News Release: Sales of art at Eiteljorg’s Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale exceed $1.2 million
Exhibit of top Western art on public view through Oct. 10
At the Eiteljorg Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale, artist John Fawcett, center, received the Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award from Quest chair Catherine Turner, left, and Eiteljorg Museum President and CEO John Vanausdall, right. Image by Brittany Erwin.
INDIANAPOLIS – More than $1.2 million in high-end Western art was sold Sept. 10-11 during the Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale, held at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis. At the 16th annual Quest for the West®, 240 collectors were able to purchase art created by 51 of the nation’s leading Western artists. This year’s luck-of-the-draw sale and awards dinner marked the first time in two years that the annual event could be held in person; Quest was a virtual sale last year due to the pandemic.
Adding star power to Quest for the West® was acclaimed actor Wes Studi (Cherokee), famous for his roles in Dances with Wolves, The Last of the Mohicans, Geronimo and other films and TV shows. Studi was guest speaker at three Quest events during the weekend and discussed his life and career, and the museum presented the actor with the prestigious Eiteljorg Museum Award for Excellence for his support of Native American arts and languages.
“Quest for the West® supports the Western art field and enjoys a national reputation for excellence among Western art shows. To be able to conduct Quest in person again at the Eiteljorg Museum was extremely rewarding. We are grateful to the exceptional artists, the enthusiastic collectors and our special guest Wes Studi who delighted the audience,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said. “We are especially thankful to the sponsors of Quest for the West® and the staff and volunteers who made Quest so memorable.”
Several Quest artists and their works were recognized in the juried awards competition:
John Fawcett, Trading at Pierre’s Hole, 2021, oil, 30 x 40 inches
- An oil painting by John Fawcett of Clark, Colorado, Trading at Pierre’s Hole, won the Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award, presented by the Western Art Society. Acquired by the museum with society funds, the painting now joins the Eiteljorg’s collection.
Mark Kelso, Snow Angels, oil on panel, 30 x 48 inches
- Artist Mark Kelso – the only Indianapolis-area artist to participate in Quest this year – had an exceptional weekend; his oil painting Snow Angels depicting two swans won an unprecedented three Quest awards: the Henry Farny Award for Best Painting, the Patrons’ Choice Award (as chosen by Quest guests), and the Artists’ Choice Award (as chosen by his fellow Quest artists).
Denis Milhomme, California Dreaming, 2021, oil, 24 x 32 inches
- Artist Denis Milhomme of Three Rivers, California, was named the Artist of Distinction, meaning his paintings will be the focus of a solo show at the Eiteljorg during the next Quest for the West® Art Sale and Show in fall 2022.
Gerald Balciar, Cactus Perch, 2021, bronze, 12 x 9 x 5 inches
- Artist Gerald Balciar of Parker, Colorado, received the Cyrus Dallin Award for Best Sculpture for his bronze sculpture, Cactus Perch.
Brett Allen Johnson, The Totems, oil on linen, 24 x 24 inches
- Artist Brett Allen Johnson of Lehi, Utah, in his first time participating at Quest for the West®, received the Victor Higgins Work of Distinction Award, for best body of work presented in the show.
Including 111 artworks sold during the Quest main sale Saturday, 43 smaller artworks by the same artists purchased at the Quest Miniature Sale Friday and additional pieces purchased since then, a total of $1,236,590 in art was sold at Quest this year. Collectors could purchase in person or as absentee buyers. Most sales proceeds go directly to the artists, with the museum receiving a percentage. Any artworks not sold during Quest weekend (paintings as well as additional casts of bronze sculptures) remained available for purchase through Oct. 10.
Meanwhile, the Quest paintings and sculptures, whether sold or not, remained on view at the Eiteljorg for one month for the general public to enjoy before purchased works were shipped to their buyers. The Quest for the West® exhibition continued through Oct. 10.
This year’s Quest for the West® also celebrated 15 previous years of winners of the annual Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award. Those works remain on view in the museum’s Western Art Galleries. These selections reflect the generous support of the Western Art Society, a group of dedicated museum supporters and art enthusiasts who have helped the museum acquire important works of Western art.
The Eiteljorg Museum thanked the presenting sponsors of the 16th annual Quest for the West®: the Western Art Society and the Avis Foundation, as well as other sponsors and individual donors.
2021 Quest award recipients
During an awards ceremony, five artists were honored with awards for excellence:
Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award
John Fawcett, Clark, Colorado
Trading at Pierre’s Hole, 2021, oil, 30 x 40 inches
Sponsored by the Western Art Society
Artist of Distinction Award, which includes a 2022 solo show
Denis Milhomme, Three Rivers, California
(Example of his work: California Dreaming, 2021, oil, 24 x 32 inches)
Sponsored by the Western Art Society
Victor Higgins Work of Distinction Award, for best body of work presented in the show
Brett Allen Johnson, Lehi, Utah
For works including The Totems, oil on linen, 24 x 24 inches
Sponsored by Catherine Turner
Henry Farny Award for Best Painting
Mark Kelso, Bargersville, Indiana
Snow Angels, oil on panel, 30 x 48 inches
Presented by Stephen and Jane Marmon
The Cyrus Dallin Award for Best Sculpture
Gerald Balciar, Parker, Colorado
Cactus Perch, 2021, bronze, 12 x 9 x 5 inches
Sponsored by Mike and Carla Leppert
Patrons’ Choice Award, given in recognition of the work voted most popular by Quest patrons
Mark Kelso, Snow Angels
Sponsored by Patty and Tom Gibbs
The Artists’ Choice Award, given in recognition of the work most popular with Quest artists
Mark Kelso, Snow Angels
Sponsored by Phyllis Cockerill
About the Eiteljorg Museum
A cultural pillar for 32 years in downtown Indianapolis’ scenic White River State Park, the Eiteljorg Museum seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the arts, histories and cultures of the Native peoples of North America and of the American West by telling amazing stories. Located on the Central Canal at 500 West Washington St., the Eiteljorg is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. It was named one of the USA Today Readers’ Choice 10 Best Indiana Attractions.
Images of artworks are courtesy of the artists and the Eiteljorg Museum.
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Note: Western Art & Architecture magazine in its December 2021/January 2022 issue published an article about the results and sales total of the 2021 Quest for the West®. Read it at this link:
Western Art & Architecture_Quest article_December 2021