More than 250 works will be auctioned on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 through David Dike Fine Art. As always, it is an event in which a phenomenal Texas art sale of the year attracts one of the biggest crowd of Texas Art collectors, sometimes from as far as Bayou city and San Antonio.
Born in San Antonio, Woeltz had his training in Paris (Academie Julian) and Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago). Later, he traveled to Mexico and took various jobs in New Orleans, Amarillo and Austin. In the auction, a few drawings reflect his rigorous training in Europe with an emphasis on human anatomy. A mixed media drawing depicting the construction of Smith Young Towers in downtown San Antonio was dated in 1930 when he was only 19 years ago. Reducing the scene into a dual play between a sanguine-toned shade against grayish white, he championed the architectural details of a bustling downtown.
In particular, he abruptly broke away from realism by rendering a voluptuous yet naturalistic light backdrop against a soaring tower with patterned lattice. The inclusion of a triangular shade from a building out of sight at the bottom also hints his propensity toward modernism.
The largest work, a twelve-foot long homage to his hometown, was completed one year before he died. He systematically divided the canvas into six vertical strips. In each panel, the inclusion of multi-leveled street scenes provides a subdivision visual effect through the usage of curbs, railings and rooflines. Although the style indicates a strong influence of Mexican mulralism, the jewel colors speaks indisputably of the mid-century.
The narrative tone disappears in another piece “Peregrination”. His abstraction seems to have its firm root in the natural and urban world in which he lived. The way forms were divided into geometric pieces of lively colors reminds me of Mexican artist Carlos Merida. Unlike Merida whose restrained rhythmic patterns echo dance and music, Peregrination is excessive in its ambition and intensive in its search of structural grander through minutia of articulation. Although it is undated, the work was probably completed in his late career.
Late is relative. Woeltz’ life journey took him afar from Europe to Mexico, from Chicago to New Orleans; but it ended early. He died in 1956, at the age of 45. The virtuosity and variety from a dozen pieces offered from David Dike Auction only makes us ponder what Texas art could be if he had lived another three decades.