Seller Story: Sid Burns, Dallas, TX


“The roots of the Western collection come from my grandfather: he grew up on ranches in Oklahoma and Texas. Then he moved out to southern California when he was 19 or 20 years old and lived on a ranch there as well. He was also a fourth or fifth generation cobbler and leatherworker, so he opened up a shoe shop in Laguna Beach where he was creating custom men’s and women’s boots. He also did custom saddles, gun holsters, all kinds of things. There are a lot of items in the auction that he tooled.

Some time in his late 40’s he was visiting relatives in Oklahoma and went to the Gilcrease Museum and saw a sculpture there by Remington, and he turned around to my father and said, you know, I think I can do this. So he had no background, very little education generally, and certainly no art education: he was a completely self-taught sculptor. He started sculpting when he was in his late 40’s and he cast his first two pieces when he was 50. When he put them in his shop, just to show them off, people came in wanting to buy them. Within a week he’d sold his first two pieces, and decided to cast more. And in two years he sold the shop and was a self-supporting artist.

From an engineering point of view, his pieces are right on the edge of impossible. The Spooked piece was so close to impossible, actually, that he really had to work with the foundry on how to balance it. The version of that piece that’s in the auction is one that my father bought: it actually has my great-grandfather’s face on the cowboy.

I think the piece with the chief riding his calm horse while he’s guiding his war pony is another great piece that really shows the contradictions of his art. He was able to get so much energy and dynamic tension out of bronze, which is cold, hard and heavy." — Shelby Burns, granddaughter

Seller Story: Sid Burns, Dallas, TX
Seller Story: Sid Burns, Dallas, TX
Leather Belt and 800 Silver Buckle with Howlite Inlay

Leather Belt and 800 Silver Buckle with Howlite Inlay

Final Bid:
$130
Offset Lithograph After R.C. Gorman

Offset Lithograph After R.C. Gorman

Final Bid:
$45
Vintage Native American Style Sterling Silver Turquoise Necklace

Vintage Native American Style Sterling Silver Turquoise Necklace

Final Bid:
$258
Sid Burns 1972 Bronze Sculpture "Last Arrow"

Sid Burns 1972 Bronze Sculpture "Last Arrow"

Final Bid:
$677
Sid Burns 1977 Bronze Sculpture "Eight Plus Two"

Sid Burns 1977 Bronze Sculpture "Eight Plus Two"

Final Bid:
$1,760
Vintage Sterling Silver Concho Leather Belt

Vintage Sterling Silver Concho Leather Belt

Final Bid:
$285
Gorham "King Edward" Sterling Silver Flatware and More

Gorham "King Edward" Sterling Silver Flatware and More

Final Bid:
$941
Sid Burns 1974 Bronze Sculpture "Spooked"

Sid Burns 1974 Bronze Sculpture "Spooked"

Final Bid:
$1,200
Tom Browning Oil on Canvas "Collected Relics"

Tom Browning Oil on Canvas "Collected Relics"

Final Bid:
$1,071
Sid Burns 1976 Bronze Sculpture "War Pony"

Sid Burns 1976 Bronze Sculpture "War Pony"

Final Bid:
$2,325
Handwoven Southwestern Wool Rug

Handwoven Southwestern Wool Rug

Final Bid:
$425
National Academy of Western Art Bronze Award Medals

National Academy of Western Art Bronze Award Medals

Final Bid:
$276
Pair of Vintage Leather Belts

Pair of Vintage Leather Belts

Final Bid:
$69
Sid Burns 1977 Bronze Sculpture "As Dust Before Him"

Sid Burns 1977 Bronze Sculpture "As Dust Before Him"

Final Bid:
$550
Patricia Dobson Original Oil on Canvas "Blackware C. 1891-1930"

Patricia Dobson Original Oil on Canvas "Blackware C. 1891-1930"

Final Bid:
$560
Signed "Topo" Heavy Sterling Turquoise and Coral Belt Buckle

Signed "Topo" Heavy Sterling Turquoise and Coral Belt Buckle

Final Bid:
$180
Vintage Navajo Style Sterling Silver Turquois Bolo Tie

Vintage Navajo Style Sterling Silver Turquois Bolo Tie

Final Bid:
$153
Amado Peña Jr. Limited Edition Serigraph "Artesanos Elegantes"

Amado Peña Jr. Limited Edition Serigraph "Artesanos Elegantes"

Final Bid:
$111
1974 Sid Burns Bronze Sculpture "Spooked"

1974 Sid Burns Bronze Sculpture "Spooked"

Final Bid:
$2,300
Native American Style Turquoise Sterling Silver Station Necklace

Native American Style Turquoise Sterling Silver Station Necklace

Final Bid:
$631
Sid Burns 1969 Bronze Sculpture "Frantic Moment"

Sid Burns 1969 Bronze Sculpture "Frantic Moment"

Final Bid:
$1,315
Navajo Style Sterling Silver Turquoise Drop Pendant Necklace

Navajo Style Sterling Silver Turquoise Drop Pendant Necklace

Final Bid:
$196
Signed Marty Ray Pottery Vessel

Signed Marty Ray Pottery Vessel

Final Bid:
$72
Sterling Cuff Wristwatch Bracelet with Coral and Turquoise Inlay

Sterling Cuff Wristwatch Bracelet with Coral and Turquoise Inlay

Final Bid:
$165
Signed J.W. Native American Style Squash Blossom Necklace

Signed J.W. Native American Style Squash Blossom Necklace

Final Bid:
$835
"Gray Foot" Original Gouache on Paper

"Gray Foot" Original Gouache on Paper

Final Bid:
$235
Sid Burns 1979 Bronze Sculpture "Bronc Buster Busted"

Sid Burns 1979 Bronze Sculpture "Bronc Buster Busted"

Final Bid:
$1,203
Fannie Platero Turquoise Sterling Silver Navajo Belt Buckle

Fannie Platero Turquoise Sterling Silver Navajo Belt Buckle

Final Bid:
$231
Vintage Mexican Hand-Sculpted Terracotta Wall Mirror

Vintage Mexican Hand-Sculpted Terracotta Wall Mirror

Final Bid:
$150
Dolona Roberts Limited Edition Serigraph of Pueblo Indian

Dolona Roberts Limited Edition Serigraph of Pueblo Indian

Final Bid:
$125
Bronze Award Medals From The National Academy of Western Art

Bronze Award Medals From The National Academy of Western Art

Final Bid:
$60
Vintage Leather Binder and Wallet

Vintage Leather Binder and Wallet

Final Bid:
$73
National Academy of Western Art Award Bronze Medals

National Academy of Western Art Award Bronze Medals

Final Bid:
$151
Vintage Laguna Craftsmen Hammered Copper Bowl

Vintage Laguna Craftsmen Hammered Copper Bowl

Final Bid:
$80
Woody Crumbo Serigraph "Spirit Horse"

Woody Crumbo Serigraph "Spirit Horse"

Final Bid:
$300
Navajo Style Sterling Silver Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace

Navajo Style Sterling Silver Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace

Final Bid:
$469
Native American Style Sterling Cuff Bracelet with Large Landscape Agate Cabochon

Native American Style Sterling Cuff Bracelet with Large Landscape Agate Cabochon

Final Bid:
$350
Dolona Roberts Original Handpainted Tile Art "Bright Blankets"

Dolona Roberts Original Handpainted Tile Art "Bright Blankets"

Final Bid:
$131
Dolona Roberts Original Handpainted Tile Art "Desert Blankets"

Dolona Roberts Original Handpainted Tile Art "Desert Blankets"

Final Bid:
$131
Collection of Leather Belts

Collection of Leather Belts

Final Bid:
$75
Shop More From This Sale
Seller Story: Sid Burns, Dallas, TX

What was your grandfather’s process like?

As he worked on these over months and months and months, in his head he had whole stories about who these cowboys were and what they were doing. The 8 + 2, for instance, is a scene from a rodeo: the event where you ride a wild bronco for 8 seconds and if you can stay on, you win. So in this piece, the cowboy has made it the 8 seconds, but he can’t get off the horse. The other rider comes up to pull him off, and the saddle breaks. That’s what the extra 2 seconds is.

Your grandfather had a short career, but it seems like he got a lot done during that time!

He only produced work for 13 years before he died. I think it was 24 pieces in those 13 years. Most of them had editions of either 12 or 24, so there really are not a lot of his pieces out there. But collectors and gallerists, other artists, they loved him. At the Death Valley 49’s show, the artists who participate all vote on their favorite peer, and when my grandfather was producing work he won that award 7 years in a row. It’s still called the Sid Burns award.

There’s some amazing jewelry in the auction, also.

His wife Frances totally supported his work; the two of them together were this dynamo couple in the American western art scene. The jewelry was both of theirs, and we have pictures of them wearing most of the pieces. They were part of the whole lifestyle: cowboy hats, cowboy boots, bolos, squash blossoms, belt buckles. They collected lots of pieces, Indian jewelry in particular.