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Turner Auctions to offer art dealer’s personal collection Oct. 22

Turner Auctions
Michael Bergt, ‘Framed in,’ 1989, egg tempera on panel. Estimate: $2,000-4,000. Turner Auctions + Appraisals image


SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Turner Auctions + Appraisals will sell the John Pence Collection of Academic Realists & Abstract Art on Sunday, Oct. 22, starting at 10:30 a.m. Pacific time / 1:30 p.m. Eastern. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

John Pence, founder and owner of the largest art gallery in San Francisco and one of the premier academic realist galleries in the U.S., recently retired from his eponymous firm after 44 years in business. The online auction features artworks from Pence’s personal collection, supplemented with works from his gallery. The focus of Pence’s own assemblage and his gallery is on academic realists, abstract works, and significant works from the 19th and early 20th centuries that inspired them. The Pence Collection will be offered for sale in two parts: the first on Oct. 22 and the second in early 2018.


Turner Auctions
Eric Goulder, ‘Nude Figurative Sculpture,’ 10in. x 30in. x 20in., bronze. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Turner Auctions + Appraisals image


Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, John Pence attended Wabash College for men, where he graduated with a degree in political science and economics. His career as a gallerist, however, was several decades and jobs away. After college, he joined the U.S. Navy, where he served as an officer for nine years. His last assignment before leaving the Navy was as a White House military aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson.


Turner Auctions
Donald Jurney, ‘Lake Agawam, Southampton,’ oil on board. Estimate: $400-$600. Turner Auctions + Appraisals image


Pence next worked in the air transportation industry. In his travels around the world, Pence developed an interest in art and began buying and selling art on the side.

He opened John Pence Gallery opened in 1974. Throughout this career, his focus has been on artists starting out, supporting their efforts and showcasing their work as a patron, mentor, friend and admirer.


Turner Auctions
Christopher Pugliese, ‘Chocolate,’ 2002, oil on panel. Estimate: $300-$500. Turner Auctions + Appraisals image

The list of artists that Pence has nurtured and represented through the years is impressive. Artists in the two Pence auctions include Douglas Fenn Wilson, Michael Bengt, Will Wilson, Dorothy Morgan, Robert Maione, Randall Lake, Dean Larson, Jacob Collins, Michael Lynch, and Donald Jurney among others.

Earlier this year, Pence decided it was time to retire.


Turner Auctions
Adam Forfang, ‘Still Life,’ oil painting. Estimate: $200-$400. Turner Auctions + Appraisals image


Looking back on his career as a gallerist and patron, Pence says he has enjoyed the camaraderie, friendship and mentorship he was able to give people – superb artists. He knows why he had such a wonderful 40-plus years in his business: people are treasures. Pence said it best in a recent Facebook post: “Yes, it is true that I will be retiring … after 44 years in San Francisco, wonderful years representing some of the finest painters and sculptors in the U.S. Our mission was to find worthy artists, expose their work to the public, and work with them to get their careers started off on the right track. I believe we have met those goals … ”

For details contact Turner Auctions + Appraisals at or 415-964-5250.


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