Arts & Crafts Collectors Came Out In Force at Moran’s November 14th Auction
John Moran Auctioneers hosted two curated auction sessions on Tuesday, November 14th; both sessions were previewed together, and buyers came out in force to review property and bid. The first event, the Art of the American West auction featured 143 lots of Western-genre and other California paintings and bronzes alongside Native American baskets, pottery and weavings. The second session, titled 20th Century and Contemporary Art + Design, comprised 293 lots of early and mid-20th century furniture and decorative objects and modern and contemporary sculpture, paintings and prints.
Art of the American West
John Moran’s Art of the American West catalogue featured a number of important Navajo weavings, including a second phase Navajo chief’s blanket dating to the second half of the 19th century. Featuring elements dyed with cochineal and indigo dyes, the blanket brought $48,000 at the block (prices realized include Moran’s 20% buyer’s premium) (estimate: $50,000 to $70,000). A late 19th/early 20th century Navajo area rug featuring a simple cross design was a surprise dark horse highlight, realizing $4200 (pre-auction estimate: $300 to $500). A large Germantown Moki-style weaving dating to the turn of the 20th century
brought a very respectable $8400, likely due to its nearly pristine condition (estimate: $7000 to $9000).
A rare Cahuilla Mission snake-motif basket, assigned a $2000 to $3000 pre-auction estimate brought over the high estimate, earning $3900 thanks to interest from absentee, online and telephone bidders.
Western-genre paintings proved popular with collectors – an oil painting depicting a young Indian girl with a pot by well-known Taos, New Mexico artist Joseph Henry Sharp found traction among floor and online bidders, earning an exceptional $7200 at the block (estimate: $3000 to $5000). Three oil paintings by 20th century Western artist Marjorie Reed (1915 – 1996 Vallecito, CA) featuring stagecoaches were offered and all earned respectable prices; “The Old Bradshaw Stage Crossing, Araby Wash” was particularly popular with absentee and floor bidders, bringing $2400 (estimate $1000 to $2000). Contemporary Hopi/Tewa artist Dan Namingha (b. 1950) was represented by three acrylic paintings and a semi-abstracted bronze statue; his painting “Cloud”, depicting a single stylized cloud in a colorful abstract landscape, closed out the auction session, bringing $2280, over the estimated $1000 to $1500.
Contemporary artist Bill Worrell (b. 1936 Texas) was also represented in the Art of the American West catalogue by a stunning large-scale work titled “The Healer”. The abstracted bronze was assigned a $1500 to $2000 pre-sale estimate, and garnered considerable interest prior to the sale. Thanks to online and telephone bid competition, “The Healer” realized $10,200.
20th Century and Contemporary Art + Design
With nearly 300 lots of fine and decorative arts, Moran’s 20th Century and Contemporary Art + Design Auction comprised the majority of lots offered in Tuesday’s auction. Selections spanned the early 20th century through to the contemporary, including Arts & Crafts furniture and objects, mid-century modern design and Contemporary works of art, and more.
Arts & Crafts furniture, copper and early 20th century art glass by makers such as Steuben and Tiffany performed well throughout the evening – with some pieces seeing exceptional prices realized as the collectors were apparently out in force. A Tiffany Studios “Fern” pattern adjustable table mirror was offered with a $10,000 to $20,000 auction estimate, which was quickly outstripped after a protracted bidding war between an online and a telephone buyer (price realized: $21,600). Additional rarities by Tiffany Studios included a “Grapevine” gum spirit box which garnered a large volume of interest prior to the auction, selling for an exceptional $3000 all-in (estimate: $500 to $800); and a “Grapevine” lap desk, which brought $8400 thanks to considerable absentee bidding from online buyers (estimate: $1000 to $1500).
A number of lots of iridescent art glass shades by makers such as Steuben and Quezel were also offered from the private collection of a life-long Southern California collector, and achieved strong prices across the board. One such lot, a group of four Steuben bell-form shades earned $1800, well over the conservative $400 to $600 estimate.
Arts & Crafts furniture and hammered copper included pieces by Stickley, Limbert, and Dirk van Erp, among others. Presented in excellent condition, a Gustav Stickley oak bookcase with iconic 24-light double doors was assigned a $4000 to $5000 pre-auction estimate, exceeding expectations when floor and telephone bidders drove the price up to $7800. Late in the sale, a circa 1911-1912 Dirk van Erp hammered copper pot with rare red patination was brought to the block with a conservative $1000 to $1500 pre-sale estimate. Collectors jumped at the chance to bid on the uncommon example, which brought an exceptional $7200 price realized.
Mid-century modern furniture by top-name makers also proved enduringly popular at Moran’s November 14th auction; pieces by designers Charles and Ray Eames were in particularly high demand, including a rare shelving unit dating to the 1950s consigned from a private Southern California collection. The storage cabinet was a hit online and on the auction floor, and flew to a $12,000 price realized within a mere matter of moments (estimate: $2000 to $4000). Shortly thereafter, two Eames for Herman Miller lounge chairs and ottomans were offered with $1500/2500 pre-sale estimates, each exceeding their estimate after floor bidders jumped into the fray (prices realized: $2700; $3300). A pair of sturdy “office cane chairs” designed by Pierre Jeanneret for his cousin Le Courbusier’s municipal buildings in Chandigarh, India were brought to the block among a flurry of interest, and brought the high estimate (estimate: $4000 to $6000).
Modern sculpture selections included an ever-collectible Picasso for Madoura “Visage” art pottery pitcher, which brought a very respectable $7800 (estimate: $4000 to $6000). Early in the sale, three pieces by Mexican modernist sculptor Felipe Castaneda (b. 1933) were offered; a carved onyx woman standing with hand on hip proved the most widely desired, earning $6600, just over the estimated $3000 to $5000. Late in the catalogue, a work by Los Angeles artist Patrick Nagel (1945 – 1984 Los Angeles, CA), well-known for his semi-abstracted female portraits, was the subject of a protracted online bidding war. The polychrome-painted bust, titled “Carol”, found a buyer for $9000. Whimsical works by David James Gilhooly, III (1943 – 2013 Newport, OR) were also surprise highlights. A polychrome-glazed art pottery and glass sculpture of a frog seated atop a three-scoop ice cream sundae was first to the block, and realized $3125 (estimate: $1000 to $2000).
Modern and contemporary works of art included prints, paintings, and drawings by a number of well-known artists such as Ben Abril’s (1923 – 1995 Los Angeles, CA) “Corner of Webster and Hayes, San Francisco”, which was consigned from an estate in La Canada, CA. Francis Ravello (1926 – 2011), a French artist, was represented in Moran’s 20th Century and Contemporary Art + Design catalogue with two Tahitian figural scenes; the thickly painted, technicolor works were assigned conservative estimates. The first of the two, depicting figures in an outdoor market, was subject of competitive bidding between bidders on the LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable platforms, bringing $4800 in all (estimate: $800 to $1200). One of the most highly anticipated works of the evening was Peter Max’s (b. 1937 New York, NY) “Neo Man”, a brightly colored acrylic abstract portrait of a man wearing sunglasses. The painting opened with bids online, but telephone buyers ultimately brought the work to its final selling price of $11,400 (estimate: $8000 to $12,000).
Moran’s specialists were also quite excited to offer a 1965 Porsche 365C coupe in champagne yellow. Hailing from the Pasadena, CA Estate of Anthony Gotto and likely in Gatto’s possession since its manufacture, the classic vehicle was in excellent condition considering its use as a daily driver in the 1960s and early 70s. The car was thoroughly reviewed by interested bidders prior to Tuesday’s auction, and earned a strong $66,000 price tag after bidding got on a roll (estimate: $40,000 to $60,000).
All John Moran auction events take place at their headquarters in Old Town Monrovia: 145 E. Walnut Ave., Monrovia, CA 91016; previews are always free and open to the public.
John Moran is always consigning for upcoming auction events, including their 2018 20th Century and Contemporary Art + Design, Prints & Multiples, Art of the American West, and Early 20th Century Design auction sessions. Consignments are also invited for upcoming fine art and jewelry-specific auction catalogues. For more information regarding consignment, contact John Moran Auctioneers directly via telephone: (626) 793-1833 or email: email@example.com.
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