On Wednesday, August 4, Bonhams Los Angeles will hold a single-owner sale of the Collection of Sam and Diane Stewart, with Ernest Martin Hennings’ Indian Horsemen leading the sale. This work, which the Stewarts purchased from Bonhams in 2004, was painted at the height of the artist’s mature career. The composition features three Navajo figures on horseback in the immediate foreground, set against a yellow aspen landscape, a common theme often seen in Hennings’ oeuvre. The work is estimated at $600,000 – 800,000.
Bonhams Western Art Specialist Katherine Halligan commented, “The Collection of Sam and Diane Stewart features a simply magnificent array of artwork, including the iconic top lot Indian Horsemen by Hennings, Dunton’s Delivering the Mail, an important and timely depiction of a working cowgirl, and Pink and Black, a masterful still life by Higgins, to name just a few. The entire collection comprises absolutely wonderful works, many of them fresh to market. This sale will present buyers with a truly rare opportunity to acquire outstanding and beautiful examples of Western art.”
Victor Higgins’ Pink and Black is another notable sale highlight. Higgins is regarded as a master of Western still life painting and this work stands as one of the finest examples of his compositions. As the title suggests, pink and black elements dominate the canvas, including a Pueblo Indian black-on-black ceramic vessel in the foreground and a light pink dress strewn across the central table, which is covered in an onyx cloth with blush-toned paisley edges. The painting is estimated at $400,000 – 600,000. The auction also features a group of strong works by Maynard Dixon, including oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings. Highlighting this selection is Land Westward, a bright and sweeping landscape with a group of horses and a mounted cowboy in the lower left corner. It is estimated at $300,000 – 500,000.
Delivering the Mail stands as the single work by Western master William Herbert ‘Buck’ Dunton included in the sale. The work features a female subject, very rare for the artist, particularly in a large format and finished oil medium. The woman sits on horseback, with paniers full of mail, struggling through a snowstorm to make her deliveries. It is estimated at $150,000 – 250,000. The sale also includes a notable selection of works by contemporary Western artists, including Profiles, a strong example by National Academy of Western Artists and Cowboy Artists of American member Kenneth Riley. This work is estimated at $40,000 – 60,000. Further sale highlights include seven fine color woodcut prints by Gustave Baumann, as well as historic sculptures and late 19th century Western works by Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt.
Diane P. Stewart and Samuel S. Stewart have made their mark as philanthropists and patrons of the arts in the state of Utah. In 2002, they established the Stewart Family Foundation in support of arts, education, and community activism in Salt Lake City. Nine years ago, Diane Stewart founded Modern West Fine Art Gallery in Salt Lake City, with the mission to showcase contemporary Western artists, both established and emerging. The couple has consistently stood as strong advocates for the local arts community programming, both within Utah and throughout the United States.