William Wendt's The Silent Summer Sea was the highlight of a sale of California art at Bonhams Los Angeles on August 4.
Wendt was massively influential in the Californian art scene of the early 1900s.
He's often referred to as "the dean of the California painters" for his role in nurturing and developing the talent of others.
In 1909 he founded the California Art Club with his wife Julia, an organisation that is still in operation today.
Bonhams explained the enduring appeal of the present work: "The essence and lucidity of Wendt's art in 1915 is fully present in his large-scale work The Silent Summer Sea…
"Open, vast, and serene, The Silent Summer Sea is an homage to natural grandeur, a sensual success in terms of sheer color, and an object lesson in what he felt painting should leave out."
The work sold for $305,000.
Wendt's auction record stands at $1.5m, set for The Old Coast Road last year.
Other top lots included Armin Hansen's The Lumber Carriers, which made $161,000.
The painting shows dockyard workers unloading a vessel. Hansen explored the sea as a setting in much of his work.
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