Rare and Valuable Fine Art

by Sep 14, 2022Art & Culture, South Brunswick

With a new owner, Sunset River Gallery opens a 20th Century Art Installation this month.

Sunset River Gallery in Calabash announces the opening of its new 20th Century Art Installation, a selection of rare and valuable fine and modern art, primarily impressionist and abstract.

The collection currently features paintings by Wolf Kahn (1927-2020), Ed Mell (1942), Raimonds Staprans (1926), Angell Botello (1913-1986), Jean Xceron (1890-1967), Emile Gruppe (1896-1998), identical twins Raphael Soyer (1899-1987) and Moses Soyer (1899-1974), Rolph Scarlett (1889-1984), Gloria Vanderbilt (1924-2019), and Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer (1912-1997). Also included is a bronze sculpture by Glenna GoodAcre (1939-2020).

Formerly Sunset River Marketplace, the gallery recently changed hands. New owner Larry Johnson from Bethesda, Maryland, has bought and sold art through major and middle-market auctions around the world for two decades. He has been an amateur painter and sculptor for years, achieving a minor in fine art from Purdue University.

With an ever-growing collection of fine art, Johnson set out to find a gallery into which he could integrate his auction purchases.

“Sunset River proved to be a perfect match for me,” he says. “It is a large gallery in a vibrant but still reasonable area, which will facilitate the selling of valuable paintings at very competitive prices. The gallery represents over 150 local and regional artists and craftspeople, so we will continue to serve the local community while showcasing these fine examples of 20th century work.”

Former gallery owner Ginny Lassiter adds, “For 20 years, I’ve nurtured Sunset River as a thriving community art hub, and I’m thrilled that Larry is going to continue that concept. The gallery has played an important role in developing the area’s cultural and commercial community. I’m grateful for the continued support of local artists and residents as well as the thousands of visitors that come to see us every year.”
Lassiter will continue to work with Sunset River in an advisory capacity and curating exhibitions and artist events.

Highlights of the new installation include two paintings by Wolf Kahn, Pink Sky, 28” x 34”, oil on canvas and Through the Gap, 42” x 72”. Kahn is well known for both his oils and pastels. He was first published as far back as 1979 and his artwork is represented in several popular books including Wolf Kahn’s America, published in 2003. His work has always brought solid market prices and has been sold by Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Heritage Auctions. He passed away in 2020 and Christie’s auctioned Fields of Vision: The Private Collection of Artists Wolf Kahn and [his wife and fellow artist] Emily Mason on May 17, 2021. This auction established a new auction record at $207,000 and seem to spark a new pricing level for both Kahn’s and Mason’s work. In November 2021, a new auction record of $212,500 was reached for Wolff Kahn’s Atlantic Highlands.

Wolf Kahn Pink Sky

There are also three coveted Raimonds Staprans oils: Boats ’72, 28’ x 34”; Boats At Newport #2, 28” x 34”and Landscape With a Barn, 44” x 48”. The artist was born in Latvia in 1926 and currently lives in San Francisco, California, but is no longer painting. His pieces are found in numerous museums. The San Jose Museum of Art in San Jose, CA has a substantial collection as does the State Museum of Art, Riga, Latvia. Staprans’ work is considered to be in the circle of Wayne Thiebaud and Richard Diebenkorn; he was friends with both of them. Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Christie’s have sold his work, although recent auction records have come through California-based Clars Auction Gallery at $147,600 on Sept. 12, 2020 and then $187,500, June 17, 2022. Available paintings by Raimonds Staprans are very scarce.

Raymonds Staprans Boats

Also still living is Ed Mell, born in 1942. He has his own gallery in Phoenix, Arizona, with his work gaining popularity sharply in recent years, leaving almost no inventory of his original paintings for sale. Surprisingly, the two art auction majors, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, have yet to bring his work to auction, but since his auction results have recently exceeded $100,000, that may be simply a matter of time. His Shadowed Walls, measuring 40” x 78”, is available through Sunset River Gallery. It is a striking showpiece of 20th century American art.

Angel Botello is represented with two charming pieces: Reclining Girl 35 7/8” x 48” and Niño con Caballito, 24” x 30” in the Sunset River collection. Born in 1913 in Puerto Rico, he essentially began as a street artist. His work is so unique and appealing that his fame grew during his lifetime such that resales at various auctions quickly outpaced his original art prices. He was both a painter and a sculptor. Botello’s work is often sold at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, His auction maximum was achieved at Christie’s in 2007 for Nina Durmiendo at $397,000.

The 20th Century Art installation at Sunset River Gallery is open now; however, a reception is planned for a later date once some cosmetic upgrades have been completed at the gallery.

Want to go?
Sunset River Gallery
10283 Beach Drive SW, Calabash
(910) 575-5999
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The FrameCenter, located within the gallery, is open Wednesday through Friday 12 to 5 p.m. and by appointment. Call framer Louis Aliotta directly at (910) 368-7351.