Kicking Off the 2014 Western Art Collecting Season

Skull Society Artists Exhibit
Every March, the C. M. Russell Museum hosts their annual benefit auction titled The Russell.  It consists of a live auction of historical works by deceased artists and works by today's leading contemporary artists.  It also includes a Quick Finish event, silent auction sale, and for the first time, they presented the Skull Society of Artists.  The Skull Society of Artists is a group of artists selected by the C.M. Russell Museum to exhibit their works for sale and a percentage of their sales benefits the museum.  There were many artists that my gallery features that were selected including Andy Thomas, Chad Poppleton, Brett J.Smith, Greg Kelsey, Brent Cotton, Charles Fritz, Gary Lynn Roberts, Carol Hagan, and Randy Van Beek to name a few.  The same weekend as The Russell, Coeur d'Alene Art Auction and Manitou Galleries partner up to put on a March in Montana the Townhouse Inn.  No matter who you talk to, March in Montana is one of the highlights of the weekend.  It includes two days of live auctions, dealer rooms, and lots of buying, selling and trading of artwork, artifacts and firearms.  Not to mention all the camaraderie that revolves around the weekend.  The WesternMasters Exhibitor Show is still going strong at the Heritage Inn where tons of excellent contemporary artists feature their work.

After two decades of exhibiting at the Heritage Inn, this was the first year the Coeur d'Alene Galleries exhibited at the Townhouse Inn where the March in Montana sale is held.  Looking back on the weekend, it was a terrific move for me as I had my most successful show in the 8 years I've owned the gallery.  I had a fantastic mix of rare works by deceased artists and a great selection of works by contemporary artists.  Analyzing my results, the Townhouse is a much better fit for my gallery as I sold an equal amount of works by deceased artists and contemporary artists.  I've always strived to keep my pricing competitive and fair, and with the results of this year's show and the continued repeat business from loyal collectors, I'm on the right track.  I've always said, "If the collector can acquire a quality painting for a great value, and I can make a little bit to do this tomorrow, then it's a win-win."  With the continual changes, the only real grumbling I heard was regarding the flow charts needed to keep track of all the events throughout the weekend and the prices of tickets to participate in the Russell Museum's events.

To wrap up, it's mind-boggling to think of the sheer number of artworks that change hands in just a few days in Great Falls in March.  We're talking about thousands of works worth millions of dollars!  If you collect Western art, Great Falls in March is a must.  Although the Coors Western Art Show takes place in January and the Autry's Masters of the American West Show happens in February, Western Art Week in Great Falls, MT in March kicks off the Western art collecting season.  Oh, and no trip to Great Falls is complete without a stop at the world famous Sip-n-Dip and their mermaids and Pat the organ player. Enjoy the picture of the mermaid.
I'm now off to Scottsdale for the Scottsdale ArtAuction and the Altermann's Auction.  Don't forget, I offer a variety of auction services, so don't hesitate to contact me if I can help in any way.  I can't wait to share the results.


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