The piece was accompanied by the original vase depicted in the composition.

“Bischoff’s rose paintings, such as the work offered during the August sale, are highly sought after at public auction. Roses, 1912 is considered by many to be his masterwork. It was this painting that earned him the moniker ‘King of the Rose Painters’. Bonhams & Butterfields is pleased to announce a new world auction record for the artist,” said Scot Levitt, Vice President and Fine Arts Department Director.

Lowtide Honfleur, a rare impressionist work by Guy Rose was also featured in the summer auction. A native Californian, he studied at the California School of Design before traveling to France to study in 1888. It is from this period that the oil on canvas Lowtide Honfleur comes. Prominently featured on the auctioneer’s catalog cover, the work brought $398,000 during the August sale.

Additional works of note from the Plein Air section of the sale included a classic California wildflower scene titled Spring by Granville Redmond (sold for: $170,000) and two works by William Wendt Far From the Maddening Crowd (sold for: $96,600) and Pasture Lands, c. 1925 (sold for: $54,900).

During the simulcast auction, robust bidding for California watercolors was seen in both the Los Angeles and San Francisco galleries. High points of the section included a colorful geometric painting titled The Cove by Phil Dike, which sold for $24,400, far surpassing the auction estimate of $7,000-9,000 as well as works by Millard Sheets and Charles Payzant.

“Although high end clients have become more selective, many of the moderately priced works faired extremely well during the August sale. Bonhams & Butterfields saw an influx of new buyers and strength in several genres including California watercolors for artists such as Dike, Sheets and Payzant,” said Levitt.

Additional works of note from the firm’s summer auction included Armin Hansen’s Wanderer of the Past (sold for: $130,000) as well as two paintings by Edgar Payne titled Majestic Alpine Scene (sold for: $61,000) and Surf at Laguna (sold for: $48,800).