One thing these artists do share: their individual painting styles are instantly recognizable. You can’t fake Ringholz, Schenck or Cawdrey.
Have you had a chance to de-brief yourself about 2017’s Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival? Depending on where you’re standing—your gallery, museum or how well your own work sold during Fall Arts, your take is likely different from your colleague’s. And visa versa.
The most obvious success is a record breaking sale by 2017 Fall Arts Festival artist Mark Keathley. His featured painting “Rise Above” sold at Quick Draw for $77,500. That’s $27,500 over the last record, held by Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey, whose flashy Fall Arts painting of a moose, painted on silk, sold for $50,000. Both artists are represented by Terry Ray at West Lives On Gallery, a venerable Jackson Hole Art gallery and a long-standing member of Jackson’s Chamber of Commerce. Keathley told me he hadn’t had the kind of smile that makes your face hurt since his baby girl was born.
The Quick Draw, IMHO, was the crowd favorite this year. Cursed with cold, wet, bone-chilling weather, artists turned out. So did their fans. The Quick Draw Auction tent was packed to overflowing, and a rousing good time was had! A tip of the Stetson to EVERY artist braving those conditions! To view some photos, click here.
West Lives On was, until about a decade ago, strictly a traditional Western art gallery. That is, you wouldn’t find any abstract, colorist, pop-art, block prints, “string painting,” or otherwise “un-Western” art there. But Terry Ray is a savvy guy. Recognizing that what we call “Contemporary Western” art was a growing trend he opened West Lives On Contemporary, adjacent to his original space.
Jackson’s Chamber likes to alternate contemporary and traditional themes and artists when choosing a Fall Arts Festival artist. Cawdrey, whose flame-bright colors attract attention and reflect a move away from illustrative work, is still considered by many “New West” artists to be fairly traditional. The Chamber, though, saw her work as “new.” Compare Cawdrey to artists like Amy Ringholz and Billy Schenck, two style-busting “New West” painters who have been featured Fall Arts artists.
How do you feel they compare? One thing these artists do share: their individual painting styles are instantly recognizable. You can’t fake Ringholz, Schenck or Cawdrey.
Fall Arts Festival poster artists are chosen for how their image will resonate with tourists and art collectors. It’s a painstaking process, thought out well in advance. Always in the picture? THE TETONS.
Back to Mr. Keathley. Not only did his painting sell for an astromical amount, it was, on my Jackson Hole Art Blog Facebook page, one of the most popular images I’ve ever posted. Same with Instagram.
On Facebook, 3,549 people were reached around the world. On Instagram, thousands of “Likes!” Keathley’s image enjoyed 28 shares. Comments like Floriane Gaïo’s “Superbe représentation historique, j’adooore !!!” came in. “Magnifique photo!” Facebook likes came from France, England, Japan, Germany, China and all around the United States. There were 248 post engagements. In five days.
A few months back, I promoted a painting by John Potter. Potter had had a searing, emotional dream about the world and its struggle to stay healthy. He’d just completed a painting of a grizzly bear set against a Tetons backdrop. Sensing John’s words and image would resonate, I did a little promotion. Well, maybe I strung it out over a bit more time. John is a gifted painter based in Montana with a presence here in Jackson Hole. He is a representational artist and an Objibwe Indian.
That post received 35,000 hits.
I wish I could give you stats for Schenck and Ringholz, but I wasn’t collecting data when their work was featured.
Overall, 2017 Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival results were mixed; but that’s not off pace with the art world at large. In the biggest markets sales are a little soft. It’s the humdinger art that’s selling; works that are hard to come by, are created by recognized masters, and can boast stellar provenance.
Diehl Gallery has landed some artists that did well this season. Altamira is having a good year. David Brookover keeps surprising his collectors with sleek, stunning new platinum palladium photography. His sales have been exceptional, and the gallery has steered away from Chamber membership. Galleries are contributing to both the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Western Visions and to the Jackson Hole Art Auction, which realized just under $5 million in sales this year. Their top selling auction (I believe) realized $9 million. The museum reports approximately $650,000 funds raised from Western Visions; participating artists receive a healthy percentage of WV sales, and there is art left to purchase.
Other Western Art Auction results:
The Coeur d’Alene Art Auction realized $16.1 million in sales. http://www.cdaartauction.com/2017/
Quest for the West: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlUYUUkWlGs&feature=youtu.be
Scottsdale Art Auction- Western, Wildlife and Sporting Art: $8,655,196. https://www.mutualart.com/AuctionHouse/Scottsdale-Art-Auction/31FC01FFFCA72E64
Rendezvous Royale, Buffalo Bill Cody – Here’s the link if you’d like to do some math!