Art flew off the auction block this weekend at the Jackson Hole Art Auction.
The star item was undoubtedly Norman Rockwell’s portrait of John Wayne.
The painting of the iconic Western hero reached its high estimate at $1,496,000 after an enthusiastic bidding war in the Center Theater on Saturday afternoon. While the Auction doesn’t divulge buyer information, coordinator Madison Webb said that the piece was sold into a private collection over the phone.
“The Rockwell definitely generated a lot of interest, both locally and nationally,” Webb said. “There was a really positive energy in the room.”
Over the course of two sessions Friday and Saturday, the auction sold 88 percent of 392 lots for $8.4 million in total sales. This year marked the largest number of lots up for auction.
While the excitement around the Rockwell stole the show, the auction set 15 world records over the two sessions.
Other intense bidding wars drove up the sale price for John Clymer’s “Territorial Dispute” and Thomas Moran’s “Laguna, New Mexico Looking from the East” to $339,300 each, over double their estimated prices.
“It was very exciting to be a part of,” Webb said.
David Shepherd’s “Leopards at the Waterhole” also sold for double its high estimate price, bringing in $61,425.
Perhaps some of the biggest surprises happened during Session I, which fetes artworks at a lower price point than Session II.
“We set a few world records [during Session I], which is unusual because it’s a lower price point,” Webb said.
Conrad Schwiering’s “Touch of Spring,” estimated at $5,000 to $7,000, sold for an astounding $26,325, setting a per-square-inch record price for the late artist. An overall record was set for Texas-born Jerry Jordan on “Spirit Welcome,” which sold for $55,750 after initially being estimated at $15,000.
“Both exceptional examples of those artists’ works,” Webb said.
Other highlights included impressive sales from wildlife painters Bob Kuhn, bringing in $175,500 with “Basic Training,” and Tucker Smith, whose “Ahead of the Storm” sold at $93,600.
“We did exceptionally well with American illustrators this year,” Webb said.
N.C. Wyeth’s “Untitled (Portrait of a Cowboy)” brought in $99,450. Dean Cornwell’s “Illustration for the Enchanted Hill” sold for $128,700. To cap it off, Hart Benton’s “Study for the Pathfinder” sold for a remarkable $239,850.
Full auction results can be found online at JacksonHoleArtAuction.com.