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Local paintings are focus of auction

Monday, November 18, 2002

By Mary Thomas, Post-Gazette Art Critic

Prominent among the works included in an upcoming local auction of 19th-century paintings are a still life by George Hetzel, considered the leader of the Scalp Level School that was active in Western Pennsylvania, and "The Pioneers Defence," a patriotic scene rendered in classic style that was the first painting to be reproduced as a print west of the Allegheny Mountains.

"The Pioneers Defence," oil on canvas by Trevor McClurg (1816-93), is among the paintings that will be auctioned as a fund-raiser for the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

The nine paintings of special local significance that will be auctioned Saturday at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, are from a private collection.

The event, a fund-raiser for the museum, which will receive a 10 percent buyer's and 10 percent seller's fee, is being staged by Bob Sendall of All in Good Taste Productions. Sam Berkovitz will be auctioneer.

After a 6 to 7:30 p.m. preview reception tomorrow (free but reservations requested), the paintings will be exhibited during regular museum hours (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and until 9 p.m. Thursday).

The paintings, artists and estimated selling prices follow. Information on provenance, artist background and event tickets is available at 724-837-1500, Ext. 29.

George Hetzel, "Still Life with Basket of Grapes," estimate $20,000-$30,000; Roy Hilton, "Irises," estimate $2,000-$3,000; Albert F. King, "Geranium," estimate $20,000-$30,000; Albert F. King, "Still Life with Watermelon on a Wood Crate," estimate $30,000-$45,000; Trevor McClurg, "The Pioneers Defence," estimate $50,000-$80,000, accompanied by "The Pioneers Defence," lithograph, 23 1/2 inches by 28 inches, signed in the plate by the printmaker, "Aug. Wagner"; William Thompson Russell Smith, "The Monongahela Bridge, Pittsburgh," estimate $20,000-$30,000; Alfred Bryan Wall, "Still Life with Peaches and Tin Pan," estimate $7,500-$10,000; William Coventry Wall, "Twilight River Scene," estimate $17,000-$25,000; Austin C. Wooster, "Still Life with Fruit and Chip Basket," estimate $3,500-$7,000.

Mary Thomas can be reached at mthomas@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1925.

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