With sale totals as high as $37m in 2008 and as low as $9.2m last year, the Couer d’Alene auction, Western art’s top sale, brought in $16.7m this year:
A summer ritual since 1985, the Coeur d’Alene auction (which kept its name, despite moving from Idaho to Nevada a decade ago) is basically Art Basel for the ranching and oil set, who come for the Western camaraderie as well as for the art.
Among those expected this year is Idaho lumber magnate Marc Brinkmeyer, who primarily collects contemporary Western works. Mr. Brinkmeyer has attended the auction for close to 15 years: “Usually I come home with more than I bargained for. It’s good for us collectors that the market’s down a little bit.”
At Saturday’s sale, just under 300 lots will be hammered down in roughly five hours, with spotters in the room pointing out bidders with enthusiastic “yips” and “has.”
Art of the West Rounded Up for a Rebound (Wall Street Journal)