20th Century Art Installation at Sunset River Gallery

Sunset River Gallery in Calabash, NC announces the opening of its new 20th Century Art Installation, a selection of rare and valuable fine and modern art, primarily impressionist and abstract. The collection currently features paintings by Wolf Kahn (1927-2020), Ed Mell (1942), Raimonds Staprans (1926), Angel Botello (1913-1986), Jean Xceron (1890-1967), Emile Gruppe (1896-1998), identical twins Raphael Soyer (1899 -1987) and Moses Soyer (1899 – 1974), Rolph Scarlett (1889 – 1984), Gloria Vanderbilt (1924 – 2019), and Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer (1912 – 1997). Also included is a bronze sculpture by Glenna GoodAcre (1939 – 2020).

Formerly Sunset River Marketplace, the gallery recently changed hands. New owner Larry Johnson from Bethesda, MD has bought and sold art through major and middle-market auctions around the world for two decades. He has been an amateur painter and sculptor for years, achieving a minor in fine art from Purdue University.

With an ever-growing collection of fine art, Johnson set out to find a gallery into which he could integrate his auction purchases. He says, “Sunset River proved to be a perfect match for me. It is a large gallery in a vibrant but still reasonable area, which will facilitate the selling of valuable paintings at very competitive prices. The gallery represents over 150 local and regional artists and craftspeople, so we will continue to serve the local community while showcasing these fine examples of 20th century work.”

Former gallery owner Ginny Lassiter adds, “for 20 years, I’ve nurtured Sunset River as a thriving community art hub, and I’m thrilled that Larry is going to continue that concept. The gallery has played an important role in developing the area’s cultural and commercial community. I’m grateful for the continued support of local artists and residents as well as the thousands of visitors that come to see us every year.” Lassiter will continue to work with Sunset River in an advisory capacity and curating exhibitions and artist events.

Pink Sky by Wolf Kahn

Highlights of the new installation include two paintings by Wolf Kahn: Pink Sky, 28” x 34”, oil on canvas and Through the Gap, 42” x 72”. He is well known for both his oils and pastels. He was first published as far back as 1979 and his artwork is represented in several popular books including Wolf Kahn’s America, published in 2003. His work has always brought solid market prices and has been sold by Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Heritage Auctions. He passed away in 2020 and Christie’s auctioned Fields of Vision: The Private Collection of Artists Wolf Kahn and [his wife and fellow artist] Emily Mason on May 17, 2021. This auction established a new auction record at $207,000 and seem to spark a new pricing level for both Kahn’s and Mason’s work. In November 2021, a new auction record of $212,500 was reached for Wolff Kahn’s Atlantic Highlands.

There are also three coveted Raimonds Staprans oils: Boats ’72, 28” x 34”; Boats At Newport #2, 28” x 34”and Landscape With a Barn, 44” x 48”. The artist was born in Latvia in 1926 and currently lives in San Francisco, CA, but is no longer painting. His pieces are found in numerous museums. The San Jose Museum of Art in San Jose, CA has a substantial collection as does the State Museum of Art, Riga, Latvia. Staprans’ work is considered to be in the circle of Wayne Thiebaud and Richard Diebenkorn; he was friends with both of them. Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Christie’s have sold his work, although recent auction records have come through California-based Clars Auction Gallery at $147,600 on Sept. 12, 2020 and then $187,500, June 17, 2022. Available paintings by Raimonds Staprans are very scarce.

Boats’72 by Raimonds Staprans

Also still living is Ed Mell, born in 1942. He has his own gallery in Phoenix, AZ, with his work gaining popularity sharply in recent years, leaving almost no inventory of his original paintings for sale. Surprisingly, the two art auction majors, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, have yet to bring his work to auction, but since his auction results have recently exceeded $100,000, that may be simply a matter of time. His Shadowed Walls, measuring 40” x 78”, is available through Sunset River Gallery. It is a striking showpiece of 20th century American art.

Angel Botello is represented with two charming pieces in the Sunset River collection: Reclining Girl 35 7/8” x 48” and Niño con Caballito, 24” x 30”. Born in 1913 in Puerto Rico, he essentially began as a street artist. His work is so unique and appealing that his fame grew during his lifetime such that resales at various auctions quickly outpaced his original art prices. He was both a painter and a sculptor. Botello’s work is often sold at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, His auction maximum was achieved at Christie’s in 2007 for Nina Durmiendo at $397,000.

The 20th Century Art installation at Sunset River Gallery is open now, however a reception is planned for a later date once some cosmetic upgrades have been completed at the gallery.

About Sunset River Gallery

Reclining Girl by Angel Botello

Located in coastal Brunswick County, Sunset River Gallery caters to both area visitors and a growing local community of full-time residents seeking fine art for their homes and businesses. Featuring work by approximately 150 North and South Carolina artists, the gallery is well known in the area for its collection of oil paintings, watermedia, pastels, photography, hand-blown glass, fused glass, pottery and clay sculptures, turned and carved wood, unique home décor items and artisan jewelry.

There are two onsite kilns and five wheels used by the gallery’s pottery students. Art classes and workshops are currently being offered on a limited basis. Call the gallery for details.

A new 20th Century Art installation features rare and valuable fine and modern art, primarily impressionist and abstract.

The gallery address is: 10283 Beach Drive SW, Calabash, NC 28467.  Hours are Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 910.575.5999 or visit the website at www.staging.careful-crib.flywheelsites.com. Daily updates are available on the gallery’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

The FrameCenter, located within the gallery, is open Wednesday through Friday, 12 noon – 5 p.m. and by appointment. Call framer Louis Aliotta directly at 910.368.7351.


Suggested Captions:

Artist Wolf Kahn, Pink Sky, oil on canvas, 28“ x 30”. This painting was sold by Marianne Friedland Gallery in Naples FL to a private collector in Oconomowoc, WI where it remained for about 30 years until it was sold by Hindman Auctioneers in 2022.


Boats ’72, oil by Raimonds Staprans, measures 28” x 34”. From 1972, it was sold by Maxwell Galleries in San Francisco, CA, the gallery that represented the artist.


Shadowed Walls, this striking piece by Ed Mell was painted in 1983, a very much desired period for Mell’s work. This large piece, almost institutional in size, measures 40” x 78”. One of his very successful pieces, the Long Beach Museum of Art in Long Beach, CA, produced a poster of this piece.


This is Reclining Girl, 35 7/8” x 48 by Angel Botello (1913-1986). His fame grew during his lifetime such that resales at auction quickly outpaced his original art prices.

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  • Susan Dade

    Congratulations to both Ginny and Larry Johnson . I have fond memories of exhibiting and
    selling my original paintings and prints at Sunset River while I lived in Southport.
    We moved to Upstate South Carolina for a while & now just moved to Murrells Inlet! So I will be closer to Calabash with my new paintings.
    Larry’s collection is wonderful as I always loved Wolf Kahn and Gloria Vanderbilt.

    I look forward to the “Openings” and meeting all of you.

    Best wishes,
    Susan Dade

  • Susan Feihe

    What days does Ruth Cox have classes?