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In November 1999 Christies held yet another extraordinary sale, this time in their newly established Rockefeller Center location, even they did not anticipate the success that lay ahead. In that sale was the lot that seven years earlier at Altermann and Morris sold as a Herman Herzog, this time it was being sold as an Albert Bierstadt, another American painter, who like Herzog trained in Dusseldorf, but whose auction record was some twenty times higher. Confronted by phone calls from a west coast dealer who had seen the earlier sale, Christie's withdrew the painting. For posterity sake, here is how it was catalogued.

001 002 b

Do note, nothing in the provenance mentions the Altermann and Morris sale, nor does it mention the original owner who consigned it to Altermann and Morris.

003

004

005

006

008New Mexico newspaper coverage of the lawsuit post Christies

009

010As the painting appeared in Altermann and Morris in October 1992

011 Library of Congress Young Bobby Shelton on horseback "Herzog" consignor Bobby Shelton on horseback, Library of Congress

012Kerrville Mountain Sun Sat Jul 11 1987 King Ranch Heir Bobby Shelton loaned the painting to a museum he founded, Kerrville Mountain. Sun Sat Jul 11 1987

013The Kerrville Times Wed Oct 14 1987

 014 Herzog TwilightA similar work by Hermann Herzog, "Twilight, 1876"

015detailHerzog TwilightDetail of Herzog, Twilight, note clouds eclipsing sunlight

016 detailDetail of controversial work, note clouds eclipsing sunlight

Herzog, or Bierstadt? You decide, currently the centerpiece of a new show at the Western Museum of Art in Cody, Wyoming. One thing is for sure, the late King Ranch heir Bobby Shelton had an opinion and he sold it as a Herzog.

 

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