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Masterworks by Moran, Sandzén, Couse, Rockwell highlight May 3 American Art Signature Auction
Birger Sandzén (Swedish/American, 1871-1954), Creek at Twilight, 1927. Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches. Estimate: $300,000 - $500,000.

DALLAS, TX.- Continuing in its reputation for offering outstanding examples from virtually every category of American Art, Heritage Auctions' American Art Signature Auction May 3 will feature masterworks by trailblazers such as Thomas Moran, E. Irving Couse, Birger Sandzén and Norman Rockwell. Additionally, a significant selection of Early American Modernist works on paper from the collection of Dr. and Mrs. Henry and May Ann Gans will prove a true highlight for savvy collectors.

Leading the sale is Thomas Moran's Mountain Lion in Grand Canyon (Lair of the Mountain Lion) (est. $600,000-800,000). Previously owned by distinguished Western Art collector William Thomas Gilcrease, the painting's impeccable provenance further underscores its importance within Moran's oeuvre. Although Gilcrease donated the majority of his collection to his eponymous museum in Tulsa, he kept Mountain Lion in Grand Canyon for himself, ultimately gifting it to his daughter, Des Cygne. The painting has remained in the family of Des Cygne's husband, the late Corwin D. Denney, a Gilcrease Museum board member and philanthropist in his own right.

"Once again, we have obtained a superb selection of American works from private sources, and we are thrilled to present fresh to market masterworks at various price points. Considered by many to be the premier painter of the American West, Thomas Moran captured the imagination of viewers at the turn of the century, and his works such as this helped inspire the creation of the National Park System,"said Aviva Lehmann, Heritage Auctions' Director of American Art.

Birger Sandzén's Creek at Twilight (est. $300,000-500,000) from 1927 is a large-scale example of the artist's painterly virtuoso. Exemplifying his hallmark Fauvist palette and bold, energized brushwork, this monumental example showcases the artist's ability to truly dazzle his viewer. Purchased in 1927 directly from the artist's trunk by the graduating class of Washington High School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Creek at Twilight has remained in the school's possession to this day. Appearing at auction directly from the Washington High School Alumni Scholarship Foundation, proceeds from the sale will benefit the foundation's Continuing Education Scholarship Fund.

Creating a rare and special opportunity for collectors, Heritage Auctions is also offering the masterwork by E. Irving Couse, The Pottery Connoisseur, circa 1930, (est. $100,000-150,000) along with the actual Zia pot featured in this striking composition. The Pottery Connoisseur was purchased directly from Couse's son, Kibbey, in 1964 by famed Taos School collectors Veda and Ward Vickery.

Study of Triple Self Portrait, 1960, (est. $150,000-250,000) is a superbly painted preparatory work for what is certainly one of Norman's Rockwell's most iconic images. Here, the artist, with his back to the viewer and gripping his signature pipe, renders an idealized image of himself on canvas, providing an amusing contrast with his bespectacled reflection in the mirror. The final painting, in permanent collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum, electrified the cover of the Feb. 13, 1960 Saturday Evening Post, which debuted the first installment of Rockwell's memoir, My Adventures as an Illustrator. The present study, executed in oil on photographic paper, originally was gifted to Rockwell's friend, Henry Strawn.

Heritage Auctions is thrilled to offer early Modernist works from the collection of Dr. and Mrs. Henry and May Ann Gans. Dr. Gans' involvement in medical research resulted in a study of the anatomy of the liver that served as a foundation for contemporary liver surgery, and in 1969 as an early liver transplant surgeon, he performed the first two clinical split-liver transplantations at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center. While residing in New York City in the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. and Mrs. Gans became avid collectors of Early American Modernism and Abstract Expressionism. Highlights include John Marin's Headed Down East, (est. $25,000-35,000), Milton Avery's Bridle Path - Central Park West at 67th Street, (est. $25,000-35,000) and Joseph Stella's Elevated Railroad, ($20,000-30,000). Proceeds from the sale of this marvelous group of works will go to support the research fellowship at the American College of Surgeons - foundation that is dear to the Gans' hearts.

Others highlights include, but are not limited to:

ˇ Rockwell Kent's Greenland (Spring) (est. $50,000-70,000), which epitomizes the artist's Modernist interpretation of man's role within a vast wilderness

ˇ Charles Marion Russell's early Indian portrait, Wolf Robe, of 1896 (est. $50,000-70,000)

ˇ Frank Weston Benson's, Down Stream, a work on paper that relates to the artist's celebrated oil, Indian Guide, of 1927 (est.$40,000-60,000)

ˇ Stevan Dohanos' delightful First Day of School, Saturday Evening Post magazine cover, Sept. 2, 1944 (est. $25,000-35,000)

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