Mortensen Studios Jackson Hole Showcase

Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival: A Small Town Art Scene That’s Anything But Sleepy

There’s something all-too-familiar and yet bittersweet about the shift to fall air in Jackson Hole; it’s that new found edge on the breeze, the twilight deepening at ever-earlier hours, and–if you happen to be in town at the moment–you may notice an influx of visitors blowing in on the autumn wind as well.

These would be the artists, collectors, and curious patrons of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, a joyous celebration lasting from September 7-18. Despite being firmly on the valley’s cultural roster for 32 years, the Festival never ceases to feel new. The events, some inside, some out, allow visitors and locals alike to stretch the fall days just a little bit further with revelry and art of international caliber. Of the myriad events–many pairing local galleries and foodies–a few stand out as outstanding opportunities to collect, mingle with fellow western and wildlife arts aficionados, and steal a glimpse of the design story unfolding in homes throughout the valley.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Jackson Hole Art Auction Turns 10

The Jackson Hole Art Auction is a bit like the star each event of the Festival orbits, anchoring the festivities with a truly unparalleled opportunity for dedicated collectors to bid on rare canvases, some up for auction for the first time. 2016’s event marks the second year that sales will be split over two sessions, both held at the Center for the Arts. The tenth anniversary auction is stronger than ever, with nearly 390 lots and a dual approach to the sale. Session I (held on September 16 at 12 p.m.) is targeted towards those dabbling their toes in collecting for the first time, offering a range of smaller works by established western masters as well as contemporary works.

It may just be love at first sight.

Session II (September 17 at 12 p.m.) features works that are sure to spark intense one-upmanship. “The atmosphere at the sales is infectious,” says Auction Coordinator Madison Webb. “Anytime a piece soars above the high estimate or an intense bidding war comes to an end, the crowd inevitably breaks out in applause–filling the auditorium.”

For both sales, Webb offers a preview into some of the works already generating buzz. “Each of our sales is carefully curated,” she says. “We strive to bring only the best western and wildlife art to market.” It’s worth perusing the catalog yourself or attending the previews in advance of each sale. It may just be love at first sight.

ufer-walter-1876-1936-october-oil-on-canvas-31-5-x-47Walter Ufer (1876–1936), October, oil on canvas, 31 1/2 x 47 1/4 in. Estimate: $300,000–$450,000

blumenschein-ernest-1874-1960-rock-of-fire-morning-ghost-ranch-caErnest Blumenschein (1874–1960), Rock of Fire – Morning, Ghost Ranch (ca. 1925), oil on canvas, 24 x 27 in. Estimate: $300,000–$450,000


“This year’s sale is very strong in Taos masterworks. For the first time ever, we have works from all six founding members of the Taos Society of Artists (Oscar E. Berninghaus, Ernest Blumenschein, Eanger Irving Couse, William Herbert Dunton, Bert Geer Phillips, and Joseph Henry Sharp)! Important Taos highlights include Walter Ufer’s October and Ernest Blumenschein’s Rock of Fire – Morning, Ghost Ranch, both of which are fresh to the auction market and will be offered at $300,000 to $450,000.”





“Another of the clear highlights of this year’s sale is N.C. Weyth’s He Rode Away, Following a Dim Trail Among the Sage. Painted in 1909 for a Redbook Magazine article, the painting is a rare example of Wyeth’s early love affair with the American West.”

N.C. Wyeth (1882–1945), He Rode Away, Following a Dim Trail Among the Sage (1909), oil on canvas, 38 x 25 in. Estimate: $500,000–$700,000





Friedrich Wilhelm Kuhnert (1865–1926), Brüllende Löwen, oil on canvas, 44 3/4 x 83 1/2 in. Estimate: $200,000–$300,000

“We have an impressive group of work by German wildlife master Friedrich Wilhelm Kuhnert this year. Kuhnert was the first European artist to travel to Africa in order to observe and depict the animals in their natural habitat. Prior to World War II, his body of work included over five thousand paintings, but currently only around one thousand are known to be in existence—making it all the more remarkable that we have nine works in this year’s sale. Among the Kuhnert collection are two monumental canvases titled Brüllende Löwen and Kafferbüffel am Tümpel, which are both estimated at $200,000-$300,000.”

“Session I contains a number of lesser known gems like E.W. Deming’s Indians in Flight and Leland Curtis’ Teton Landscape. Another striking piece is Albert Bierstadt’s Western Landscape—at just 6 x 8 ½ inches, it truly is a little gem.” 

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), Western Landscape, oil on paper mounted on board, 6 x 8 1/2 inches. Estimate: $30,000–$50,000





Ringman during the 2015 Jackson Hole Art Auction. Photo Credit: Jackson Hole Art Auction, Jeffrey Kaphan


The Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes Beckons Guests Inside 4 Unique Valley Homes

At the Clear Creek Group, residential design questions are second nature to us. It seems intuitive , then, that one Fall Arts event has turned its focus to the intensely personal canvas of the home. Hosted by Homestead Magazine, the Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes offers a two-day self-guided tour (September 16 & 17, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.) of four diverse valley residences that express everything from the spare and contemplative to the homey and lodge-inspired. The beauty of the homes themselves, however, is not the only draw:

“The main aspect of the Showcase that sets it apart is the ability to have face-to-face conversations with the designers and craftspeople that have created these one-of-a kind masterpieces,” explains Megan Jenkins, who has been coordinating the home tours since their inception four years ago. With two full days to explore, you can wander as long as you like at each stop, tracking down answers on everything from tile selection to the inside architectural scoop. In addition, all ticket proceeds support local charities selected by the homeowners themselves.

“I think the ideal two days would include combining stops on the Showcase tour with other Fall Arts Festival events,” Jenkins says. “Linger at each property for food, drink, and conversation while enjoying a leisurely drive around the valley during what I feel is the most beautiful time of year.” With an itinerary that takes in some of Jackson Hole’s most scenic roads–often lined with turning aspens and western maple–this is an excellent suggestion indeed.

“The main aspect of the Showcase that sets it apart is the ability to have face-to-face conversations with the designers and craftspeople that have created these one-of-a kind masterpieces,”

“I think the tours reveal that the understanding that ‘home’ can mean very different things to different people. Creating a ‘home’ is in fact an art to be admired and shared. I am always amazed how people tend to come away from the tour with such a heightened appreciation and awareness for different styles of design and architecture they never even knew they might like.”


Granite Ridge Masterpiece, a clean-lined and sophisticated residence designed by Dynia Architects and built by Two Oceans Builders.

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An injection of urban mystique in a mountain setting at a Wilderness Ranches remodel, designed by and featuring Howells Architecture + Design, Designed Interiors, Dembergh Construction, Willow Creek Woodworks, and Brandner Design.


split_creek-jacksonholeshowcaseA newly-constructed log homage to homestead building styles nestled in the pristine setting of Split-C-Ranch, once part of the historic Moulton Ranch.

mortensen-studios-jackson-hole-showcase-17“This stop is not to be missed!” says Jenkins. Meet local legend John B. Mortensen, whose Fish Creek compound offers a treasure trove of his bronze sculpture work, Native American artifacts, and an original 1913 dwelling listed with the Teton County Historic Preservation Board.


Western Visions Brings the Party to Its Superb Gala Fundraiser

Few museum fundraisers truly walk the talk when it comes to their fancy events and parties. Western Visions, now in its 29th year, is a storied exception. Year after year, the program and events team at the National Museum of Wildlife Art manifests the Museum’s mission to enrich humanity’s relationship to nature by inviting a premier selection of living artists depicting traditional or conceptual wildlife subjects into the halls of the Museum itself. These artists include vanguard up-and-comers hanging right alongside seasoned stars of the genre. Plenty of beloved local painters including Kathryn Mapes Turner, September Vhay, Amy Ringholz, Bill Sawczuk, and Jennifer L. Hoffman will also be in attendance.

A spirit of generosity abounds…

Spanning two evenings (with the opportunity to preview the exhibition by visiting the Museum beforehand), the Artist Party on September 15 is the splashy, social affair of the two, offering gourmet hors d’oeuvres, the chance to discuss works with the artists themselves, and live music worth tapping a boot to. On September 16, the Annual Show & Sale provokes serious bidding as excitement permeates the Museum and patrons drift through the halls to socialize and sip wine. Outside, sunset blushes against the backdrop of the National Elk Refuge and Sheep Mountain.

A spirit of generosity abounds as the Museum Trustees add to the lively atmosphere by putting their heads together each year to sponsor the purchase of a new work for the Museum’s permanent collection. Thus, the Museum continues its conversation with the wildlife of its backyard, and the trace of wildness we all sense in the transition to a fall breeze.



Nicola Hicks, Untitled Horse Studies, 2010. Sketch – Pen on Paper, 15 x 22 inches, Opening bid $4,000.0

Nicola Hicks was born in London in 1960. She studied at Chelsea School of Art and completed postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Art. In 1995 she was awarded an MBE for her contribution to the visual arts. Over 2013, Hicks has had work included in a Hayward Touring exhibition culminating at The Venice Biennale, exhibited at St Paul’s Cathedral, and had a solo exhibition at The Yale Center of British Art.


Jim Wilcox, Icons of String Lake, Painting – Oil on Canvas, 9 x 12 inches. Opening bid $2,800.00

Jim Wilcox is inspired by subjects throughout the world, and light, atmosphere, and design are his primary interests. His awards include the Prix de West purchase award in 1987, the Remington award for excellence in painting in 2002 and 2007 in the same show, seven awards in the Arts for the Parks show, including the 1994 purchase award, the Buffalo Bill Art Show purchase award in 2001; the Masters of the American West purchase award in 2013, and many others.


Diana Reuter Twining, Pear Study, Sculpture–Bronze on wood base–Edition of 50, 8 x 11.25 x 6.5 inches. Set price $1,500.00

Diana Reuter-Twining’s architecture and art is founded on principles of geometry and rhythm. She has come to understand art as an exploration of memory and image. She attributes her love of nature to apprenticing with her father, a surgeon and photographer who freelanced for National Geographic. As a young teenager, she accompanied him to East Africa, where he took photographs for the magazine’s book, The Animals of East Africa. With more than 30 trips to Africa since, her notebooks are full of inspiration.


Ron Kingswood, Autumn Song of the West, Painting — Oil on Canvas, 72 x 64 inches. Opening bid $38,00

Ron Kingswood’s playful yet carefully crafted paintings contain the natural world at their core. Born in 1959 in St. Thomas, Ontario, and after studying 2 years of art at H.B. Beal in London, Ontario, he then proceeded to study Bird Ecology and Ornithology at the University of Western Ontario. This education gave him a keener sense of his subjects and art itself. His portrayals do not aim to reveal empathy or contentment towards his subject – they are instead abstract compositions that reveal the pure and natural qualities of the space through the eyes of the artist.



John Banovich, Simply One Thing on His Mind. Painting – Oil on Belgian linen. 8 x 10 inches, Opening bid $6,200.00

John Banovich is known internationally for his large, dramatic portrayals of iconic wildlife. Banovich’s work can be found in museum, corporate, and private collections including the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Wildlife Experience Art Museum, Natural History Museum, Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Salmagundi Club and Society of Animal Artists traveling exhibitions. Under the umbrella of his Banovich Wildscapes Foundation, money generated through artwork sales has been channeled into the support of conservation efforts.


For more information about the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, as well as to learn more or purchase tickets to any of these events, please visit: