Visual Arts

Revisiting the Logan Art Auction

“Farmington Winter” (1924) by LeConte Stewart sold for $126,000.

By unanimous vote, the Logan City School District Board of Education finalized the sale of 10 paintings in the district’s collection purchased with the milk money of elementary students in the 1930s that became worth a good deal: in this instance $435,061.

The initial purchase was organized by early Utah arts champion Alice Merrill Horne; the current auction was opposed by her great-granddaughters Salt Lake City gallery owner Karen Horne and her sister Bonnie Horne Schroader; the Utah Cultural Alliance that presented a petition with nearly 800 signatures; Scott Bushman of the Cache County Historical Society; Katie Lee-Korvan, executive director and chief curator of USU’s Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art; and many other art professionals and supporters (see our article here).

While David Ericson, the Salt Lake City art dealer who handled the sealed-bid auction, says it was agreed that per-item prices would be undisclosed and buyers would remain anonymous, the prices were read aloud at the board meeting and several later reported by the Logan Herald Journal: “Farmington Winter” (1924) by LeConte Stewart sold for $126,000 (Ericson had estimated it would go for $80,000-$100,000); J.T. Harwood’s “Gleaners after Millet” for $68,500 and Henri Moser’s “Aspens” for $10,650. “The auction included 11 paintings, but Minerva Teichert’s ‘The Spinner’ did not receive bids above the appraisal value and was not sold,” according to the newspaper.

Ericson says that while he had 32 bids from outside the state, many of those from the East Coast, the eventual buyers were all private and from Utah (two from Logan), with the exception of one who is from California but lives at Sundance.

The works will be seen again in the state, says Ericson. “All these buyers are people who would be willing to lend them to an exhibition. They didn’t buy them to bury them,” he says.

Ericson believes the school is glad to still have the Tiechert in their collection. “The important thing is that they use the funds to restore the works they have left – there’s a great B.F. Larsen, about 4 foot by 3 foot, but with a crack over the whole surface because the paint is so thick – and spend some of the endowment funds on new work to fill in the gaps and keep the collection alive, fresh, and interesting.”

Some of the remaining art has signatures that can’t be read. Other works are by such artists as Everett Thorpe, Calvin Fletcher, Hilma Moyle Payne, Nellie Kilgore Kilnge, Vere L. Matthews, H. Reuben Reynolds, Delbert Smedley, B.F. Larsen, Esther Paulson, John Heber Stansfield, Michael Cannon, Raymond Hendry Williams, Edwin Evans, Theodore Milton Wassmer, D. Howell Rosenbaum and Mary Teasdel.

District Superintendent Frank Schofield told us that the intention is to use the funds to produce giclées of the auctioned art for display in the schools; to gradually clean and restore the remaining pieces of art so they can be appropriately displayed; and to create an endowment to provide supplemental education and cultural experiences for students who otherwise would be unable to access them.

A graduate of the University of Utah, Ann Poore is a freelance writer and editor who spent most of her career at The Salt Lake Tribune. She also worked for Salt Lake City Weekly and has written for such publications as Utah Business Magazine and Salt Lake Magazine.

Categories: Visual Arts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *