Tianshou Painting More than Triples Estimate, Calif. Paintings Fall Short at Dallas Auction

Dallas is a long way from the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts where artist and collector Pan Tianshou began to write The History of Chinese Painting. Though he died in 1971, a future printing of his book may record that one of his own watercolors sold for $170,000 at the far-away Dallas Auction Gallery. Estimated at $30,000 to $50,000, the work depicts an eagle standing on a rock and features a signature and seal.

The zeitgeist in the industry now is in Chinese works of art, and great works like the one by Pan Tianshou don’t come around that frequently. Some of the other Chinese paintings and objects at the May 26th sale went within or below estimates. (see other lots that exceeded estimates in the comments section).

Artist Pan Tianshou wrote The History of Chinese Painting

The same was the case for Western Art and my painting picks, two works by the California artist William Keith. An idyllic landscape with cottage in background estimated at $4,000 to $6,000 brought only $2200, and a slightly larger work and my favorite of the two; a wooded landscape estimated at $2,000 to $3,000 brought $2750. I did look at this painting under blacklight and it seemed to have a significant, but not overbearing amount of in-paint. The idyllic landscape was also said to have in-paint.

Another category, pottery, would also seem to be near its height of popularity now and had respectable, but not exceptional, performance at the auction. A small Newcomb College pottery vase decorated by Sadie estimated at $1,500 to $2,500 brought $1,300. A larger one estimated at $3,000-$5,000 sold for $4,000.

Desert Landscape by Herbert Sartelle

Another work that caught my eye was a large desert landscape by Herbert Sartelle. I had never heard of him before Wednesday when I saw the painting, but his story proved interesting. Sartelle was born in Buffalo, but left home at 18 to join the Barnum & Bailey Circus where he eventually performed as a magician. He would later return to New York City and work for Rogers & Hammerstein. Painting was a side-gig. Upon leaving show business in 1928, he settled in Los Angeles. At that time Earl Burdick Jr. changed his name to his mother’s maiden name and adopted his middle name. As Herbert Sartelle, he traveled about southern California painting nature as he saw it while continuing to book dates as a magician. Sartelle died in Los Angeles on October 15, 1955.

That story didn’t help the painting meet the low estimate, however. It went below the low end of $1200 bringing $750.

If you’re one of those people who watches all the items in the acution to see what you might get at a great price, a Continental cut glass table lamp was the one to click on here. Estimated at $400-$600, it sold for just $200.

About UAA Team

Urban Art and Antiques first published in 2007. If you are interested in becoming a contributor, let us know. Email urbanartantiques (at) gmail.com


The auction house provided these additional well-performing lots:

1. Chinese watercolor scroll painted by Pan Tianshou depicting an eagle standing on a rock. Signed and sealed. Provenance: By repute, Private California collection, acquired from the Alice Boney Collection. Scroll: 67″L x 23.5″W. Site: 36″L x 16″W, Circa – 20th C.

Estimate: $30,000- $50,000.00

Price Realized: $203,150.00

2. Chinese Qing carved jadeite seated Guanyin holding a scroll in her left hand raised on a cabriole legged table, her right hand resting on a raised knee, wearing a graduated robe. Provenance: Sotheby’s New York October 1990, lot 331. 6.75″H, Circa – 1644-1911.

Estimate: $20,000-$30,000

Price Realized: $76,700.00

3. Continental Russian portrait oil painting on canvas, depicting a portrait of the Empress of Russia Elizabeth Petrovna. Canvas: 43″H x 37″W; Frame: 55″H x 49″W. Unsigned. Elizabeth Petrovna (1709-1761) and reigned from (1741-1761). Relined. Circa – Early 19th C.

Estimate: $1,200-$1,800.00

Price Realized: $38,837.50

4. Important Chinese – Tibetan Qing gilt bronze Amitayus Buddha seated on a lotus throne, hands in Buddhist mudra. 15″H, Circa – 17th – 18th C.

Estimate: $20,000- $30,000.00

Price Realized: $ $27,485.00

5. Peter Hurd tempera on panel, titled on verso, “The Coming of Spring”. Panel: 28″H x 32″W; Frame: 38.5″H x 42″W. Signed lower left, “Peter Hurd N.A.”. Peter Hurd (American, 1904-1984) was a New Mexico artist known for western landscapes. Circa – 1949.

Estimate:$8,000- $12,000.00

Price Realized: $21,510.00

6. (2) Chinese carved jadeite belt buckles, finely carved to depict dragons. Largest: 4″L, Circa – 20th C.

Estimate: $1,500-$2,000.00

Price Realized: $14,340.00

7. After Pablo Picasso color aquatint, “Bacchanale” on BFK Rives paper. Plate: 18.7″H x 22.1″W; Frame: 25.5″H x 30.5″W. Signed in pencil lower right, “Picasso”. Numbered in pencil lower left, “43/300”. Published by Atelier Crommelynck, Paris with blind stamp lower left. Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973). Circa – 1959.

Estimate: $6,000- $9,000.00

Price Realized: $10,755.00

8. Steuben plum jade glass vase; the double acid-cut- back ovoid amethyst cased vase decorated in the, “Chang” oriental pattern with a stalagmite cut base. Shape #6112. “Steuben” acid cut mark to base.

Estimate: $2,500- $3,500.00

Price Realized: $7170.00

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