CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A dusty oil painting of a Texas Revolution battle scene found in the attic of a Weston home sold for $354,000 during an auction in Dallas on Saturday.
"The sale went beyond our expectations," said Atlee Phillips, director of Texas art at Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas. "We were very excited with the outcome. It turned out to be one of the most expensive pieces of Texas art ever sold at auction."
A private citizen who seeks anonymity, for the moment at least, bought the 5-by-7 foot painting after about five minutes of spirited bidding, following an opening offer of $50,000. "It quickly came down to two strong, really serious bidders," Phillips said.
The painting's new owner "is still thinking about whether or not to go public" with the purchase, Phillips said, but for the time being "is more concerned about getting the painting to a conservator" to begin the process of restoring the grimy, but otherwise relatively undamaged painting.
The 1901 work by Irish-born Henry Arthur McCardle depicts the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, the deciding victory in Texas' struggle for independence from Mexico.
The painting was found last year in the attic of the George and Betty Bland home on Main Street in Weston. "Found," may not be the right word for the event, since the Blands, descendants of the artist and his wife, were aware of the painting's presence in their home, but not its significance or value.
Jon Buell of Sterling, Va., the Blands' grandson and the artist's great-great grandson, decided to take a closer look at the battle scene, after coming across the painting in the Blands' attic and learning more about McArdle's reputation as a well-regarded painter and chronicler of Texas and Civil War battle scenes.
Three McArdle paintings, "The Battle of San Jacinto," "Dawn at the Alamo" and a portrait of Confederate President Jefferson Davis are all on display in the Texas Senate chamber in Austin.