HOUSTON – Simpson Galleries, Houston’s oldest auction house, saw intense bidding competition during the Fine Art & Antiques Auction on Sept. 21-22. Both days of the auction crescendoed with a battle between bidders, in the auction salesroom, online and on a full telephone bank, competing for some of the rarest Texas maps ever to come up for auction. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
Conservative estimates of $10,000 to $15,000 and $25,000 to $35,000 were quickly left in the dust as the bids ended at sale prices of $119,000 for the 1867 Houston map (above) and $137,000 for Pressler’s 1862 version of his map of the State of Texas (below).
Classic and Contemporary Texas Art shone brightly as strong prices were achieved for such beloved artists as Porfirio Salinas, Dorothy Hood and Frank Reaugh – whose almost minimalist Texas pastels have lots of fans – with one of his 3½-by-3½-inch mission drawings quadrupling the estimate to sell for almost $15,000.
Also drawing a considerable amount of bidder attention was a rare and desirable “Steve McQueen” Explorer II Rolex, produced between 1971 and 1985, so nicknamed for having been one of the wristwatch styles personally worn by the trendsetting actor.
Five works by Texas artist Dorothy Hood (1918-2000) sold including an abstract painting titled The Mauve and Copper, a 70-by-60-inch oil on canvas that reached $25,095.
Texas artist Porfirio Salinas (1910-1973) had two paintings in the auction. His cattle drive scene titled Chuckwagon, 24 by 20 inches, sold for $26,290 and a Texas landscape titled Verbena & Coreopsis, 16 by 12 inches, cleared $11,950
Ray Simpson Jr., owner of Simpson Galleries, reacted to the active bidding for the rare Texas maps, “It’s always our goal as an auction house to properly present rare and sought-after gems to the widest possible buying audience – and then let the bidders compete. We did that for sure with these maps and all the art and antiques in the auction.”