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Onderdonk Blue Bonnets bring $103,000, Texas contemporary art steals spotlight at Heritage Auctions
Billy Hassell (American, b. 1957), Morning on the Trinity River, Ft. Worth, 2010. Oil on canvas, 40 x 36 inches.

DALLAS, TX.- Julian Onderdonk's A Blue Bonnet Field-Evening, 1921, took top-lot honors at $103,125 in Heritage Auctions' Texas Art Auction; but the day belonged to contemporary Texas artists, whose artworks surpassed all expectations and claimed five of the top 10 lots sold May 21 in Dallas.

"There's a lot of intriguing interest in Texas contemporary art," said Atlee Phillips, Director of Texas Art at Heritage. "Of course, Onderdonk's work nearly always performs well at auction, but the demand for contemporary artists cannot be ignored. It's an exciting time for contemporary Texas art; the market is very strong."

Leading the selection of contemporary art is Red Pickup, 1992, by the Dallas-based David Bates, which sold for $27,500. Bates' paintings continue to see broad interest at auction, especially after Heritage set a new auction record for the artist in 2014 during its presentation of The Belo Collection of Texas Art.

Bill Hassell's Morning on the Trinity River, Ft. Worth, 2010, set a new artist auction record when the vibrant oil on canvas expertly-displaying the artists' love of light, color, and wildlife, sold for $25,000, against a $6,000 estimate. Dusk by Kermit Oliver sold for $22,500; and Blue Willow, a 1984 painting by Bates sold for $22,500.

Storm Sunset, Lake Travis, circa 1950s, by Everett Franklin Spruce appeared at auction from a private Dallas collection to sell for $18,750 and a 36-14-inch high sculpture by Jess Bautista Moroles, made of pink granite and titled Totem sold for $15,000 against a $3,000 estimate. Moroles' monumental sculpture has been exhibited in installations throughout the United States, including a 22-foot sculpture in the New York CBS Plaza. Scissor-Tails, 2010, a semi-abstracted painting of Texas's wild ecosystem by Hassell sold for $13,750.

Early Texas Impressionism retained its devoted following as Landscape with Apple Blossom Treesby Onderdonk sold for $21,250 and Entrance to the Gallagher Ranch in Bandera, Texas, 1931, by Dawson Dawson-Watson ended at $15,000.

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