Art Specialist Picks: American Art


Alissa Ford
Director, California & Western Art, San Francisco

Creek at Twilight of 1927 is truly an awe-inspiring tour-de-force of Sandzen’s oeuvre. It perfectly typifies the artist at his best: a great composition and palette, untouched condition, impeccable provenance, and a great story. With all proceeds going towards Washington High School’s Continuing Education Scholarship Fund, it’s a feel good painting as well

Birger Sandzén - Creek at Twilight, 1927Birger Sandzén (Swedish/American, 1871-1954)
Creek at Twilight, 1927
Estimate: $300,000 – $500,000


I just love the Taos School and Couse in particular. The Pottery Connoisseur is such an intimate, poetic work, with impeccable provenance tracing back to the artist himself. The work is also accompanied by the Zia pot depicted in the composition—which is a fabulous addition to a fabulous painting.

Eanger Irving Couse The Pottery Connoisseur, circa 1930
Eanger Irving Couse (American, 1866-1936)
The Pottery Connoisseur, circa 1930
Estimate: $100,000 – $150,000


I greatly admire this classic California plein-air painting, and it is being offered at a great price point. This fresh to the market gem is perfect for the seasoned and new collector and a must-have for any California Art collection.

John M. Gamble Wild Buckwheat near Mendocino
John M. Gamble (American, 1863-1957)
Wild Buckwheat near Mendocino
Estimate: $15,000 – $25,000


Aviva Lehmann

Aviva Lehmann
Director, American Art, New York City

I adore the Stieglitz Circle of Early American Modernists, and Marin is a personal favorite. Here, Marin tightens his geometric style when painting his rocks, water, boat, and sky. He places the horizon line high, flattening the natural elements of the seascape against the picture plane. He avoids the complex overlapping of geometric shapes and instead creates a pattern of broadly conceived forms resulting from a strong contrast of color. The provenance is impeccable, and the work comes to us from an esteemed collection. It’s a great Marin to own.

John Marin Headed Down East, 1945

John Marin (American, 1870-1953)
Headed Down East, 1945
Estimate: $25,000 – $35,000


I consider Stella to be one of the most influential Early Modernists in American history. This particular work is a study for The Port, first panel of the artist’s seminal “New York Interpreted” series, which currently resides at the Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey. It’s an important work at an affordable price.

Joseph Stella Elevated Railroad, circa 1920-22
Joseph Stella (American, 1877-1946)
Elevated Railroad, circa 1920-22
Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000


Oscar Bluemner was fascinated with the formal, emotional, and spiritual qualities of strong color. He dubbed himself the “Vermillionaire” in reference to his reliance on bright red hues for his houses and barns. He explored his color theories in angular, brightly colored landscapes, abstracted from nature. James St. Place exemplifies the artist’s love affair with his ‘Bluemner Reds.’

Oscar Florianus Bluemner James St. Place

Oscar Florianus Bluemner (American, 1867-1938)
James St. Place, 1921
Estimate: $5,000 – $7,000


Ariana Hartsock

Ariana Hartsock
Director, Fine Art, Dallas

Coming to us from the superb collection of Dr. and Mrs. Henry and Mary Ann Gans. Dancing Boats, Monhegan is a masterwork of Hayley Lever’s oeuvre. Expertly capturing the exuberance of life in an American resort town, the work is also wonderfully modern—almost nearing abstraction—with its tilted picture plane and broad, expressive brushwork.

Hayley R. Lever Dancing Boats, Monhegan
Hayley R. Lever (American, 1876-1958)
Dancing Boats, Monhegan
Estimate: $30,000 – $50,000


What I love about Cahoon is that though his works such as this were painted in the mid-20th century—the revolutionary 1960s, no less—they could easily be plucked right from the 19th century, a much simpler time in our nation’s history.  The artist was a direct descendant of original Dutch settlers to New England, and one can certainly see his artistic roots firmly planted in the traditions of early American Folk Art. A classic work that employs Cahoon’s iconic mermaid as its primary motif, this work embodies all the eccentricity, charm, and wit that are all so unique to American Folk Painting.

Ralph Eugene Cahoon Mermaid Love, Cape Cod Skin Divers
Ralph Eugene Cahoon (American, 1910-1982)
Mermaid Love, Cape Cod Skin Divers
Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000


Ed Jaster

Ed Jaster
Senior VP, Fine & Decorative Arts

You can’t get much more iconic than this work: here is an opportunity to acquire a study for arguably one of Rockwell’s most identifiable and important works.

Norman Rockwall Study for Triple Self Portrait, 1960Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978)
Study for Triple Self Portrait, 1960
Estimate: $150,000 – $250,000


Dohanos is another great artist from the Golden Age of Illustration—and I firmly believe that he is still undervalued. This is a quality work that can also serve as a smart investment

Steve Dohanos First Day of School, Saturday Evening Post magazine cover, September 2, 1944Stevan Dohanos (American, 1907-1994)
First Day of School, Saturday Evening Post magazine cover, September 2, 1944
Estimate: $150,000 – $250,000

Browse all art pieces in our American Art Signature Auction ending on May 3rd, track and bid on your favorites!

Posted by Heritage Editorial

This article was written as a collaborative effort by multiple experts within the category at Heritage Auctions.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. We are glad you enjoyed the read.


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