School works dating from 1900 to 1920 are some of the most-sought after in this growing category within American art collecting. The 24-lot collection is expected to realize in the region of $6 million.
Mr Stegallís passion for collecting art grew out of his occupation. As co-founder of Lawrence and Stegall, one of the largest land and cattle-ranching companies of the late 1950s, he was immersed in the cowboy culture; he lived it and spent time traveling throughout the distinctive landscape of the Southwest. His enthusiasm for exploring and learning about each regionís artistic community informed his collecting.
Highlights of the Stegall Collection include Nicolai Fechinís Friends, a vibrantly painted and richly colored rendering of a Taos girl with a dog resting on her lap. A masterful example of the Russian-born artistís work, Friends dates from Fechinís most sought-after Taos period. In his distinctly modern style with its bravura brushwork, Fechin captures an intimate moment in the life of a young Native American girl (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000).
Like Fechin, Walter Ufer brought European training to Taos and adapted his bold painting style to the local landscape and a community deeply rooted in tradition. In Making Ready, Ufer places the viewer within an intimate narrative of two figures preparing their horses for the day, bathed in the hard morning light of the desert Southwest. He discovered a sympathetic subject in Native American people and through his high-contrast bold palette, Ufer successfully creates a monumental composition from the commonplace (estimate: $600,000-800,000).
Like his contemporaries, Joseph Henry Sharp was deeply engaged with Native American culture and has always been widely lauded for his closely observed physiognomy, costume, and interiors. There are several works by the artist in the Stegall collection, led by The Medicine Teepee, a rare panoramic Montana scene of a Crow Indian encampment set against a vividly painted landscape. The majestic scale and bright palette make it one of the most exceptional Sharp works to come to market in years (estimate: $600,000-800,000).
Other Western Pictures
Elsewhere in the sale, and building on Christieís recent successes in the American Western art field, there are a number of highly significant masterworks, including Thomas Moranís Green River of Wyoming (estimate: $3,500,000-5,000,000) and Albert Bierstadtís Indians Spear Fishing (estimate: $2,500,000-3,500,000).
The Moran canvas is a monumental landscape, and one of the earliest of his acclaimed oils depicting the Green River. A romantic conception of the West, it spectacularly captures the cliffsí towering silhouettes, and the soft reflections in the river, which are richly painted with yellow and orange hues. In the 19th century, Bierstadtís paintings of this untamed region rivaled Moranís for their historical and artistic significance, and the present work, depicting a wild dramatic landscape, with Indians in the foreground, contains all the hallmarks of his most famous Western creations. It was painted just three years after his first trip into the region.
American Impressionism & The Hudson River School
The auction includes two superb examples of American Impressionism. Spring in Central Park by Childe