On Sunday, December 9, 2012, Clars Auction Gallery
hosted their monthly Fine Art sale which included the exceptional collection of 20th century Southwestern paintings and prints from the Estate of Bob Langell of Oakland, CA and Albuquerque, NM. After the record-breaking sale, Rick Unruh, Vice President and Director of Fine Arts commented, We were quite impressed by the early 20th century Southwestern art results. There were phone bidders from coast to coast participating. After seeing todays prices, it does appear that the fine art market is alive and well again and we are very optimistic about what lies ahead for 2013.
Headlining the stellar performance for Clars, according to Unruh, was the rare painting by Raymond Jonson (American, 1981-1982) titled Arroyo 4 (1922). Coming from the Langell Estate, this signed framed oil on board was expected to sell for $12,000 on the high side. Very competitive bidding on this work drove the final sale price to $65,175.
Coming in second to Jonson was the beautiful oil on canvas by Southwestern artist Howard Schleeter (1903-1976). Entitled Spur Line (Las Vegas, New Mexico-1938), this signed and dated oil on canvas measured 24 by 30. Bidding opened on this work at $8,000 but it quickly soared to a new world record for this artist achieving $26,070.
More outperformers from Mr. Langells collection were works on paper such as a charcoal drawing by Taos artist, Kenneth Miller Adams (1897-1966) titled, Portrait of a Young Woman. Estimated to sell for $1,000 to $2,000, it fetched an impressive $7,110.
In the prints category, etchings from the Langell collection also performed very well. Taos in Winter by Gene Kloss (American, 1903-1996) soared past its high estimate of $2,000 to a hammer price of $5,036.
Another highlight of the sale came in photography. An early gelatin silver print from 1936 by Brett Weston (American, 1911-1993) titled, Dunes (Oceano, California), flew past its estimate of $5,000 to $7,000 to an incredible realized price of $17,775. Equally as impressive, was a vibrant and inscribed acrylic on canvas by Peter Max (American, b. 1937) from 1999 titled Valentine, which sold for $7,702.
The Fine Arts sale performed vigorously across the board with high prices for both the Langell Estate and the other fine art offerings from other fine estates and private collections. Among the bronzes offered from a private collection was Galloping Cherkessians, by Vassili Yacovlevitch Grachev (Russian, 1831- 2277 1905). This bronze sold nicely for $15,405.