"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Coeur D'Alene Auction - Reno, NV 7/21/12

It's been a very exciting 2 days for me as I had the opportunity to attend the annual Coeur D'Alene Art Auction. What an experience - certainly unlike anything I have ever seen or heard before! For the preview day on Friday, spectacular art lined the walls and midsection of three enormous ballrooms - almost 300 pieces in total. There was a huge turn out - hundreds and hundreds of art lovers and potentials buyers. I was mighty impressed and happy to see such a huge crowd that was obviously so delighted with original artwork.


It took me over 2 hours to make the rounds and see each piece. I spent a lot of time looking closely at those pieces that interested me the most - and in the looking, I learned so much. Its very exciting to get up close and personal with a Howard Terpning painting that is about to go on the auction block for an estimated price of $600,000-$900,000, to peer closely at a Remington pen and ink drawing and to be mesmerized by the brushwork wizardry of Ted Lambert. 
 I fell in love with a tiny Frederic Remington watercolor called Teepees and in the delusional fantasy of my mind's eye, I could see it hanging on a wall in my home! And so I ran out and registered to be a bidder - silly me!

I also was enamored by the work of an artist who was new to me by the name of Kenneth Riley. How I would have loved to own either one of these brilliantly painted pieces.

Or this charming, more impressionistic piece by  Frank Hoffman

The auction itself was earlier today (Saturday) and was run by the Stremmel Gallery with Peter Stremmel as the auctioneer. It started off with a running leap and the dust did not settle for over 5 hours! Each painting or sculpture is brought up to the stage and displayed on large overhead screens as well.The process is fast and furious - there are bidders on the internet, the telephone and, of course, mostly in the audience. I still have no idea how the auctioneer keeps track of the bids - but in the end someone actually buys the piece and the crowd claps and we are on to the next one. There is not a moment to stop and contemplate the sale price. Each piece takes an average of 1 minute on the auction block before the final gavel falls. Even though I was not bidding, my heart was pounding!
Here is Peter Stremmel taking bids for Frank Tenney Johnson's Cowboys Roping the Bear - a gorgeous painting jam packed with action and color! 

Chief Joseph's actual War Shirt sold for $750,000

And Howard Terpning's Scout's Report sold for over $800,00!

The NC Wyeth painting call The Deer Hunters engendered some very lively bidding - it is gorgeously painted and may be the first NC Wyeth I have seen in person.

 What a weekend! I am awed by the technical excellence of so many of these works - Howard Terpning's paint application, Kenneth Riley's superb drawing skills, the power of Maynard Dixon, the precision of Bob Kuhn, ZS Liang's compositional brilliance, Mian Situ's tender subject matter and on and on. Oh, and by the way, the tiny Remington watercolor that I adore sold to some lucky buyer for $27,00.00! Here is a link to the auction website:

I came home filled with hope and filled with inspiration. And now I must get back to my own easel!


  1. What a great experience, Susan! Beautiful pieces! Lots of inspiration!

  2. Thanks, Susan, for taking me along for the ride. You explained it so well I thought I was there.
    Glad it inspired you. I notice you didn't mention any female artists names. Were there any in the auction I wonder?
    I have a friend with an original H.Terpning and two K.Riley. I get to put my nose right up next to the canvas to see their marks and color.

  3. Thanks, Judy - it was surely an experience to remember.
    Hi, Julie - there was a very noticeable lack of female participation in this auction. Of the approximately 300 pieces, I saw a total of 5 that were the work of females. In searching through the auction catalogue when I got home, I was unable to find any others. One tiny oil (6x4 inches) was by Grace Carpenter Hudson, dated 1900. Four larger scale pieces were by the current realist wildlife painter Bonnie Marris. Your friend is so lucky - and I am so envious!:)

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