Two roads diverged in 20th century American art, and the realists, the realists took one the less traveled, and that has made all the difference.

Where one road of American art veered sharply towards post modern abstraction and social and political commentary, the other curved gently towards the absence of irony or subtext. The latter road, paved by early and mid-century artists and illustrators like N.C. Wyeth, Edward Hopper, and Norman Rockwell, was subsequently followed by acolytes who found deep expressive possibility not in twisting their environments to the contours of their own psychology, but rather in portraying the landscapes that moved them in as pure a visual lexicon as possible. In so doing, the realists achieved commercial success that, even as it provided fodder for critics who wrote off their work as plebeian, belied how familiar subjects could move people profoundly.
Andrew Wyeth, a selection of whose original works sold at Leland Little Auctions last year, was perhaps the most important figure in preserving the legacy of American realism from the era of his father, when his peers were focused on abstraction. He then handed that realist legacy down to a new generation of artists like his son Jamie and North Carolinian Bob Timberlake. It was through a chance meeting with Wyeth that Timberlake found the inspiration and support he needed to pursue painting as a career.
Andrew Wyeth (PA, 1917-2009), Study for Grape Wine, sold $26,000
We will be offering a selection of works from The Collection of Bob Timberlake in a single-owner November sale. Like all Timberlake's work, they celebrate the primacy of history, tradition, and an elemental enjoyment of the outdoors. In our recent Fall Estate Auction, Alabama artist Ronald Lewis applies the same clear-eyed focus that we see in Wyeth and Timberlake to his own paintings of quiet, quotidian landscapes. It is not hard to trace the influence of these artists on each other when contemplating their subdued, straighforward color palettes and clean compositions. All three of these artists found freedom in painting exactly what they saw, completely unadorned, because for them, this world was meaningful enough as exactly as it was.

Bob Timberlake (NC, b. 1937), Winter Flight, sold $6,000
View Results of The Fall Estate Auction
Thursday, October 22nd
10:00am (EDT)

From The Collection of Bob Timberlake, Lexington, North Carolina
Saturday, November 14th
9:00am (EST)
Ronald Lewis (AL), Medium Large in The Fall Estate Auction