Treasure Hunting

Whether you covet Molesworth chairs or antique saddles, you’ll find them—and many more treasures—at these high-country caches of art and antiques

Fighting Bear Antiques Jackson, Wyoming, Browsing this Jackson gallery feels a lot like hanging out in your friend’s comfy log home—if that friend had amazing collections of Western and Native American artwork. Owners Terry and Claudia Winchell know just where to look for their high-quality inventory, which they source from the West Coast, East Coast and all points in between, and have even purchased entire lodges and ranches filled with covetable furnishings and artwork. Their warehouse, workshop and retail store brim with classic furnishings, including pieces by Thomas Molesworth and Gustav Stickley; Handel and Tiffany lamps; antique Navajo rugs of all sizes; and even intricately carved antique Black Forest pieces. Warhols and Western scenes by Charles Marion Russell share wall space with vintage national park posters and antique black-and-white photos. The selection, which changes every few weeks, is arranged in stylish vignettes that make it easy to imagine each piece—from an ornate French antler desk to an early Navajo concho belt—in your own home.

Mark Sublette, Medicine Man Gallery Tucson, Arizona, and Santa Fe, New Mexico,
When we Google the names of some of our favorite artists from the American West—Maynard Dixon, Maria Martinez, Ed Mell—one name pops up again and again: the Mark Sublette, Medicine Man Gallery. Named for its owner and curator, Dr. Mark Sublette, a physician who left a successful medical practice to pursue his passion for art, the gallery was once only known for its inventory of antique and Native American art. You’ll still find plenty of that here, from Navajo rugs to Hopi kachina dolls. But these days, Sublette’s Tucson gallery—and his Santa Fe outpost—draws collectors with its early American and Western paintings, and contemporary fine art and sculpture—think Realist paintings by Peter Nisbet and Ed Mell’s Cubist works. We’d plan a trip just to see the room dedicated to works by Western artist Maynard Dixon. Can’t make it to Tucson? Shop the website, which catalogs the gallery’s extensive inventory and is updated daily with the latest acquisitions.

Ski Country Antiques & Home Evergreen, Colorado, 
Chances are you’ve passed this iconic log-and-stone warehouse as you zipped along Interstate 70 on your way down to Denver and wondered what’s inside. The answer: an enormous selection of Old World antique furnishings and home accessories discovered in exotic locations from northern Europe and beyond. Let the shopkeepers help you zero in on great finds like intricately painted Swedish trunks, carved wooden cuckoo clocks, stately old roll-top desks, and cool industrial furniture (our recent favorite: a vintage 10-drawer postman’s console). If you’ve been searching for a classic antler chandelier, you’ll find that here too. But as its name implies, it’s the shop’s selection of antique sporting goods—from skis, snowshoes and sleds to old ski lift chairs—that makes it a go-to spot for designers in search of classic mountain-home décor.

Shiprock Santa Fe Santa Fe, New Mexico,
If you’re looking for the good stuff, add this gallery to your short list. Owned and curated by Jed Foutz, a fifth-generation art dealer raised at a trading post on the Navajo Nation, Shiprock Santa Fe offers a top-notch selection of historic and contemporary southwest Native American jewelry, textiles, pottery, artwork and eclectic antiques. Experienced collectors come here to browse one of the country’s largest collections of historic Navajo weavings from the 19th and 20th centuries, and for Foutz’s expertise—he’s one of the foremost experts on the subject. The gallery is also known for its extensive selection of jewelry ranging from late-19th-century silver pieces to contemporary designs. But here’s what makes Shiprock one of our favorite Santa Fe spots: Against that backdrop of classic Native American artwork is an unexpected array of iconic furnishings by Midcentury-Modern masters Charles Eames, George Nakashima, Hans Wegner and more. We like the way Foutz thinks.

The Cowboy Connection Livingston, Montana,
The Old West lives on inside this Main Street mainstay that proprietors Jerry and Vangie Lee have kept stuffed with Western collectibles for the past 20 years. Need a pair of chaps to add to your collection? Check. Antique Colt and Winchester rifles? Check, check. Out-of-print Western books? They’ve got them too. The list goes on—collectible spurs and famous-maker saddles, Wild West posters, beaded moccasins, old Stetsons, boots and concho belts, even floral-patterned ladies’ spittoons. The store displays rare museum pieces too, from an early California explorer’s flask, belt and gun, to items from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The Lees log “an awful amount of miles” each year as they comb cowboy country in search of these treasures, which they find in estate sales and through their network—some 35 years in the making—of trusted merchants and dealers. Favorite recent finds include a century-old Kiowa dress adorned with fringe and seed beads, and a rare matched pair of antique teepee bags. 

Categories: Mountain Travel