The Timeless Art of Fred Machetanz:  Unveiling Its Mystique and Worth in the Last Frontier


The Timeless Art of Fred Machetanz: 

Unveiling Its Mystique and Worth in the Last Frontier


Peeling Back the Layers of Mystery


Alaska: what image pops up when you think of it? If you just visualized frosty terrains and grazing polar bears, we get that a lot! But for the artsy folks among us, the name Fred Machetanz evokes a whole other realm of beauty— a palette of colors that truly captures the spirit of the Last Frontier.


Trail Through the Pressure Ice) Oil painting circa 1971) 32 x 52) $40,537.50 sold at Auction in Anchorage, Alaska

Trail Through the Pressure Ice Oil painting circa 1971


Rise of the Artist


Born in 1908 in Kenton, Ohio, Fred studied art at Ohio State University, initially focusing his efforts on illustrative works used in football covers and other collegiate publications. During this time, he would travel to visit with prominent artists of the period such as Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish, from which he was heavily influenced.


After graduating with a master’s degree in art in 1935, he would travel to visit his uncle’s trading post in Unalakleet, where his love for Alaska was immediately formed. He would soon return, this time for good, to make Alaska his home. Along the way, Machetanz met his soon to be wife, Sara, aboard a Steamship in Skagway. Sara was a writer, and the couple spent their early years touring the state, filming and publishing several books, illustrated naturally by Fred.


They would settle down in the Matanuska Valley near Palmer, living without electricity or running water for over a decade, where Machetanz began producing stone lithographs and offering his original paintings for sale, commanding $500 or less for his earliest works. His talent quickly became apparent, with the mogul Bob Atwood helping Fred conduct his first one-man art show in 1962, a smashing success that would see Fred’s status forever transformed. His works became the hot new ticket, and his lifetime career was firmly established.

The Berry Pickers) Oil painting circa 1975) 26 x 32) $26,970 sold at Auction in Anchorage, Alaska

The Berry Pickers Oil painting circa 1975


Fred Machetanz wasn't your run-of-the-mill painter; the man was a visual storyteller par excellence, Machetanz found his canvas in Alaska, painting narratives so riveting they could make even a glacier weep 1. His style is what you’d get if Norman Rockwell and Jack London had an artistic love child 2. Fred would live out the rest of his days in his Valley home, painting well into his 90’s and passing away in 2002.

Summer Comes to Southeastern) Oil painting circa 1973) 22 x 28) $24,150  sold at Auction in Anchorage, Alaska

Summer Comes to Southeastern Oil painting circa 1973

The Virtuoso in Visual Storytelling


Fred Machetanz was a maestro of visual storytelling. His works often bear a resemblance to a rich tapestry woven from the wholesome Americana of Norman Rockwell and the untamed spirit of Jack London's wilderness narratives. These aren't mere paintings but visual chronicles, each capturing historical and emotional layers of the artist's life journey and viewpoints.


Hitting the Stride Oil painting study circa 1988) 10 x 16) $9,200 sold at Auction in Anchorage, Alaska

Hitting the Stride Oil painting study circa 1988


Unveiling the Secret Sauce: What Makes a Machetanz Truly Unique?


What imbues a Machetanz painting with that indescribable allure? It's akin to identifying why a pizza loaded with extra cheese feels like a slice of heaven. Each brushstroke feels preordained; his masterful command of light and shadow can animate even the most inanimate of Alaskan landscapes. This unique style was inspired by art legends like Rembrandt, with every aspect of the painting planned meticulously before the first brush even meets the canvas.


Skookum stone lithograh circa 1949) $2,415  sold at Auction in Anchorage, Alaska

Skookum stone lithograh circa 1949


Valuation: More Than Just a Price Tag


Determining the value of a Machetanz painting involves a thorough examination of factors like provenance, preservation status, medium, and rarity. These artworks can command anything from a modest $40 to the staggering $78,400 seen in 'Gee Poling,” the large format original oil painting that currently holds the world record for a price obtained at auction. To own a Machetanz is not merely a transaction; it’s like inheriting a piece of America’s rich cultural DNA.

A Puppy Named Gih) Book Illustration _ Signed Book c.1952) $2,300 sold at Auction in Anchorage, Alaska

A Puppy Named Gih Book Illustration _ Signed Book c.1952


Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals: The Ultimate Destination


For collectors and enthusiasts, Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals emerges as the sanctuary for all things Machetanz. With over 600 lots of his art sold thus far to include original oil paintings, illustrations, watercolors, sketches, and lithographs, the platform provides a comprehensive collection of sale results, with a routine opportunity to bid on fresh finds. Recent sales have often exceeded expectations, surpassing valuations from other prestigious American auction houses, and setting Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals as the go to marketplace to buy and sell works by the iconic artist.


 The Hunt ) Stone lithograph circa 1947 ) $1,955 sold at Auction in Anchorage, Alaska

The Hunt Stone lithograph circa 1947 

The Tangible in a Digital Age


In a world awash with NFTs and pixelated landscapes, owning a Machetanz painting feels like a deep inhalation of crisp Alaskan air—refreshing, invigorating, and undeniably real.


Midnight Watch offset lithograph circa 1983) $921.15 sold at Auction in Anchorage, Alaska

Midnight Watch offset lithograph circa 1983


So, the next time you feel the art bug bite, or when it comes time to sell your treasured works, set your sights on Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals, the perfect platform to acquire phenomenal works of art for buyers, and the ideal sales platform for sellers to realize top dollar while knowing their items will be going to happy new homes that will appreciate them for years to come.

Leaving the Nest offset lithograph c.1985) $690 sold at Auction in Anchorage, Alaska

Leaving the Nest offset lithograph c.1985








1 "Fred Machetanz: Artist and Writer," Anchorage Museum 

 Search - the anchorage museum. The Anchorage Museum The Anchorage Museum. (n.d.).

2 "Norman Rockwell and Jack London: Unlikely Comparisons," American Art Journal 

Graebner, William. “Norman Rockwell and American Mass Culture: The Crisis of Representation in the Great Depression: Prospects.” Cambridge Core, Cambridge University Press, 30 July 2009, Accessed 29 Aug. 2023.

3 "Valuing Art: The Comprehensive Guide," by Michael Findlay,

Findlay, M. (2022). Value of art: Money. power. beauty. (new, expanded edition). Prestel Verlag GmbH & Co KG.


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