Monrovia, CA – On Tuesday, May 25th, the spirit of the wild west embodied the 10,000 square foot showroom at John Moran Auctioneers. Cowboys and American Indians played nicely through paintings and bronze sculptures but there was a showdown of epic proportions between bidders participating on every platform available. Beautiful hand-woven rugs, blankets, and baskets had a 100% sell-through rate, and contemporary western artwork earned its place next to historical depictions of the region, bringing bright splashes of color next to rich browns and reds.

Lot 152: Laguna Pueblo Polychrome Pottery Olla $1,200-1,800 Sold $4,062.00

Lot 152: Laguna Pueblo Polychrome Pottery Olla $1,200-1,800 Sold $4,062.00

Accessories were carefully curated in display cases highlighting everything from belt buckles, and spurs to chaps, and jewelry. A sea of silver, turquoise, and coral awaited bidders including the Preston Monongye Sandcast Cuff. Preston Monongye was a Los Angeles native who was adopted by a notable Hopi family after being abandoned on the Reservation as a child. After studying under his uncle, a prominent silversmith, and painter, he later became a leading voice in what is commonly referred to as New Indian Jewelry. The Sandcast cuff inlaid with bone, turquoise, onyx, and coral points was an excellent example of his work and exceeded its $3,000-5,000 estimate when it sold for $5,312.50 (includes buyer’s premium).

Items for display in the home such as pottery and textiles proved to be very desirable to buyers as seen in a Laguna Pueblo Polychrome Pottery Olla that emanated from the First quarter of the 20th Century. Its stylized floral motif came in a colorful array of red, orange, black, and cream. The vessel held its own in the sale, surpassing its $1,200-1,800 estimate and selling for $4,062.00 (includes buyer’s premium). A wonderful selection of American Indian textiles were featured in the sale and a  Navajo Crystal Room-sized Rug was the object of desire for several bidders. Its bold geometric design, complete with diamond shapes and fretted elements, sold for $11,875 (includes buyer’s premium) despite its $2,000-3,000 estimate.

Baskets were also a hot commodity during the sale boasting a 100% sell-through rate, and coming in a variety of shapes, patterns, and sizes. The Yokuts were an American Indian tribe originating from the San Joaquin Valley of California. When Spanish settlers arrived in 1772, their estimated population numbered in the tens of thousands however, their current populace is, unfortunately, a mere fraction of that amount. The Yokuts were known for executing beautifully crafted polychrome baskets and the Yokuts Polychrome Pictorial Basket on offer depicted both figures and stylized trees in an alternating pattern. The excellent example made by master weavers and estimated at $1,200-1,800 sold for $5,312.50 (includes buyer’s premium). A Central California Basketry Bowl with alternating bands of vertical and horizontal zigzags also did well at the block selling for $4,687.50 (includes buyer’s premium) far outperforming its $600-800 estimate. Several Mission Baskets were also included in the sale, each with varying motifs. Among the diverse designs was a Cahuilla Mission Polychrome Snake Motif Basket. The deep circular basketry tray was adorned with a coiled rattlesnake and radiating bands that imitated the vibrations of the rattle. The well-fought lot slithered past its $1,200-1,800 estimate and sold for $7,500 (includes buyer’s premium).

“The 24 matted drypoint etchings on Japanese paper came in a leather-bound portfolio case accompanied by 28 pages outlining the history and descriptions of each mission site.”
Lot 65: 24 Matted drypoint etchings on Japanese paper in a leather-bound portfolio case with 28-page “Outlines of History, Description, etc.” 20,000-30,000 Sold $34,375

Lot 65: 24 Matted drypoint etchings on Japanese paper in a leather-bound portfolio case with 28-page “Outlines of History, Description, etc.” 20,000-30,000 Sold $34,375

This sale had plenty of art to go around in both the traditional and contemporary categories.
Contemporary cowboy and artist Bill Owen (1942-2013) learned firsthand about life on the ranch and art simultaneously through his cowboy father and artist mother. Perhaps this explains why his depictions feel so genuine. In 1973 he became a member of the Cowboy Artists of America and served three times as its president. The Arizona artist received several awards and exhibited internationally but founding The Arizona Cowpuncher’s Scholarship Organization in 1995 was one of his proudest accomplishments which provided college funds for youngsters in the Arizona ranching community. Owen’s drawing, First Saddle, did exceptionally well at the block selling for $10,000 (including buyer’s premium) despite its $2,000-3000 estimate.

Illustrator Henry Chapman Ford (1828-1894) was born in Livonia, New York, and spent several years studying art in Paris. He returned to the United States enlisting in the Union Army to serve during the Civil War and the illustrated press published his drawings of military life throughout his service. However, his most recognized artistic endeavor was the work on offer, a complete portfolio of Etchings of the Franciscan Missions of California. The 24 matted drypoint etchings on Japanese paper came in a leather-bound portfolio case accompanied by 28 pages outlining the history and descriptions of each mission site. By 1875 Chapman had made Santa Barbara his home. The etchings were quite the undertaking, made possible when the artist devoted two summers in 1880 and 1881 to travel by horse and buggy to each mission site south of Santa Barbara where he would make pencil drawings and painted sketches in preparation. The impressive body of work was estimated at $20,000-30,000 but sold to eager bidders for $34,375 (includes buyer’s premium).

Artist Ned Jacob (b.1938) was also well-traveled. He grew up in New Jersey but hitchhiked all the way from the east coast to the great state of Montana, his pockets equipped with only $50 and his high school diploma. He had many teachers that helped him to hone his drafting skills as an artist but living among the Blackfeet Indian tribe was perhaps the biggest contribution to his education and ability to capture the essence of American Indian life with such accuracy. The Kiowas alternately entitled War Party (as written on the back of the stretcher bar) feels like a movie still romantically portraying the grandeur of the west and its early inhabitants. It was a favorite among buyers selling far above its $2,000-3,000 estimate for $9,375 (including buyer’s premium).

Another revered Western artist to point out from the sale was Gaspard de Latoix (1858-1918). In 1880, along with his longtime partner, Isabell, he ventured from England to America. Upon discovering the West, the self-taught draftsman dedicated his life and career to portraying New Mexico, the Plains Indians, and similar subject matter. Two Indians on Horseback is a striking example of the artist’s work featuring rich earth tones found in both the subjects and their horses in contrast to the cool cerulean blue sky. The Pueblo Indians were a source of inspiration for many artists throughout history and remain a staple within the Western art genre. The arresting painting roused fierce bidding taking it beyond its $15,000-20,000 estimate and selling at $37,500 (includes buyer’s premium).

Lot 198: Preston Monongye Sandcast Cuff $3,000-5000 Sold: $5,312.50

Lot 198: Preston Monongye Sandcast Cuff $3,000-5000 Sold: $5,312.50

Upcoming Auctions


Things are really heating up this summer at John Moran Auctioneers with multiple sales catering to each aesthetic!  Postwar & Contemporary Art + Design features two prominent collections and is full of modern pieces, exceptional design, and striking contemporary works of art.  ReDesign will return with lots of goodies to refresh and elevate your work or office space and August will kick off with the fan-favorite, Made in Mexico.

Postwar & Contemporary Art + Design: June 9th | 10:00 am PST
Postwar & Contemporary Art + Design [Prints & Multiples]: June 9th | 2:00 pm PST
ReDesign: Tuesday, July 13th | 12:00 pm PST
Made in Mexico: Tuesday, August 3rd | 2:00 pm PST

John Moran’s takes the health and safety of our staff and customers seriously; as such, sales will continue to be held online and without a live audience. However, each item is available for preview through appointment. Moran’s auction preview floor is spaced over 10,000 square feet and allows clients to preview objects within established social distancing guidelines so that buyers can feel confident when making an appointment to preview the property. 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 our website; bidding is also supported by telephone or absentee.

Consignments are always welcome:
Email us at [email protected] today!