Western art auction coming to Reno
RENO, Nev. – One of the biggest Western art auctions is moving from Idaho to Nevada.
The Coeur d’Alene Art Auction has been held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho the last four years, where sponsors say it has grown into the largest Western, wildlife and sporting art auction in the country.
This year, it will be held at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno on July 29 as part of the city’s annual arts festival, Uptown, Downtown, ARTown.
The specialty art is expected to draw private collectors, dealers and museum directors from around the globe who hope to lasso a Frederic Remington, a Charles Russell oil or bronze, a Carl Rungius painting, something by Ogden Pleissner or a rare piece of American Indian art.
The auction ”has become the specialist in this category,” said Peter Stremmel, who helped start the Western art auction 15 years ago.
”It’s not that Christie’s and Sotheby’s ignore the category, but they do not emphasize it. It’s now the top auction of its type and has become a barometer of how the art market is going to go in the fall season.”
More than $8 million worth of art was auctioned off last year.
The fact that Reno has been able to attract ”the most prestigious Western art auction in the country is beyond belief,” said Gary Carano, Silver Legacy’s general manager.
The large number of hotels and restaurants available helped lure the auction to Reno, organizers said.
”This city is emerging as an important arts center in the West,” said Stremmel, who with wife, Turkey, owns Stremmel Gallery in Reno and is nationally known as an art dealer.
”After all, we’re in the entertainment business here. We know how to take care people. We have Lake Tahoe, shows and restaurants. People can come for the auction and make a week of it,” he said.
Last July, art collectors from all over the country flew in private jets to Coeur d’Alene, ready to part with a great deal of money.
At that auction, Charles Russell’s ”Approach of the White Men” was auctioned for $632,500 and his ”Piegan Buffalo Hunt” fetched $330,000.
Paintings by Carl Rungius – ”Challenged,” at $275,000, and ”Mountain Goats,” at $209,000 – both sold for more than $100,000 above their estimated values.
”It’s great theater to watch people bidding,” Stremmel said.
”If pieces reach world-record prices early on, the bidding really heats up. It becomes a frenzy. And there’s a bank of nine telephones taking bids from around the world,” he said.
It became evident last year that the Coeur d’Alene airport facilities could not accommodate the number of private jets flying in for the auction, he said.