Monrovia, CA – On Tuesday, November 16, 2021, John Moran Auctioneers presented buyers with a feast for the eyes in its California Living sale. Taking place on the same day as Moran’s beloved California and American Fine Art sale, Cal Living held its own with exciting results from diverse offerings in all categories. From classic arts and crafts to ultramodern and everything in between, lot winners found standout pieces to compliment every part of their home or office.
Framed works had a strong turnout, in various styles by a variety of artists, such as Jim Cassinetto, whose oil painting, Eucalyptus Row, 2017 epitomizes the California Arts and Crafts coastline. Inspired by hours spent studying early Plein Air painters, he brings that mood-setting influence to areas of light and shade. His paintings reflect the changing light throughout the day, inviting the viewer to enjoy the subdued colors of the trees and coast. Cassinetto’s distinct style is certainly in demand, with this work reaching $2,000 (with buyer’s premium), well above its top estimate of $900. Another California landscape was featured with Galen Rowell’s stunning color photograph, Yosemite a rare offering of his early 1970s image of Yosemite Valley with El Capitan and Half Dome lit with pink afterglow, which achieved a satisfying $1,040 (with buyer’s premium). An edition of 15/300, this iconic photograph, produced before his tragic death in 2002, demonstrates Rowell’s ability to capture and share the “grace and grandeur of the great wild places of the world” (Tom Brokaw).
Works by British artists William Scott and Victor Pasmore gave an abstract contrast to the classic California landscapes. Points of Contact No. 23, 196, a large-scale abstract color screenprint by Victor Pasmore (1908-1998) nearly doubled its high estimate of $800 to finish at $1,500 (with buyer’s premium). William Scott’s chalk and pastel work on paper, Spatial Displacement, Series (A), of 1964, led the way and achieved $8,125 (with buyer’s premium), double the high estimate of $4000. This work is a good example of Scott’s characteristic style, influenced by Georges Braque and Paul Klee, featuring flat areas of color and descriptive lines with primitive and simple geometric forms and motifs inspired by everyday life, in compositions often extending beyond the edges of the piece itself. During his lifetime of study, work, and travel, Scott continually explored the space between abstraction and figuration in his compositions. Born in Scotland (1913-1989), Scott later moved to Northern Ireland with his family and is considered one of the 20th century’s best-known painters from Ulster.
“Jim Cassinetto paintings reflect the changing light throughout the day, inviting the viewer to enjoy the subdued colors of the trees and coast. ”
Not to be outdone, sculptures large and small were also featured, and triumphed, with Mel Kendrick’s (b. 1949, American) Large Mahogany with Holes. The 6-foot mahogany abstract sculpture embodies all of the artists re-occurring motifs such as scale, geometry, and process. Clearly abstracted yet somewhat anthropomorphic, the sculpture is adorned with holes that lure in viewers. The sculpture outpaced its $7,000-9,000 estimate and ultimately sold for $12,500 (with buyer’s premium).
On a smaller scale, Eli Harvey’s bronze Standing Bear on a Ball, 1898, provided a solid finish at $3,125 (with buyer’s premium), returning to the artist’s family in fine style. Harvey was artistically inspired at an early age by the natural landscape of his native Midwest and preferred to express the natural beauty of his animal subjects. His bear may be familiar to any alumni of Brown University, as they adopted a popular eight-foot bear sculpture by Harvey as a mascot.
An abundance of inspiring works of modernist jewelry, including iconic pieces by Björn Weckström, Pal Kepenyes, and other Scandinavian designers all sold well alongside desirable Mexican artists including Margot de Taxco and Antonio Pineda. The stellar result was reserved for an Antonio Pineda silver and obsidian necklace, which landed nicely above its top estimate to attain $2,625 (with buyer’s premium). Works by Pineda continue to be popular and reinforce his standing among the top Mexican silversmiths. A former apprentice to the renowned William Spratling, he has been described by some as the most lasting, most successful, and most daring of artists from the Taxco area, often incorporating rare stones in new and unique settings. This piece certainly demonstrates a talent considered unrivaled in silver jewelry.
Furniture and Decorative Arts did not shrink from the limelight but performed well with top results including a handsome credenza by Dunbar, a fine example making a respectable $5,525 (with buyer’s premium) as well as an arresting pair of Steuben art glass torchères, at $3,250 (with buyer’s premium). A Rookwood vellum glazed porcelain plaque entitled Colorado also finished in a top position, making $4,375 (with buyer’s premium), over the top estimate of $3,000. In 1880, Rookwood pottery was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio by Maria Longworth Nichols, making it one of the first female-owned manufacturing companies in America and they are still in production today.
However, the star of the genre was a Japanese-style ‘Nihonga’ Byobu Folding Screen by artist Robert Crowder (1911-2010, American). Nihonga is the term used for Japanese-style painting and Robert Crowder spent several years in Japan studying under master Mochizuki Shunko (1893-1979) in pre-war Japan learning the art of Nihonga. Crowder adopted Shoji Kuroda as his artist name and spent years perfecting his love of the genre with his favorite subject matter, nature. Crowder’s eventful 99 years on earth was chronicled in two separate memoirs The Blue Furoshiki and My Lost Japan.
“I always loved fish, animals, plants and flowers even as a child, and when I first set foot on Japanese land, there was a feeling of arriving home, and, meeting Shunko, and seeing his paintings of flowers and birds, I realized I was looking at the same objects of Nature but painted through an inner sense of the Japanese eye.”
The beautiful screen graced with birds, trees, and flowers caught the eye several buyers and sold at almost four times its estimate for $6,250 (with buyer’s premium).
Moran’s Art of the American West will take place immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday on November 30th. Rounding out the year and beyond, Moran’s will offer two auctions in December, beginning with Traditional Collector on December 7th, with a variety of Continental furniture, textiles, paintings, bronze and marble sculptures, and silver. Fine Jewelry and Timepieces follows on December 14th, with a wide selection of special jewelry featuring beautiful gemstones and classic wearable styles giving dazzling choices for the festive season. Finally, our ever popular Made in Mexico will kick off the new year in great style on February 1st 2022. If you would like to preview any item in person, call our office today to schedule your appointment.
Art of the American West: Tuesday, November 30th | 10am PST
Traditional Collector: Tuesday, December 7th | 12:00 pm PST
Fine Jewelry and Timepieces: Tuesday, December 14th | 12:00 pm PST
Made in Mexico: Tuesday, February 1st | 12:00 pm PST
For upcoming highlights, online catalogues, and more information on these sales, visit Moran’s website: www.johnmoran.com. 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!