Cao Dali always fantasized about the West.

The Chinese artist was raised in Indonesia, falling for the cowboy lifestyle via Western movies during his childhood. One day, Dali met Bill Schauss in China. Bill was from Casper and persuaded the artist to come visit.

"(Dali) was so excited about coming to Wyoming," said Bill's sister Becky Schauss Bulfer. "He had always heard about cowboys. He loved coming out here and painting. My brother would take him on trips. They went to ranches out in Kaycee, Wyoming, went up and painted in Jackson in that area a lot.

"(Dali) just loved the Western mystique."

Dali made many paintings during his trips in Wyoming, and in doing so, he and Bill became close friends. Bill promoted and sold many of Dali's works and collected 50 to 60 pieces from the well-regarded Chinese painter.

Bill died in 2010. His Dali collection went into storage, mainly because it was difficult for the family to part with.

"When you lose somebody, you can’t deal with all of that," Becky said.

A couple years ago, Becky and her sister, Laurie Wilson, decided they should learn about the auction and gallery market with hopes that they could sell their brother's collection. That process will culminate this weekend, when the largest private collection of Dali's work will be up for auction at the Haven Studio in Casper's Old Yellowstone District.

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The final 16 pieces will be available, some as large as 70 inches by 70 inches. According to Becky, the larger paintings are expected to go for $15,000 to $18,000.

The auction takes place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.