sunny slopes of long ago
Texas auction lists Willie Nelson and Lonesome Dove memorabilia from famous photographer's estate
In May of 2023, Texans got to see some behind-the-scenes pieces of Texas literature history when the personal estate of Lonesome Dove author Larry McMurtry went to auction.
Connections to the book were sometimes a bit abstract, but fans could delight in items like McMurty's writing desk and cowboy boots.
Now the estate of the late Bill Wittliff, screenwriter and photographer for the popular Lonesome Dove miniseries, is going to auction too, by the same group: Vogt Auction in San Antonio. But this time, the Western connection looks more obvious, prominently featuring more than 30 photographs — most of them signed — from on-location, plus more Western collectables.
Austinites may also be especially interested in his other high-profile work with Willie Nelson on Red Headed Stranger, which Wittliff wrote and directed. There are a few photos of the beloved Austin-based country singer in the mix.
Lonesome Dove still occupies the majority of the collection: Fans ready to bid an estimated $3,000-8,000 can take home photos of Tommy Lee Jones during his costume fitting; pensive portraits of Robert Duvall in character; and majestic shots on horseback that can contribute to any West-honoring space, with just a subtle nod to the story for people in the know.
The estate includes many signed photographs from the set of Lonesome Dove. Photo by Bill Wittliff, via Vogt Auction/vogtauction.com
Other items include photos with a strong Texas feeling, but no explicit connection to Lonesome Dove or Red Headed Stranger, movie posters, furniture, a smoking pipe connection, several revolvers, indigenous American artifacts, and many books.
Some items are estimated to settle as low as $60, so there is something for almost any collector. The collection can be viewed at vogtauction.com, so even (virtual) window shoppers are welcome.
Interested Texans and travelers can view the collection in-person at a series of gallery previews:
- Wednesday, November 8, 10 am to 6 pm
- Thursday, November 9, 10 am to 6 pm
- Friday, November 10, 10 am to 6 pm
- Saturday, November 11, 10:00 am to 1 pm
The auction will start immediately after the Saturday preview concludes at 1 pm. The Vogt website says its auctions are "fun and friendly," open to the public, and do not charge an entry free. Instructions on submitting a bid (in person, by written bid, by phone, or live online) are available at vogtauction.com.
Vogt Auction is located at 7233 Blanco Rd. in San Antonio.