February 26, 2017

Showdown for a Conman painting for sale.

Showdown for a Conman
by Stanley Galli, abt 1958
(Click image to enlarge)

howdown for a conman

The painting originally appeared in the August 1958 issue of True West magazine for an article entitled Showdown for a Conman. I put a copy on the painting on my website on the Art of a Gunfight page

According to the eBay auction,

This listing is for a Stanley Galli watercolor painting on board. This painting was used as the main illustration for a story about the gunfight that killed the legendary Old West grifter and crime boss Soapy Smith in Skagway, Alaska. The story was written by J. P. Cahn, and it appeared in an August 1958 issue of True Magazine.

The painting is on a pasteboard or Bristol board. The board is approximately 24" X 13.75."

This painting was purchased directly from the Galli estate through an auction house, so there is no question of its authenticity. But I took it to a professional art appraiser nevertheless to become better informed about it.

I took it to Art Encounters in Las Vegas, the company that is best known for providing consulting services to the hit TV show Pawn Stars. Besides acknowledging its authenticity, the consultant pointed out something about its condition that I hadn't noticed. He said that the colors of the painting had changed over time, most likely from sunlight exposure. It had taken on a more bluish-green hue. You can notice the difference between the painting and the magazine illustration itself (compare pics.)

Color comparison
True West magazine
August 1958
(Click image to enlarge)
Other than this issue, the painting is in great shape with no blemishes. The scene is still sharp and evocative. You can almost feel the tension of the scene.

The consultant also suggested that the painting should be removed and framed with museum-quality materials. I have not done so, leaving that to the buyer. I have left it in the frame it came in. The frame is a cheap one with the push tabs, and I'm guessing that it was just used to present the painting at auction. The frame is approximately 26" X 16".

Stanley or Stan Galli was a renowned mid-20th century illustrator. His illustrations were used for stories and covers in such publications as the Saturday Evening Post, Readers Digest, and True Magazine. They were also used in advertising, including ads for the Weyerhaeuser timber company and United Airlines travel posters. In 1981, he was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.

Interesting to note: On January 27th 2017 the painting sold for $200 at EBTH auctions. It is now for sale at $2000!

"He led and organized other bunco men into an army of unstoppable brothers in fraud. He knew how to command and keep their devotion, loyalty, and friendship. And he did the same at city hall. With local city powers in his pocket, Jeff set up a framework of protection and security for himself and his men. Rather than remain in the shadows and be content with his power, Jeff wanted the public to see him."
Alias Soapy Smith, page 17


1863: U.S. President Lincoln signs the National Currency Act.
1846: William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody is born in Leclaire, Iowa.
1870: The first pneumatic-powered subway line opens to the public in New York City.
1881: 325 Sioux Indians surrender to Major Brotherton at Fort Buford, Dakota Territory.
1881: Unknown stage robbers take $135 from a stage near Contention, Arizona Territory.
1882: Harper's Weekly publishes Frederic Remington's first nationally published illustration.
1891: H. D. Rucker, Frank Parks, and J. Humphrey are arrested in Denver, Colorado for distributing a porn publication called Hustler (not related to the modern magazine of the same name).
1892: Nicholas Creede discovers silver in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado in a place called Creede. It is here that Soapy Smith builds his second criminal empire.
1893: George W. Lewis, member of the Soap Gang, is shot and killed in Ogden, Utah.
1895: Outlaw Crawford “Cherokee Bill” Goldsby is tried and found guilty of the murder of Ernest Melton, before Judge Isaac Parker in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. He was sentenced him to hang on June 25, 1895 but appeals delayed the execution until March 17, 1896.
1898: James Dolan, famed combatant of the New Mexico, Lincoln County War in 1878, dies on his ranch, the Flying H. Dolan was the chief opponent of the Tunstall-McSween faction, using his vast funds to hire an army that killed all his adversaries. Dolan was later elected to the New Mexico Territorial Council.
1907: The U.S. Congress raises their pay to $7500.