Stunning Western Americana art auctioned off Nov. 17

American Indian art and other items of Western Americana headlined the art auction at Altermann Galleries in Santa Fe, N.M., on Nov. 17. With nearly 400 lots to choose from, lovers of all the beauty the country's West has to offer had a lot of impeccable items from which to choose. And if they couldn't make it to New Mexico, was their best bet to stock up on all the art and sculpture on display.

Western art masters
Some of the biggest names in Western art were represented on Nov. 17. World-renowned artists like Albert Bierstadt, Frank Tenney Johnson, Allan Houser, Robert Griffing and Glenna Goodacre made up just a handful of the monumental masters whose works were on the block.

A stunning oil on canvas by Albert Bierstadt (lot #77) was one of the biggest prizes of the art auction. It captures the Puyallup River Valley and Mt. Rainier in all their glory, the morning mist sweeping across their bow.

Charlie Dye, who, during his nearly 50-year career, painted some of the most breathtaking scenes of the old American West, had three pieces up for bid. One of those was "Old Blue in the Lead" (lot #60) which shows a proud steer leading a cattle drive across a wide river. Another one of Dye's oils on canvas, "Hazing the Bronc" (lot #52), shows an open range rodeo scene, as a cowboy tries to tame the wild horse atop which he is sitting.

Tom Lovell, who was lauded for his gorgeous work focusing on Native Americans, had four paintings in the show. "Little Wolf Defied the U.S. Army" (lot #37), might be the most eye catching, as it shows a young warrior standing at the precipice of a plateau, seemingly inviting his rival to come after him.

Glenna Goodacre's three-piece bronze statue, "The Basket Dance" (lot #85), is one famous sculpture that garnered a lot of attention, with an undisclosed winning bidder taking home the nearly 6-foot tall installation. Depicting three Native American women engaging in a ritualistic ceremony, the piece has both artistic and cultural value due to its re-creation of a dance that is rarely practiced in the modern world.

Allan Houser's bronze statue, "The Crown Dancer" (lot #84), was one of the most unique and beautiful lots in the Altermann collection. Completed in 1991, it is a modernist representation of a traditional Native American ritual dance. The sharp-edged, yet surprisingly smoothly lined sculpture is a truly magnificent example of the craft.

Western scenes
Some of the most exceptional pieces that were on display portray scenes straight out of a classic Western movie. Andy Thomas' oil on linen, "Tucson Train Robbery" (lot #109), tells an entire story in one painting, with its action-filled shootout and heist practically begging for an accompanying soundtrack.

Although it's a bit more staid, Olaf Wieghorst's "Canyon Camp" (lot #132) is just as evocative of 19th century Western history, showing a wagon train at rest.

It's rare that this kind of fine art auction, with its superb collection of Western scenes, comes around. And for those who weren't able to make it to Santa Fe, was their only hope of bringing these lots home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *