They were the highest-selling pieces at the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction in Reno.
Bierstadt’s 1898 “Mount Rainier” went for an astonishing $2.1 million July 23, while his 1863 “Lander’s Peak, Wyoming” went for $1.9 million.
The yearly auction began in 1984 and is widely recognized as the world’s largest Western art sale. This year’s action drew approximately 300 bidders from across the country.
Bierstadt was born in Germany in 1830 and was brought to the United States by his parents. Bierstadt grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he began his artistic career. In 1853 he journeyed to Düsseldorf, Germany, to study at one of the leading art centers in Europe because he could not find suitable training in the United States.
Albert Bierstadt is recognized internationally as the greatest nineteenth-century painter of Western American landscapes, according to his bio at the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction. He died in 1902.
More than 300 works were sold at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino for a total of approximately $17 million still short of the $37 million in sales received in 2008 before the recession took hold.
Mike Overby, an organizer of the event, told the Associated Press,
The last couple of years the art market, like everything, has been tough. This is a big jump up for this. We’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Coeur d’Alene Art Auction has specialized in the sale of Russell paintings over the years, having secured eight of the top 10 auction prices for them.
Two paintings by Charles M. Russell, a 1892 “Water for Camp” and 1924 “A Dangerous Sport”went for $1.5 million each at this years auction. “Water for Camp” depicts a group of American Indians getting water from a stream, and “A Dangerous Sport” shows two cowboys on horseback focused on a mountain lion.
The Bierstadt paintings fetch $4 million at Reno Auction and have a new home with 2 private collectors while both of Russel’s painting went to the same collector.