Bierstadt's $2.1m painting is big draw at 'world's largest Western art sale'


Coeur d'Alene Art described its Saturday July 23 auction as "the world's largest Western art sale" as more the 300 bidders were drawn to Reno, Nevada, US.

The auction was lead by Albert Bierstadt, a German-American painter best known for his lush, sweeping landscapes of the American West.

Bierstadt's oil on canvas painting Mount Rainier, dated to 1990, sold for $2,143,000.

Just behind it were two paintings by the renowned Old West artist Charles M Russell, whose lifetime included creating more than 2,000 paintings of cowboys, Indians, and landscapes.

Bierstadt's Mount Rainier, dated to 1990, sold for $2,143,000

Two Russell works, 1892's "Water for Camp" and 1924's "A Dangerous Sport" brought nearly $1.5m each. Both were sold to the same collector, according to reports.

Both depict every day yet iconic events from the Old West. The former features to American Indians drinking stream water, while the latter portrays two cowboys on horseback.

Saturday's sale wasn't the first time that Coeur d'Alene Art has enjoyed success with Russell's works. In fact, the auctioneer holds eight of the top 10 auction World Record prices for his paintings.

These include, from recent years, Russell's depiction of a stagecoach hold-up, entitled The Hold-Up, sold for $5.2m in 2008.

Meanwhile, other highlights in Coeur d'Alene Art's Saturday auction included Maynard Dixon's 1944 "Sculptured Sandstone," bought for $351,000 by a collector from Lake Tahoe.

Russell's painting The Hold-Up was sold for $5.2m in 2008

Overall, the 300 works in the sale brought $17m - described as a "big jump" by the auction house as it, like the rest of the world's auction houses, defies global economic recession.

The million-dollar Russell works are only the latest evidence of how the Old West continues to capture to attentions, and wallets, of wealthy collectors.

In June of this year, a daguerreotype of the notorious outlaw Billy the Kid made in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, sold for an incredible $2.3m at an auction in Denver, US.

Amazingly, it is the only photograph of the Kid in existence - and testament to the continuing draw, allure and growing values of Wild West collectibles.


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