Moran’s first California & American Fine Art auction of the year realized solid prices across the board for works from the country’s leading artists. Moran’s will keep offering works from California and American painters throughout the year, culminating in their second California & American Fine Art auction in October.

Franz A. Bischoff (1864-1929 Pasadena, CA), price realized

Franz A. Bischoff (1864-1929 Pasadena, CA)

Spring was in the air during the auction, with floral still lifes achieving some of the highest prices of the night. Interest in a beautiful still life from Alice Chittenden of California’s state flower, the golden poppy, was undoubtedly boosted by the fever pitch around this year’s super bloom. The poppies soared over their $4000-6000 estimate to sell for $17,500 (all prices realized include the 25% buyer’s premium). A stunning work from Pasadena artist Franz Bischoff of white roses in dappled sunlight sold for $50,000 at the block. A still life from Sierra Madre artist Vernon Jay Morse, beautifully capturing a vase of flowers sold for $3,125 to a lucky floor bidder.

Auction Highlights

Works from American artists performed strongly at the auction. A lush landscape of the Florida Everglades from Fort Pierce, FL artist Albert Ernest (Beanie) Backus sold above its $15,000-20,000 estimate for $25,000. A moody work from Canadian/American painter Jack Lorimer Gray completed while the artist was living in Maine was one of the most highly anticipated lots of the sale. The painting of a fisherman in his rowboat on choppy seas brought $31,250 at auction, above its $12,000-18,000 estimate. A portrait of Frank Waters by Taos, NM-based artist Nicolai Fechin inspired a bidding war when it hit the block, selling well above its $5000-7000 for $12,500.

Albert Ernest (Beanie) Backus (1906-1990 Fort Pierce, FL)

A portrait of Frank Waters by Taos, Nicolai Fechin

Works by California artists were among the most coveted of the sale. A stylized Laguna harbor watercolor from Claremont, CA artist Phil Latimer Dike brought $13,750, above its $8000-12,000 estimate. A Thomas Moran watercolor of El Capitan, one of the most iconic formations in Yosemite, inspired stiff competition when it hit the block. The buyer finally won out with a $10,625 bid .

Phil Latimer Dike NA (1906-1990 Claremont), Price Realized $13,750

Phil Latimer Dike NA (1906-1990 Claremont, CA) Laguna Harbor scene with figures, price realized: $13,750

Moran’s highly anticipated 20th Century Art + Design auction on May 5th is brimming with fine art, furniture, and décor from the century’s leading artists. Included within the sale are a special session featuring the collection of Mrs. Donald M. Jones, a collector of Natzler and California pottery among other notable works, as well as a fine selection of Prints and Multiples. May 21st is sure to dazzle when over 200 lots of jewelry hits the block in Moran’s Fine Jewelry & Timepieces and Studio Jewelry auctions.

For upcoming highlights, online catalogues, and more information on these sales, visit Moran’s website: Bidding is now available online via Moran’s new mobile app Moran Mobile, available on both iOS and Android operating systems. Live bidding on a desktop is available through; bidding is also supported by telephone, absentee, or in person.

Consignment inquiries are always welcome.