RENO - An estimated $13 million worth of western wildlife and sporting art was sold over the weekend at The Coeur d'Alene Art Auction in the Grande Exposition Hall of the Silver Legacy in Reno.
The top sale was Charles M. Russell's "A Disputed Trail," which sold for $2.1 million.
Auctioneer Peter Stremmel sold 252 lots of paintings, sketches, sculptures, and even illustrated correspondence in 4 hours and 15 minutes. The 600 in attendance competed with those represented from absentee bid forms and more buyers at the other end of nine phone lines.
Sale prices varied from a low of $1,750 for Jim Morgan's "Morning Swim," estimated value $2,000-$4,000, to the Russell painting. While about 42 percent of the lots came in between estimated values, there were more winners than losers.
A $50 catalogue purchase admitted two into a catered preview reception on Friday night, a lecture by an author and western art authority on Saturday morning, and luncheon with auction.
The $2.1 million dollars for "A Disputed Trail," surpases the $1.1 million record for a Russell watercolor set last year during this auction's first year in Reno.
Original estimates had placed the value at $600,000 to $900,000. It was one of several large watercolors and bronzes by Russell and O.C. Seltzer from the estate of Joseph and Florence O'Connor of Vancouver. In all, 18 piece lots by Russell were auctioned.
Pictured on display with Carl Brenders' "High Adventure - Black Bear Cubs," which sold for $27,500, and "The Wordless Story" which sold for $18,000, by Elling William Gollings.
"Into New Country" a 24- by 33-inch oil on canvas by Phil Goodwin sold for decidely more that its previous sale tag of $5. Carolyn Bugher, who had inherited the painting, had withdrawn it from a yard sale after declining a $3 offer. It made $50,000 for her in Reno.
Philip R. Goodwin, America's sporting and wildlife artist, was featured this year at a pre-auction lecture and book signing by Dr. Larry Len Peterson. In all, eight lots of Goodwin paintings were sold. All but one, "The Startled Moose," which sold at its low estimate of $30,000, sold very near, at or well over initial high estimates.