The Western & Contemporary Native American Art Auction Achieves Nearly $4 Million, Shattering its Estimate
DENVER, CO – Luiseño artist Fritz Scholder’s remarkable painting Hollywood Indian and Horse #2 set a new auction record for the artist in Hindman Auctions’ May 19th Western & Contemporary Native American Art auction. The 68-by-80-inch acrylic-on-canvas painting (lot 173) sold for an astonishing $500,000, skyrocketing past its presale estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. The work led an incredibly strong offering of contemporary Native American art, and an especially outstanding selection of Scholders commanded top prices.
“We are absolutely overwhelmed by such a significant auction record,” shares Alexandria Dreas, Hindman’s associate Western art specialist. “Based on the pre-sale interest level, we knew the Fritz Scholders would see enthusiastic bidding, but the results far exceeded our expectations.”
The auction significantly surpassed its estimate, achieving $3,916,844 overall, and set multiple new auction records. The sale achieved a 94 percent sell-through rate, with nearly all lots selling above their pre-sale estimates. The auction illustrated an increased market demand for bold, contemporary, abstract works.
Fritz Scholder Shines
A remarkable selection of paintings by Fritz Scholder (La Jolla Luiseño, 1937–2005) stole the show, with seven of the artist’s works selling in the top ten lots of the auction. Bidders were clearly in awe of his wonderfully eye-catching and vibrant works. In addition to the record-setting work, highlights also included Scholder’s 1979 acrylic on canvas work, Portrait, 1896 (lot 172), which sold for more than ten times its pre-sale estimate, realizing $275,000. It was followed by Scholder’s 1972 Drunk Indian #1 (lot 171) and 1972 Indian with Bird Head Dress (lot 170), both of which also climbed far above their $20,000 to $30,000 presale estimates to realize $250,000 and $156,250, respectively.
Additional highlights included Scholder’s Lady R (lot 174), which sold for $93,750 against a presale estimate of $15,000 to $20,000 and Indian With White Ribbon (lot 169), which sold for $87,500 compared to a presale estimate of $5,0000 to $7,000.
The collection from this Sarasota, Florida, estate includes the five Scholders that were sold in Denver. The collection also included other works sold in Hindman’s May Fine Art sales. Together these generated more than $1 million in proceeds that the previous owner ‘s estate gifted to several qualified charitable organizations.
Additional contemporary Native American art highlights saw outstanding prices and set new auction records. White Earth Ojibwe painter David Bradley’s 2008 Sleeping Indian, Shiprock/Santa Fe (lot 197), sold for $50,000, setting a new auction record for the artist. Chiricahua Love Song, a bronze sculpture by Allan Houser (Chiricahua Apache, 1914–1994) sold for $34,375, and Mountain Camp by Earl Biss (Crow, 1947–1998) realized $46,875.
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith Works See Intense Bidding & New Auction Record
A trio of works by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Salish/Métis/Shoshone) commanded top prices. Her Fireweed painting (lot 178) sold for a striking $350,000 against a presale estimate of $10,000 to $20,000. These emerging as the second top lot of the sale and setting a new auction record. Quick-to-See Smith’s 1980 Kalispill Series (176 and 177) were also highlights, and they sold for $34,375 and $31,240 respectively.
Hunter Collection & Additional Top Performers
Contemporary Western and Native American artworks from the Collection of Barbara and Robert “Bob” P. Hunter Jr., Alpharetta, Georgia, were also among the sale standouts. Crow painter Kevin Red Star’s Buffalo Medicine Shield (lot 193) realized $21,250 against a presale estimate of $4,000 to $6,000.
Bidding for the May 19th auctions auction was available in-person, by telephone, absentee bid, phone, and live online through the Hindman Digital Bid Room. Full auction results can be viewed here. Hindman continues to welcome consignments for upcoming Western Art auctions. For additional information, please visit HindmanAuctions.com.
Hindman fine art auction houses connect cities nationwide to the global art market ad and provide expertise across all categories, sales channels, and price points. This October Hindman will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Each year Hindman conducts more than 140 auctions in all major art and luxury collecting categories and subcategories. The acquisition of two premier auction houses, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers (est. 1982) and Cowan’s Auctions (est. 1995) allowed Hindman to form. Headquartered in Chicago, Hindman employs more than 160 people. They maintain additional offices in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Milwaukee, Naples, Palm Beach, San Diego, Scottsdale, St. Louis, and Washington, DC. Visit www.hindmanauctions.com for more information.