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Bonhams teams up with Butterfelds for California art sale!

This magnificent oil of two Clumber Spaniels, by John Emms (1843-1912) has attracted a modest estimate of between $11,000-15,000 at the forthcoming Bonhams & Butterfields Dogs in Art sale to be held in San Francisco, California, on March 30th.


On Tuesday, March 30th, 2004 at 10am, Bonhams will host their first ever ‘Dogs in Art’ sale in the USA with their new ‘partner’, Butterfields of San Francisco.

Bonhams were the first auction house in the UK to host the themed "Dogs in Art" sales back in the early 1980's in London. Such was their success that both Christie's and Sotheby's soon followed. However, the original Bonhams sale remained the market leader. As most of the big buyers for quality dog art were in the USA, it was only a matter of time before Bonhams took the sale stateside, which it did a few years ago with great success and it has remained a popular feature ever since.

Originally, their partner in the venture was the New York auction house, Doyle's, but with the recent global expansion of the Bonham's empire and following the acquiring of the San Francisco auction house, Butterfields, it makes sound business sense to host the US Dogs in Art sale with its own subsidiary, rather than with a competitor. Doyle's decided to host their own Dogs in Art sale this year and had the advantage of a February date and New York venue to tie up with the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show. Doyle's stated they were pleased with their inaugural solo sale and plan to be back again next year. Collectors and Dealers will watch future developments and the Bonham's/Butterfields venture on the West coast with great interest.

The auction will offer just 147 lots compared with the 275 lots offered last month in New York. However, what the sale lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. The artists in the sale read like a Who's Who of canine art with artists such as George Armfield (1810-1893), Ruben Ward Binks (1880-1940), Thomas Blinks (1853-1910), Horatio Henry Couldrey (1832-1893), Edwin Douglas (1848-1914), John Emms (1843-1912), Samuel Fulton (1855-1941), Valentine Garland (1868-1914), Fanny Moody (active 1855-1897), John Sergeant Nobel (1848-1896), Arthur Wardle (1864-1949) and William Woodhouse (1857-1939) all being represented.

The sale also includes some unusual items like the six paintings by Belgian artist Thierry Poncelet. Poncelet is a former art restorer who got bored with just restoring old portraits and has taken to over-painting original period ancestral portraits with heads of pedigree dogs, which he feels matches the style of the original work. His work is very much an acquired taste, but is very popular in the US and if his paintings are going to sell anywhere is has to be in wild and wacky California. There are seven different paintings of Foxhounds, for some reason particularly popular with Japanese collectors I am told, by the British artist Henry Frederick Lucas-Lucas (d. 1948) and an excellent selection of six works by the very highly regarded John Emms. Bonhams hold the world record for an Emms work, with one of the previous New York sales and his works usually fetch excellent money in the US.

It's always tricky to pick out potential stars in a sale, but a painting of two Toy Spaniels from the "Circle of Sir Edwin Landseer" as featured on the front page of Our Dogs recently, is estimated at $30,000-40,000. A similar figure is expected for an oil of a bitch with some playful puppies by Belgian artist Charles van den Eycken (1859-1923), whilst a fantastic picture of three of Col Dennis's Waterloo Cup dogs "Distingue, Dendraspis and Dilwyn" by Arthur Wardle is expected to fetch at least $60,000. Don't let the fact that the sale is in the US put you off from bidding, with the dollar exchange rate now very much to our advantage, there could well still be some bargains to be collected. There are several paintings listed at under $1,000, but do check with the auctioneers first as to what the charges will be for shipping back from the US and if there will be any VAT and duty applicable on import.

Butterfields is located at 220 San Bruno, San Francisco, California, 94013. The Dogs in Art Auction will be held on Tuesday, March 30th, 2004 at 10am. Just in case you happen to be passing the viewing times are: Friday, March 26th, Saturday, March 27th, Sunday, March 28th, and Monday, March 29th, all 10am -5pm. The fully illustrated catalogue ($55- + Post) is available from both Bonhams in London (tel: 01666 502 200) and Butterfieds in the US (tel: 001 415 861 7500). It is also possible to view the entire catalogue and leave bids online at www.bonham'

Lot 133: One of two stunning Kerry Blue paintings in the sale, by British artist Ruth Gibbons. This is of "Acquire Estella", owned and exhibited by G. P. Ledeboer and bred by Mrs R Smith. Her sire was Ch Acquire Best Blue, who was BOB at Crufts in 1951 and 1952. A painting of this dog is also in the sale. They are estimated at $1,200-1,800 each.