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    SAUL TEPPER (American, 1899-1987)
    Western Confrontation (The Tall Ladder), American Magazine story illustration, 1931-32
    Oil on canvas
    28 x 51-7/8 inches (71.1 x 131.8 cm)
    Signed and dated upper left: Saul / Tepper / 31

    Illustration House, Inc., New York, December 2, 2006, lot 30.

    New Yorker Saul Tepper's stunning painting was published as an illustration for the first installment of the serialized romance-adventure story "The Tall Ladder" by Katharine Newlin Burt, American Magazine, April 1932. In this particular episode, the protagonist, the feisty East Coast heiress Julia Oliphant, has jumped in her car and headed west to California, hoping to escape her ex-husband and another undesirable suitor. After ditching her chauffer along the way, Julia encounters a handsome bandit, Joe Carr, fleeing from the law near Castle Canon Pass in Oregon. Her adventurous spirit prompts her to help Joe: she disguises him in her chauffer's discarded uniform, and together they simulate a car crash to explain the "death" of the fugitive. When the sheriff of Cayuse County and his posse arrive on the scene, they no longer recognize Joe -- now a disheveled chauffer -- as their wanted man.

    Tepper's illustration captures the moment "The leader [sheriff], a stout fellow, got out of his saddle and came up to [Julia]. She saw his eyes look searchingly at the chauffer." Compositionally, Tepper uses a panoramic format to underscore the unfolding narrative, and he directs the diagonal lines of the canyon walls to the focal point of Julia and the "chauffer" (Joe), who have just survived a "car crash." Sweeping, energized brushwork heightens the action of the moment, and colorful bandanas draw the viewer's eye to each character in the drama. A masterful renderer of figures, Tepper features costume details, such as tooling on the lawmen's leather belts, and believable facial expressions, from Julia's protective imploring, to the chauffer's feigned disorientation, to the sheriff's agitation.

    Condition Report*: Lined canvas; Framed Dimensions 42.5 X 66.75 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2015
    2nd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,834

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