Lot 73: (CALIFORNIA.) "Smith, Hank G." Volume of pencil sketches titled "Californy."

Swann Auction Galleries

April 14, 2015
New York, NY, US

More About this Item


Description: (CALIFORNIA.) "Smith, Hank G." Volume of pencil sketches titled "Californy." 15 pencil sketches, most of them signed "Hank G. Smith," in an oblong 8vo 1/2 calf sketchbook, tastefully rebacked; lacking flyleaf, otherwise minimal wear. California, circa 1875
Notes: These quite accomplished sketches depict an American Indian in bust; a wagon train view titled "Crossing the Sierra"; a frontiersman on a runaway horse cart; a wagon scene titled "On the Grade"; an Ohio trolley scene showing a car of the Youngstown Street Railroad Company (established 1873); a man sleeping under a tree with his fishing rod, titled "A Fisherman"; three owls, titled "Just Out"; and a variety of other unsigned nature views and small portraits. The paper bears the watermark "J Whatman 1875."
The only record we find of an artist named Hank G. Smith was a frontier painter (generally assumed to be fictional) who appeared as a character in Clarence King's 1872 classic "Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada." Smith was depicted as a garrulous primitive with delusions of grandeur, and King wrote: "It was a pleasure to sit there leaning against a vigorous old oak while Smith opened his heart to me, in easy confidence, and, with quick eye watching the passing mules, penciled in a little sketch-book a leg, a head, or such portions of body and harness as seemed to him useful for future works" (page 211). Perhaps these sketches were intended for a later edition of King's book. Perhaps an artist was inspired by King's work to take his character's name as a pseudonym. Or perhaps there really was a little-known artist named Hank G. Smith roaming the mountains of California.
Request more information
Accepted forms of payment: Money Order / Cashiers Check, Personal Check, Wire Transfer
Shipping: Upon request, Swann will facilitate the shipping of purchases to out-of-town buyers at an additional charge for packing, shipping and insurance, but will not be responsible for any loss, damage or delay resulting from the packing, handling and shipping thereof. Unless specific instructions are received, Swann is the sole judge of the method to be used for shipment. Packing and shipping costs will be noted on the invoice mailed to successful bidders after the sale, and are based on the actual costs involved. Be advised that a full commercial invoice must accompany any purchase shipped outside the US.
Buyer's Premium
$0 - 100,000: 30.0%
$100,001 - 1,000,000: 25.0%
$1,000,001+: 17.0%
From: To: Increment:
$0 $149 $10
$150 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $5,999 $200
$6,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,000
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 $199,999 $10,000
$200,000 $499,999 $20,000
$500,000+ $50,000
Payment Information: Payment must be made by cash, check, certified check or money order. Purchases paid using personal checks may be held until payment has cleared. Swann does not accept credit cards or PayPal for purchases. Non-US purchasers must pay using a US-dollar denominated check drawn on a US bank, or by international money order or bank transfer.
Shipping Information: Upon request, Swann will facilitate the shipping of purchases to out-of-town buyers at an additional charge for packing, shipping and insurance, but will not be responsible for any loss, damage or delay resulting from the packing, handling and shipping thereof. Unless specific instructions are received, Swann is the sole judge of the method to be used for shipment. Packing and shipping costs will be noted on the invoice mailed to successful bidders after the sale, and are based on the actual costs involved. Be advised that a full commercial invoice must accompany any purchase shipped outside the US.
Buyer's Premium: Buyer's Premium is 25% of the hammer price up to and including $100,000; 20% of the portion of the hammer price above $100,000 up to and including $1,000,000; and 12% of the portion of the hammer price above $1,000,000.
Taxes on your purchase: SALES TAX. All items purchased are subject to payment of the New York City and State sales tax of 8.875% on the total purchase price (final bid plus the Buyer's Premium as defined in paragraph 7 of the Conditions of Sale) unless the purchaser presents proof of exemption therefrom. An exempt purchaser must provide a properly completed New York State Resale Certificate (Form ST-120) evidencing possession of a valid New York State Resale or, for non-New York State businesses, the equivalent resale authorization from another locale. Purchases will not be released unless all sales tax requirements are satisfied. Purchases shipped outside of New York State are not subject to sales tax.
Condition Statement: Available upon request.
View full terms and conditions