5 Deceased Artists To Add To Your Collection In 2016

I am constantly asked for my opinion as to who I think are artists to watch for and worth adding to their collection.  There are a plethora of deceased artists to choose from, so with the annual C.M. Russell Show right around the corner, I've decided to lean towards Montana artists.  The Taos Founders will make up another conversation.  Here are 5 artists to consider for 2016.

1.  Edgar Paxson (1852-1919) - I've felt that Paxson has been a good value for several years now.  We love the historical significance of his life in Montana.  He was a good friend of Charlie Russell and his arrival to the frontier occured during the Nez Perce War.  With the rapid changes occurring in Montana, Paxson's goal was to capture the Old West as he knew it.  One of Paxson's most recognized paintings hangs at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center titled "Custer's Last Battle On The Little Big Horn."  The price points of his work make it highly collectable for all levels of collectors, but be sure to hold out for the finest example of his work.

2.  Olaf Seltzer (1877-1957) - It is getting more and more difficult for collectors to acquire a quality painting by O.C. Seltzer.  Fewer and fewer works by Seltzer are hitting the open market, and when a fantastic example presents itself, it typically sells for an impressive price.  For years, I thought Seltzer's work was under valued, but his prices at auction for quality works has steadily grown over the past 3-4 years.  Seltzer lived in Great Falls, MT and was heavily influenced by another Great Falls artist by the name of Charles Russell.  Russell's influence is evident in Seltzers work and in 1926, Seltzer moved to New York to complete several Russell commissions and further his own career.  While Russell's prices continue to climb, it inevitably lifts the value of artists like O. C. Seltzer.  If you've ever considered adding a Seltzer to your collection, sooner rather than later would be my advice.

3.  John Fery (1859-1934) - It's been an eventful year in the market for John Fery's work.  First, there was a fantastic book released on his life and work.  The book was wonderfully written by Larry Len Peterson who gave us the Philip Goodwin book, The Call of the Mountains, and Photographing a Legend, the more recent Charles Russell in photographs book.  Next, was the world record price set at the Coeur d'Alene Art Auction in Reno for "Avalanche Lake" which sold for $117,000 in July.  We feel that the addition of a John Fery painting should be done with caution as condition and subject matter can be an unpleasant surprise and affect values from one painting to the next.  Don't hesitate to use me as a resource if you have any questions on purchasing or selling Fery's work.

4.  George Browne (1918-1958) - George Browne is our sleeper pick for 2016.  A nice oil of George Browne's is VERY hard to come by so act accordingly.  The fact that he died at the young age of 40 limits the supply of his work.  You can still come across a great piece of his if you are patient and strike when the opportunity presents itself.  Any artist who gets a recommendation from Carl Rungius is, in our opinion, a must add for any collection.  George was a full blown adventurer and was the first person to survive a parachute jump from 40,000 feet.  There is a great book on the life of George Browne and his father Belmore Browne that you can purchase HERE.

5.  William Standing (1904-1951) - When you take a look at the life of an artist, they all pale in comparison to the life of William Standing.  He was a full blood Assiniboine Indian living on the reservation in eastern Montana.  His life and art are chocked full of statements about the plight of the life on the reservation during the first half of the twentieth century.  My gallery has been very active in the Standing market as we feel his story is one worth telling.  His life was also shortened when he passed away in an auto accident in 1951.  While Standing's work is not to the level of the artists mentioned above, his value and collect-ability are ideal for anyone looking to break into collecting deceased Western artists from Montana.

Honorable Mention

Winold Reiss (1886-1953) - In 1919, Reiss became an honorary member of the Blackfeet Indians who called him "Beaver Child."  Reiss studied at the Royal Academy of Munich and was inspired by the novels of James Fenimore Cooper.  The Great Northern Railway purchased 81 of his Indian portraits and used his work in a variety of their marketing materials.  Reiss worked in pastels and his colorful interpretations were a reflection of his compassion towards people of different races.  Until 2015, very few works by Reiss come to the market, and when a good selection sold at the Coeur d'Alene Art Auction in 2015, they sold very well.

As a collector of Classic Western art,  if you would like to discuss how we can help you build a collection that will withstand the test of time, give us a call.  We are always on the lookout for great pieces and would love to include you when we come across any gems.


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