As was reported a couple of weeks ago, regional schools of American painting from the late 19th and early 20th centuries are one of the strongest sectors on the art market on other side of the Atlantic at the moment.


The Missouri-born Oscar Edmund Berninghaus (1874-1952) proved highly popular on home soil when this signed and dated 1931 painting, Autumn Aspens, right, came up for sale at the St. Louis rooms of Ivey-Selkirk (15/10% buyer's premium) on December 4. Berninghaus was one of the founder members of the Taos Society of Artists, a group dedicated to painting native American subjects in New Mexico. This 2ft 1in x 30in (63 x 76cm) canvas, executed near Twinning, 25 miles from Taos, featured a group of Pueblo indians who, according to an extensive inscription in the artist's hand on the verso, regarded the area as a favourite hunting ground.

These ingredients, combined with the unrestored, market-fresh condition of the painting, inspired interest from no fewer than 10 telephone bidders before falling to a West Coast collector at $170,000 (£92,390).

The result appears to be the highest auction price achieved for Berninghaus since the $330,000 (£206,250) paid for Autumn Days at Sotheby's New York in May 1999.

Exchange rate: £1 = $1.84