Christie's is pleased to offer works from the superb collection of Arthur J. Stegall, Jr. This unusually comprehensive collection presents a view of Western American Art that includes numerous examples by the finest painters and ranges from an early work by Charles M. Russell to paintings created in the mid-twentieth century.
Arthur J. Stegall, Jr. was born in Jackson, Tennessee in 1924, a direct descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Nelson. After serving in World War II, he returned to Vanderbilt University--older, confident, and determined to enjoy life and the adventures it presented. In 1956, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona where he co-founded Lawrence & Stegall Ranches; by the mid-1960s, the company had grown into one of the largest land and cattle-ranching companies in the West.
Arthur, while a businessman, was also immersed in the cowboy culture; he lived it, often rode with the cowboys on huge ranches that stretched beyond anything you could see, and loved traveling through the distinctive landscape of California and the Southwest. His curiosity and enthusiasm for learning about each region's art community grew from his enjoyment of the land and its people. Art collecting added another dimension to the pleasure he took in the world he had made his home, one that has now largely vanished into commercial development. Arthur learned about the artists on his own as well as by building relationships with art dealers and museum people. Arthur's early support of the Phoenix Art Museum, to which he frequently lent works, allowed him to share his delight, excitement and personal enthusiasm for American Western Art.
Arthur approached the building of his collection with his characteristic sense of adventure. He was fortunate to be an early player in the field of collecting American Western Art and was able to to acquire works by the leading painters of the Taos School. Remarkable examples by Oscar Berninghaus, Eanger Couse, Nicolai Fechin, and Joseph Henry Sharp, were among his favorites. Arthur was able to find paintings of exceptional quality and rarely parted with any of the works he chose. A true collector, Arthur loved living with his collection of American Western Art--even after he stopped riding with the cowboys.
Property from the Collection of Arthur J. Stegall, Jr.