Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or in our case, the bidders during our Saturday auctions. Since we mainly deal with full estates, we see a lot of art come through our auction house. Western, Southwestern, Impressionistic, Abstract Expressionism, Realism, Art Deco…there’s a large variety of original pieces and reproductions.
While we’ve auctioned prints and drawings from blue chip artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, we also see some less-known artists do well at auction. Here are three recent examples:
Maxfield Parrish: In September, we auctioned more than 70 Maxfield Parrish paintings and illustrations from one consignor’s collection. Known as the “Master of Make-Believe,” Parrish rose to fame during the Golden Age of Illustration in the first half of the 20th Century. His fantasy paintings, posters and calendars depicted lush gardens, beautiful women and utopian scenes, often with a vibrant blue hue that became known as “Parrish Blue.” Some of the pieces that did well at our auction included a 1919 “Spirit of the Night” calendar that hammered at $3,500 and a 1924 “Venetian Lamplighter” calendar that realized $1,500.
Edward Curtis: At the start of the 20th Century, photographer Edward Curtis made it his life’s mission to document Native American culture. Funded by J.P. Morgan, he and his crew photographed and recorded songs, music and speech from more than 80 tribes. He earned their trust and was nicknamed “Shadow Catcher.” It’s estimated that he took more than 40,000 photos over 30 years. We’ve seen his photos do very well at auction. Earlier this month, a signed photo of a Mohave girl realized $6,500. In 2016, we sold an original framed orotone photograph of Canyon de Chelly for $4,250.
Peter Max: You may not know his name, but you’ve surely seen his work. Peter Max is renowned for capturing pop culture in his bold, psychedelic paintings, posters, calendars, mugs – his work has even graced airplanes, cruise ships and postage stamps. Some say his work was responsible for the style of the Beatle’s film, Yellow Submarine. Earlier this month, we sold several pieces of his work. His “Land of the Free” and “God Bless America” mixed media pieces both hammered at $3,200, while his “Liberty Head” serigraph realized $2,000.
While their styles varied, all three artists made their marks on society over a span of many decades. Maxfield Parrish was 95 when he passed away; Edward Curtis died at 84. And at 80 years old, Peter Max continues to create vibrant, colorful pop art and neo-expressionistic pieces that have become a part of today’s American culture.
Erik Hoyer owns EJ’s Auction & Consignment in Glendale.