A large, rare work by Texas painter Frank Reaugh brought $437,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas Saturday, more than doubling the previous auction record for the artist. The 20×40 Sheepherders Camp, 1893 is the larger version of a pastel in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum collection.
Director of Texas Art at Heritage Auctions, Atlee Phillips told Urban Art & Antiques the previous record for the artist was $178,000. “It’s a world record,” she says. “His large works are so rare. This is a classic Frank Reaugh and it’s huge.”
Reaugh lent Sheepherders Camp to the Texas & Pacific Railway for promotional purposes and it was exhibited at the Saint Louis Exposition in 1893. It was also included in Reaugh’s first solo exhibition at a major national venue at the Saint Louis Museum of Fine Arts in December 1894, and at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1895.
Phillips says collectors had been waiting for dozens of years for a painting of this scale and importance to come on the market. She also explains that unlike some other artists, Reaugh painted Texas the way it actually was, “not the way we think of it.”
Phillips also notes the painting was almost sold at an estate sale before being consigned.
Other items in the sale performed well including a sculpture (Madonna and Child, 1963) by Charles Umlauf from the estate of Ruth Carter Stevenson, which brought $25,000. Likewise, During the Depression, by Harry Kidd, a work Phillips referred to as a “sleeper,” brought $10,000.
“Almost everything sold, and sold well,” Phillips says. “There are only six items left.”
Image Courtesy Heritage Auctions
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A to Z Estate Sales consigned this pastel to Heritage auctions in February of 2015.
This pastel was brought over to the house by our client the night before the estate sale began. Our client left this piece among many other items in a small dimly lit hallway. When we arrived the morning of the sale to set up our register and do a few last minute pricings we found this beautiful piece. We knew right away that it was something special and after a couple of seconds of research we grabbed the phone and called Heritage Auctions for a second opinion. We were referred to Atlee Phillips, the Director of Texas Art. With our clients permission we took the piece to Heritage Auctions to solicit their expertise! At first sight Atlee was doubtful but hopeful of its authenticity; she took possession of the piece and insured it for $40k. It was authenticated quickly which increased the expected value to $60k; none of us would have imagined the auction would have brought as much as it did! Atlee was wonderful in marketing this piece and getting it the attention that Mr. Reaugh deserved.
We asked our client the history of this piece; however what he knew about it was minimal. From what he could remember his wife had owned it for years; although how it came into her possession was unknown. All her husband knew was that it wasn’t his taste so he decided to have us sell it. Of course he never dreamed it was worth more than a few hundred dollars. Thankfully he allowed us to consign the piece through Heritage as we were well aware of the fact that we would not have an estate sale customer walk in the door and spend $60k much less over $400k. We are very grateful to Heritage that they did such a wonderful job in finding this beautiful piece a new owner.