JOHN MORAN AUCTIONEERS ANNOUNCES October 16, 2012 FINE ART SALE
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• Select American, European and Modern works from private collections offered at all price levels
• Authenticated John Singer Sargent watercolor featured in American Session
• European Session highlighted by Alexei Harlamoff portrait
Pasadena, CA— Early consignments to John Moran Auctioneers’ October 16, 2012 sale promise an exciting second installment of the house’s new two-session format for their semi-annual Fine Art Auctions. Beginning with their very successful April 2012 sale, Moran’s broadened the scope of their marquee event to include European and Modern art in a separate, same-day session preceding a session devoted to the house’s traditional specialty of regional American Impressionism. This strategy has dramatically boosted sales of both European and American works, drawing a larger audience of collectors and connoisseurs at all price levels while maintaining an emphasis on the quality of the offerings, and has attracted a wealth of consignments to the October 16th sale.
The 200-lot American Session includes an important 1914 watercolor by John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925 American) with pristine provenance. ‘In the Tyrol’’ is painted with exceptionally lively, loose brushstrokes, exemplifying the spontaneous style that established Sargent’s reputation as one of the most celebrated watercolorists. The work conveys Sargent’s unabated enjoyment of the scenery of the Alps, a favorite destination of the artist, and a general sense of ease and relaxation despite the turmoil caused by the outbreak of World War I. Turning his back on society portrait work, of which he had grown weary despite his phenomenal success with it, Sargent turned to watercolor and began his first truly sustained exploration of the medium around 1905, making numerous outdoor studies while wandering the Continent on his frequent trips. The immediate popularity with collectors of these sketches injected his career with a new vitality and within a few years they were being acquired in volume by institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Sargent reserved several of his best watercolors for his own collection, however, and after his death many were retained by family members to be donated to museums or sold, as was the case with ‘In the Tyrol’. The painting is very well documented, accompanied by a sepia-toned image of the watercolor inscribed with Emily Sargent’s handwritten notes authenticating it, and by the 1927 sales receipt from Barbizon House Gallery in London, where it was exhibited as part of a one-man show in July 1927 and subsequently purchased by Mrs. Edward Browning of Philadelphia, who was a prominent collector and member of the board of trustees of the Pennsylvania Museum of Art. ‘In the Tyrol’ remained in the family, handed down through Mrs. Browning’s descendents to the present day. It has recently been authenticated by a Sargent vetting committee and will be included in Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray’s ninth and final volume of “John Singer Sargent, Complete Paintings, Figures and Landscapes, 1914-1925.” Moran’s is pleased to offer ‘In the Tyrol’ for $80,000 – 120,000.
Other standouts include a luminous coastal view by William Trost Richards (1833 – 1905, Newport, RI), offered for $10,000 – 15,000, and two portraits by Russian / American painter Nicolai Fechin (1881 – 1955), offered at $20,000 – 30,000 and $40,000 – 60,000.
Top California Impressionist are, as always at Moran’s, well represented. Hanson Puthuff’s ‘’Spring’s Tenderness’’ is estimated to realize $60,000 – 80,000, while John Frost’s ‘’Sweeping Autumn Landscape’’ of 1934 is expected to fetch $20,000 – 30,000. The session’s top lot by value is a magnificent, very large mountain landscape by Jack Wilkinson Smith (1873 – 1949 Alhambra, CA), his ‘’Riders at Kearsarge Pass, High Sierra’’. The 46 x 50-inch canvas features horsemen clambering up a sweeping, dramatically shadowed mountain slope. Bidding on this masterful work, a pinnacle of the artist’s prolific career, is estimated to rise to $175,000 – 225,000. A 1918 seascape by Granville Redmond (1871 – 1935) is a lovely example of his poetic nocturnes, offered for $12,000 – 18,000. A scene of a train crossing a bridge over a bay by Society of Six painter Maurice Logan (1886 – 1977), though undated, appears to have been created before 1930, when Logan was still using a brightly colored palette for his Fauve-inspired scenes. With its dramatic angles and blocky brushstrokes, the painting is a bold statement from Logan’s best period (estimate: $6000 – 8000).
Frank Tenney Johnson’s charming 1938 horse portrait in oil, ‘’Peaches, Mrs. Johnson’s Horse’’ (estimate: $6000 – 8000), and Laverne Nelson Black’s loosely painted oil of an Indian on horseback displaying the artist’s blending of Modernism and Impressionism (estimate: $6000 – 9000), are part of a large collection of works consigned from the estate of a resident of ‘’Artists Alley’’, one of the smallest of the numerous artists’ colonies that formed in Southern California in the early 20th century. The rustic lane of Champion Place in the Los Angeles suburb of Alhambra was a summer home of the illustrator Norman Rockwell, and year-round residence of Johnson, Smith and Marjorie Reed, and sculptors Tex Wheeler and Eli Harvey. The collection at Moran’s comprises works acquired prior to the 1960’s, many of them directly from the artists themselves or from the estates of the artists, and includes other paintings by Johnson and Smith and one by Thomas Hill.
Moran’s is also delighted to showcase works on paper, offering a number of California School watercolors by top artists such as Millard Sheets, Ben Messick, Milford Zornes, Phil Dike and George Post. A tableau by Art Landy (1904 – 1977 Burbank, CA) captures intriguingly posed, disparate groups of people in mid-action, the evocative lighting imbuing the prosaic setting on a street corner in Los Angeles with a certain mystery and poetry (estimate: $5000 – 7000).
The European & Modern Session spans a wide range of eras and styles, from a 1642 oil by Dutch master Jan van Goyen (1596 – 1656) to an untitled lithograph by contemporary artist Vija Celmins (b. 1939 Los Angeles, CA), whose work is held in several major museum collections, including the Whitney, the Smithsonian, and the Art Institute of Chicago. The black and white lithograph depicts a pattern of ocean waves, focusing on structure and shape to demonstrate the process of observation and recording, and a conscious rejection of the search for meaning in a subject. Hailing from a private Beverly Hills, CA collection, it carries an estimate of $10,000 – 15,000. Other modern and contemporary artists in the sale include Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987 New York, NY), whose color screen print of a liquor store sales receipt, ‘’Paris Review’’, is offered for $2000 – 3000, and Jerzy Mierzejewski (b.1917), whose cubist oil landscape of a lush, green forest, titled in Polish ‘’Zielona Bulcowina’’, is estimated at $6000 - 8000.
Academic and Impressionist works from the 19th century are plentiful, led by a charming portrait of a young girl by the Russian painter Alexei Harlamoff (1842 – 1922 Russian / French). ‘’Old Lace and Young Dreams’’ arrives at auction from a Southern California estate with an estimate of $200,000 – 300,000. Harlamoff studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, under the great portrait painter Leon Bonnat, who fostered Harlamoff’s own prodigious talent for portraiture. Harlamoff achieved much success in his lifetime, numbering among his sitters several members of the Russian aristocracy. He developed a specialization in idealized portraits of children and young peasant girls from different regions of Russia, often using his own daughter as a model.
Also offered are works by the Orientalists Frederic Arthur Bridgman (1847 – 1928 American / French) and Gustave Achille Guillaumet (1840 – 1887 French). Bridgman, though born in Alabama, spent most of his career as an expatriate, moving to France at a young age. Inspired by his teacher Jean-Leon Gérome, Bridgman spent long periods at the height of his career in Algeria, portraying the exotic scenery, people, costumes, and activities of daily life. Products of hours spent painting in the open air, reveling in the region’s intense white light and picturesque street life, these works are endlessly fascinating records of a vanished era. ‘’An Afternoon Haircut’’ and ‘’Entrance to the Mosque’’ are each estimated at $20,000 – 30,000. In April Moran’s sold a magnificent example of Bridgman’s work, realizing $270,000 for ‘Street Scene in Algiers.’ The Guillaumet, consigned from a private collection in Santa Barbara, CA, depicts a wooded encampment with Arabian horsemen under an atmospheric sky ($20,000 – 30,000). Guillaumet studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and, like Bridgman, made numerous trips to Algeria. He was awarded the Legion d’honneur.
Moran’s two-session October 16th Fine Art Auction will be held at the Pasadena, CA Convention Center. Full sale catalogues will be posted at www.johnmoran.com 2 -3 weeks prior to the sale. Bidding is available from the floor and via absentee, telephone or online through Artfact.com. Registration is free and all are welcome.
Moran’s is currently accepting consignments for this and other upcoming auctions, including their December Antiques and Fine Jewelry Auction. For their full schedule of Fine Art, Antiques and Jewelry auctions, and further information about current sales, please visit their website or contact their offices at 626-793-1833, or email