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Rose and Wendt lead auction and new records for Willard Nash and Paul Grimm
Willard Ayer Nash, "View of Santa Fe" sold for $137,000 including premium. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Guy Rose and William Wendt paintings led a stellar group of American Impressionist works sold at Bonhams, the third largest international fine art auction house, in its California and Western Paintings & Sculpture auction on August 5 in Los Angeles. A classic, bucolic French scene by Guy Rose sold for an impressive $275,000, while William Wendt’s painting "Vibrant Coast" (Dana Point), rendered near his home in Laguna Beach, achieved $233,000 (estimate $150,000-200,000). The latter illustrates Wendt's acute perception of the tonal subtleties of California's ocean blue coastline.

The catalog's cover lot image, Alson Skinner Clark's "The locks at Panama" fetched $137,000 (estimate $70,000-100,000), soaring past twice its low estimate. Though Clark made his home in California, his fondness for travel led him to Panama, where he was inspired by the construction of the Panama Canal lock system, the product of great human ingenuity, as depicted in his work. Recognized as one of the most innovative of the early twentieth century Northern California painters, Selden Connor Gile and his warm and radiating painting "Tiburon highway along the lagoon," also sold for $137,000 (estimate $80,000-120,000). The subject of his work came about after moving to Tiburon in Marin County, where he developed an affection for the beautiful and peaceful community. A surprising result occurred for Willard Ayer Nash's painting "View of Santa Fe," in which auction bidding rose to a final amount of $137,000 (estimate $10,000-15,000), exceeding nearly 14 times its low estimate. The highly coveted painting went to a successful telephone bidder from the Southwest, and Bonhams now holds the record for the highest price achieved at auction for the artist. Another auction record was broken for Paul A. Grimm's landscape painting "Beverly Hills," achieving $40,000 (estimate $10,000-15,000), surpassing four times its low estimate.

Additional noteworthy paintings that reached above their high estimates are Albert Bierstadt's work "View through the trees" at $75,000 (estimate $40,000-60,000) and Maurice Braun's "California vista" at $70,000 (estimate $40,000-60,000). Other top selling highlights include Edgar Payne's "Mount Alice" which realized $68,750 and Western paintings “Riders” by Ernest Martin Hennings and "At the hitching post" by Oscar Edmund Berninghaus, which claimed $68,750 and $62,500 respectively.

Overall, the auction accomplished a strong sales total of $3.3 million from 182 lots with 87 percent of lots sold by value. The auction room witnessed lively bidding from more than 290 registered bidders represented online, in person and on the telephones.

Scot M. Levitt, Bonhams Director of Fine Arts commented, "A larger-than-usual audience in both San Francisco and Los Angeles gave us the impression as we began that this was going to be a strong sale. Fortunately we were not disappointed, as bidding developed throughout each of the various categories within the auction. It feels as though the market is well on its way back to the highs of six to eight years ago. We are always striving to increase the quality of the paintings offered, as sought after by our buyers, and look forward to even more stellar results in November."

Further auction details can be found at

Currently the department is accepting consignments for its next California and Western Paintings & Sculpture auction set for November 24.

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