Western art prices soar sky high at Hindman's Western Art, Including Contemporary Native American Art Auction

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Western art prices soar sky high at Hindman's Western Art, Including Contemporary Native American Art Auction
Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius (American, 1869-1959), Mountain Caribou. Price Realized: $368,750.

DENVER, CO.- The strength of the Western Art and Contemporary Native American Art markets were on full display at Hindman on November 4 as its Western Art, Including Contemporary Native American Art more than doubled its presale estimate achieving $3.4 million while selling over 97% of all lots offered. The auction received immense interest from bidders around the globe, with more international bidders registering to phone bid than any Hindman Western Art auction in its history.

“What is remarkable about this auction is that every single category performed well,” said Hindman’s Director and Specialist of Western & Wildlife Art Bart Monson. “The enthusiasm for everything from the classical Western pieces to the Contemporary Native American artwork was palpable all day and is indicative of the strength of the market today. It is undoubtedly a great time to sell art!”

As expected, quintessential Western landscape pieces by highly coveted artists Thomas Moran (American, 1837-1926) and Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius (American, 1869-1959) topped the auction, each surpassing their presale estimates. The Moran, entitled View of Zion (lot 314), took the top honors selling for $375,000, nearly doubling its high estimate of $100,000 - $200,000. Painted in 1919 to commemorate Zion becoming a National Park, the oil on canvas is a spectacular example of one of the artist’s favorite subjects.

Nearly matching the Moran’s total, the oil on canvas by Rungius, entitled Mountain Caribou (lot 334), sold for $368,750 against a presale estimate of $200,000 - $300,000. Being sold to support the care of the collections and the George Montgomery Fund of Acquisitions at the Palm Springs Art Museum, the wildlife painting showed the artists strong sense of design coupled with his knowledge of anatomy born of years of experience in the field.

Contemporary Native American Art

Perhaps the fastest growing category in the Western Art industry is works by Contemporary Native American artists, a fact emphatically proven at the November 4 auction. A day after setting the auction record for sale price per square inch for a work by renowned artist Fritz Scholder (Luiseño, 1937-2005) in its Marilyn Eber Collection of Native American Art auction, Hindman set the auction record for highest total sale price when it sold Horse and Rider (lot 451) for $275,000, well surpassing its estimate of $30,000 - $50,000.

Other highlights in the category included a 1990 oil on canvas by Earl Biss (Apsáalooke, 1947-1998) entitled In Times of Change and Drastic Measures (lot 45) which sold for $56,250; an Allan C. Houser (Chiricahua Apache, 1914-1994) bronze entitled Looking On (lot 469) which sold for $23,750; and a book of diminutive copies of T.C. Cannon (Caddo / Kiowa, 1946-1978) woodcuts entitled Portraits of the Brave Heart People (lot 470) which sold for $20,000.

Other Auction Highlights

Other notable lots from the auction include a watercolor and ink on paper illustrated letter by Charles Marion Russell (American, 1864-1926) entitled Indian Scout and Horse, Illustrated Letter (lot 397) which sold for $237,500; an oil on canvas by Thomas Hill (British/American, 1829-1908) entitled Indian on Horseback Amongst Sequoias (lot 387) which sold for $130,000; a Philip Russell Goodwin (American, 1881-1935) oil on canvas entitled Successful Sheep Hunt (lot 325) which sold for $93,750; an oil on panel from Alfred von Wierusz Kowalski (Polish, 1849-1915) entitled Return from the Hunt (lot 322) which sold for $81,250; and a Joseph Henry Sharp (American, 1859-1953) oil on board entitled Strikes His Enemy (lot 403) which sold for $50,000.

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