A large, rare work by Texas painter Frank Reaugh brought $437,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas Saturday, more than doubling the previous auction record for the artist. The 20×40 Sheepherders Camp, 1893 is the larger version of a pastel in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum collection.
Director of Texas Art at Heritage Auctions, Atlee Phillips told Urban Art & Antiques the previous record for the artist was $178,000. “It’s a world record,” she says. “His large works are so rare. This is a classic Frank Reaugh and it’s huge.”
Reaugh lent Sheepherders Camp to the Texas & Pacific Railway for promotional purposes and it was exhibited at the Saint Louis Exposition in 1893. It was also included in Reaugh’s first solo exhibition at a major national venue at the Saint Louis Museum of Fine Arts in December 1894, and at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1895.
Phillips says collectors had been waiting for dozens of years for a painting of this scale and importance to come on the market. She also explains that unlike some other artists, Reaugh painted Texas the way it actually was, “not the way we think of it.”
Phillips also notes the painting was almost sold at an estate sale before being consigned.
Other items in the sale performed well including a sculpture (Madonna and Child, 1963) by Charles Umlauf from the estate of Ruth Carter Stevenson, which brought $25,000. Likewise, During the Depression, by Harry Kidd, a work Phillips referred to as a “sleeper,” brought $10,000.
“Almost everything sold, and sold well,” Phillips says. “There are only six items left.”
Image Courtesy Heritage Auctions