2014 Scottsdale Art Auction Reaches $12.6 Million

After an incredible weekend in Scottsdale, for the Scottsdale Art Auction, I am very excited to be home with my family.  I'm pretty sure my kids grew a few inches while I was gone.  I know my ego did, because while I was down south, I found out I had a throng of people who actually read what I write here.  Thank you to the 3-4 people who said they enjoyed my blog!  As other writers can attest to, there isn't much more motivating than finding out people read and enjoy your work.  I don't claim to be a writer, and my 7-year old proofreads for me, but I still appreciate any feedback I can get.  Please don't hesitate to shoot me an email or send me a message on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  I would list the other 3 million social media sites, but I've covered the important ones.  Or at least the ones I actually use.  My goal has always been to share valuable information about collecting Western art, so if there's something you would like to learn more about, let me know and I'll share what I know.

Now to the good stuff.  Congratulations to the partners at the Scottsdale Art Auction as they posted a $12.6 million total for their sale with a 91% sales rate.  They once again flexed their muscle in the areas they've always proven strongest like classic Western material from early CA artists (Cowboy Artists of America), artists from the golden age of illustration, and contemporary artists that they've represented over the years.  When I initially looked at their catalog, I wasn't sure they would do $10 million in sales.  I'm sure glad I didn't tell anyone that's what I thought or I would have to eat my words.  In reality, it's fantastic they had a strong showing because that just bodes well for the Western art market in general.  This was the first year Troy Black and his team weren't the auctioneers, as they've been wrapped up by the Coeur d'Alene Art Auction like a prized free agent.  Jason Brooks was the new auctioneer and I thought he did a terrific job.  Although, I just couldn't get use to not hearing the gavel between lots.  There's just some finality to the bang of the gavel and as a bidder, it signifies a win and a new painting to add to the collection.

"Dust in the Distance" by Martin Grelle
There were plenty of highlights and there's no doubt that the two most people are talking about are Martin Grelle's "Dust in the Distance" and Kyle Polzin's "Mystic Warrior."  Grelle's "Dust in the Distance" measures 48 x 64 inches and won the 2006 Buyer's Choice Award at the Prix de West Show in Oklahoma City.  It's as good as it gets when it comes to Martin Grelle's work.  The painting sold for a record $575,000!  After the sale, here's what Martin had to say about his new auction record:
"Thanks to everyone! This painting was originally done in 2006 for the Prix de West show, and won the Buyer's Choice Award that year. The people who bought it have held on to it since then, and decided to sell it this year to help pay for their kids' college education. THAT makes me feel really good! They are good folks." -Martin Grelle
Martin is ALL class and his success is well deserved.  Also, isn't it fantastic that someone can sell a painting and pay for their kids' college tuition?  We all know those prices aren't coming down anytime soon.  Grelle's market continues to be strong as his painting "Man of Many Honors" measuring 36 x 24 inches sold for $103,500 after a pre-sale estimate of $35,000-$45,000.  I don't normally do this, but anyone who has ever bought a painting from me knows I like to place works in collections at a good value.  Check out this beautiful painting by Martin Grelle that's currently available.

Mystic Warrior by Kyle Polzin
Kyle Polzin's "Mystic Warrior" measures 74 x 30 inches and sold for $287,500 with an original estimate of $30,000-$40,000.  "Mystic Warrior" also won the Scottsdale Auction Award of Merit which is chosen by patrons who attended the preview party and comes with a $15,000 cash prize.  Even Kyle's other work in the sale sold well when it went for $74,750 with a $8,000-$12,000 estimate.  If that doesn't add fuel to the Polzin fire, I don't know what will.

My clients went 3 for 3 over the weekend adding stellar paintings to their collections at phenomenal prices.  I offer a variety of auction services including analysis, representation, and condition confirmation to name a few.  What is it that they say about luck?  "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity."  Some people might say you got lucky in acquiring a great painting at a good price, but when you have a good dealer on your side who can help prepare an analysis of what a fair market price range is then share when opportunities present themselves of good paintings and finally execute ninja-like bids to win the painting, the next thing you know, you have an art collection that's the envy of your friends, and other art dealers are contacting you to sell your paintings.  Contact me if I can ever help with any of your fine art needs.

Finally, here are some other highlights, low-lights, and images from the weekend.

Going to the Craps Table
  • Blue Bonnet Landscape by Jose Arpa
    • estimate: $30,000-$60,000  sold for: $322,000
  • Good Times All Gone by Howard Terpning
    • estimate: $50,000-$75,000  sold for: $230,000
  • Quiet Passage by Joe Beeler
    • estimate: $6,000-$9,000       sold for: $40,250
  • Descending Cowboy by Glenn Dean
    • estimate: $9,000-$12,000     sold for: $25,875
  • Thirty Below & A Blizzard by Frederic Remington
    • estimate: $500,000-$700,000  sold for: $920,000
Going to the ATM
  • Under the Sangre de Cristo by Oscar Berninghaus
    • estimate: $125,000-$175,000  bought-in
  • In Front of the Well House by Joseph Sharp
    • estimate: $60,000-$90,000    bought-in
  • The Changing of Horsepower by G. Harvey
    • estimate: $90,000-$130,000   bought-in
  • The Signal by Jim Norton
    • estimate: $15,000-$20,000     bought-in
  • Yangwu Market Day by Mian Situ
    • estimate: $40,000-$60,000     bought-in
The photos come courtesy of Western Art Collector.  Be sure to check out their Facebook page too.


  1. Thank you for this information!


  2. I wish I could buy art like this. I really enjoy these.paintings they were really well done. My favorite on is the mystic warrior I just wish I had the cash to spend on it. http://www.gevik.com/gallery-phillip/about.html


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