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Vivid landscapes highlight Bonhams California and Western Paintings Auction
Alson Skinner Clark (1876-1949), The locks at Panama. Oil on canvas, overall: 62 3/4 x 49 3/4in. Painted in 1913. Estimate: $70,000-100,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Bonhams celebrates summer with a top quality offering of landscape works in its California and Western Paintings & Sculpture Auction on August 5 at Sunset Boulevard and simulcast with its San Francisco saleroom.

William Wendt's "Vibrant Coast (Dana Point)," recently exhibited at a prestigious museum, is on offer for an estimate of $150,000-200,000. Wendt captures the California coastline in his most emblematic and recognized style, showcasing the vibrancy of the Pacific tides breaking upon the rocky shoreline of Dana Point near Laguna Beach. From the coast to the mountains, the diverse California landscape was an endless source of visual appeal, particularly for Edgar Payne, the poet-painter of the Sierras. His work entitled "Mount Alice" (estimate $50,000-70,000) was inspired by the numerous trips he made to the Sierra mountains.

Works with intriguing history include M. Evelyn McCormick's "Sherman House, Monterey," also referred to as Casa Bonifacio (estimate $25,000-35,000). According to legend in the late 1840's, the young General William T. Sherman, once stationed in California, formed a less than appropriate relationship with the lady of the house - the lovely, wealthy, young woman Maria Ygnacia Bonifacio. On one particular visit, he unpinned a red rose from his uniform and planted it in her garden. The legend has it that the flower grew and covered the facade of the house. Joseph Lee's illustration of the residence of Dr. Samuel Merritt (estimate $40,000-60,000), painted with extraordinary topographical detail, reveals a rare early glimpse of what has become downtown Oakland. Besides donating the lake that bears his name, Merritt was credited with helping to ensure that Oakland became the terminus of the transcontinental railroad in the late 19th century.

Other landscape highlights feature Alson Skinner Clark's "The locks at Panama" (estimate $70,000-100,000), a painting of impressive quality and scale rendered from deep inside the locks. It affirms the challenges that men faced in their effort to tame the jungle terrain. Clark, who was strongly influenced by French Impressionism and adopted plein-air techniques, transformed an historically treacherous construction site into a serene setting by applying pastel purple, green and blue hues. Guy Rose, whose works were influenced by his time in Giverny with Claude Monet, captures a Normandy farmhouse nestled in a lush landscape. Rose turns the quotidian scene into brilliant patches of greens and browns using delicate brushstrokes (estimate $300,000-500,000).

Seldon Connor Gile's work "Tiburon highway along the lagoon" (estimate $80,000-120,000), Oscar Edmund Berninghaus's "At the hitching post" (estimate $50,000-70,000), Ernest Martin Hennings's "Riders" (estimate $50,000-70,000) and Albert Bierstadt's "Bathers along a rocky coast" (estimate $50,000-70,000) will also be offered.

Bonhams Director of Fine Art, Scot Levitt states, "We are fortunate to have collected numerous extraordinary offerings for this auction. Finding top examples by the best California and Western artists is getting more and more difficult, as the top lots continue to go into private and public collections, never to come out again. This sale features a variety of exceptional works, and we have worked hard to vet the auction and include only the cream of the crop. We encourage all that are interested to contact us and allow us to provide a tour and history of the collection."

The California and Western Paintings & Sculpture Auction takes place on August 5 in the Bonhams Los Angeles saleroom.

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