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Bonhams presents week of American art with two sales in Los Angeles & New York
Edgar Payne (American, 1883-1947) Riders passing through the canyon. Estimate U.S. $150,000-250,000. Photo: Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- American Art at Bonhams presents its fall offerings on both coasts this November—opening with California and Western Paintings and Sculpture on Nov. 21 in Los Angeles; and concluding with American Art on Nov. 22 in New York. The sales showcase important works by iconic American artists from the 19th and 20th centuries, including E. Charlton Fortune, Paul Howard Manship, and Andrew Wyeth, among other renowned names.

Bonhams is the only international auction house to feature American Art on both coasts with five dedicated auctions per year.

E. Charlton Fortune is best known for colorful landscapes featuring architecture, figures, and elements of modern life. Strong in color, these works are rugged and gestural in execution. After training in New York, she spent many years actively painting in and around Monterey, Calif. Beginning in the summer of 1914, her colorful scenes of the area proved to be her most iconic works.

One of her works from the late 1920s, Untitled (Monterey) (estimate U.S. $500,000-700,000) is on the auction block, headlining California and Western Paintings and Sculpture on Nov. 21. This painting depicts Monterey Bay and the township with Mount Toro in the background. Fortune was daring by California standards, not only in terms of color and paint-handling, but in the depiction of contemporary buildings, boats, and commerce. She balanced the vitality of modern life and the architecture in the area against the classic beauty of the terrain.

This will be the third known Monterey work by Fortune to come up for auction, and the second for Bonhams since a world-record price of U.S. $1,832,000 was achieved for Late afternoon, Monterey (1914), against an estimate of $300,000-500,000 in 2007. Bonhams continues to lead her market at auction, holding the top eight record prices for her works.

For Western Art collectors, the sale features a strong selection of works including Riders Passing Through The Canyon by Edgar Payne (estimate U.S. $150,000-250,000). Art historian Peter H. Hassrick writes in Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey, “In a biographical sketch written after Payne's death by his widow and fellow artist, Elsie Palmer Payne, it is suggested that of all the locations that beckoned him as a muse, the American Southwest was perhaps the most compelling.”

In this oil on canvas work, Payne used numerous techniques to stress and convey the immensity of the Navajo environment. His mastery of composition and color shines through, crafting the red cliff walls with bright salmon highlights to project the hot, baked quality of the sandstone in the morning sun. The perspective is from the elevation of the dry river bed, as low a spot as possible to draw the viewer’s eyes upwards.

The sale will also feature a selection of Pacific Northwest works, including two by the Alaskan artist Sydney Laurence from the collection of Belle Simpson, Laurence’s primary dealer and proprietor of The Nugget Shop in Juneau, Alaska, a downtown outpost for Alaskan items and native art.

A distinguished and diverse collection of 19th and 20th century Hawaiian works rounds out the sale, including Kilauea at Night (1887) by Jules Tavernier (estimate U.S. $30,000-50,000) and Kona Coffee Plantation along the Kailua-Kona Coast (1970) by Lloyd Sexton, Jr. (estimate U.S. $20,000-30,000).

Other significant lots in this sale are:

• GUY ROSE (1867-1925), Woods, Cove, Laguna; estimate U.S. $120,000-180,000

• EDGAR PAYNE (1883-1947), The Fleet Returning at Day's End; estimate U.S. $100,000-150,000

• JOSEPH KLEITSCH (1882-1931), Laguna coastal scene; estimate U.S. $80,000-120,000

• JACK WILKINSON SMITH (1873-1949), High Sierra Pack Trip; estimate U.S. $60,000-80,000

• GRANVILLE REDMOND (1871-1935), Rolling fields of poppies on a hazy day; estimate U.S. $50,000-70,000

• JESSIE ARMS BOTKE (1883-1971), Hidden Kingdom; estimate U.S. $50,000-70,000

One of Paul Howard Manship’s favorite Greek myths tells the story of Artemis (known as Diana by the ancient Romans) and Acteon. Intrigued by the narrative years before he modeled the bronze sculpture of Diana (1921; estimate U.S. $400,000-600,000) featured in the American Art auction on Nov. 22, Manship produced sketches of the mythological character as early as 1915 during his first summer in Cornish, N.H. The present version of Diana is the original and smallest the artist completed on the subject, though he did produce an additional bronze version in 1921 and explored similar sized models of Acteon in 1923.

Although there is evidence that Manship experimented with casting other models in sterling silver and he did frequently apply his bronzes with select areas of gilt, there are no known examples of Diana, beyond the present work, that include such a significant amount of silver plating. With the original silver plating having survived the century that followed its execution, this work is a model of the artist's highest technique and craftsmanship. The level of detail is an example of exceptional quality and imagination.

Hidden away in a private collection for three generations, the work comes to auction from the Estate of Sylvia McLaughlin, a renowned environmentalist, of Northern California.

In addition to the Manship, the sale boasts a strong selection of American bronzes including works by Bessie Potter Vonnoh, Charles Schreyvogel, Frederick William MacMonnies, Edith Parsons, and Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington among others. A second work by Paul Manship entitled The Spear Thrower, also from 1921 (estimate U.S. $25,000-35,000) is one of twelve cast and the first example to ever come to auction.

Also represented in the auction is a selection of fine American Modernist works by Stieglitz Circle artists, such as Charles Demuth, Alfred Henry Maurer and Marsden Hartley. Notable 19th century artists are also represented including Albert Bierstadt, Sanford Gifford, and Childe Hassam.

Other significant lots in this sale are:

• MARTIN JOHNSON HEADE (1819-1904), Seascape at Sunset; estimate U.S. $120,000-180,000

• MARSDEN HARTLEY (1877-1943), Still Life with Calla; estimate U.S. $100,000-150,000

• ROBERT HENRI (1865-1929), Betalo, The Dancer; estimate U.S. $80,000-120,000

• JAMIE WYETH (BORN 1946), Nine is a Secret; estimate U.S. $80,000-120,000

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