Monrovia, CA – Moran’s first rendition of this year’s modern and contemporary auction has shaped up to be a knockout of a sale appealing to a wide variety of Postwar collectors. Winter Modern & Contemporary will take place on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, and while it may have less than 50 lots in total, it is chock-full of undisputed champions like Lita Albuquerque, Charles Arnoldi, and Channa Horwitz. The sale also boasts a modest yet attractive selection of prints and multiples from heavy hitters like Roy Lichtenstein and Vija Celmins.

Shen Shaomin (b. 1950, Chinese/Australian) “Handle with Care No. 19” $8,000-12,000

Shen Shaomin (b. 1950, Chinese/Australian) “Handle with Care No. 19” $8,000-12,000

Conceptual artist Shen Shaomin (b. 1950, Chinese/Australian) created an oil on linen series entitled Handle with Care, each depicting famous paintings shrouded in bubble wrap. Most of the paintings in the series are derived from works by Andy Warhol like the one on offer, Handle with Care No. 19 featuring Marilyn Monroe. The photorealist paintings are further adorned at the edges with Trojans Art branded packaging tape, one of the leading fine art packing and shipping companies in China. When originally exhibited in 2015, the pieces were strategically placed on the floor and leaned against the wall as if installation had not yet taken place. The series by Shaomin calls into question the preciousness of art, concepts of artistic originality, and leaves viewers with an insatiable urge to uncover the familiar iconic imagery. Handle with Care No. 19 heads to the auction block with an estimate of $8,000-12,000.

From the conceptual to the calculated is Los Angeles artist, Channa Horwitz (1932-2013) who had a steadfast and logical approach to art making. Even though her work is often compared to other minimalist artists like Sol LeWitt and Frank Stella, it wasn’t until much later in life that she started to see the type of recognition her male counterparts enjoyed for most of their careers. Her iconic geometric-based paintings and drawings were composed of complex linear progressions relating to the number 8. Her systematic logic-based approach to creating is somehow still imbued with intense levels of warmth and welcome. Los Angeles Times art critic, Christopher Knight once described Horwitz’s work as “patterned Minimalist drawings that breathe, pulsate and visually warp in most un-Minimalist ways.” 4/7-4/6 -, moire has a $3,000-5,000 estimate and is composed of casein and gold leaf on mylar.

“Lichtenstein is considered one of the founding fathers of the Pop art movement that is characterized by artists extracting source material from popular culture. ”
Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997, American) “Dagwood” $40,000-50,000

Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997, American) “Dagwood” $40,000-50,000

Also hailing from Los Angeles is installation and environmental artist, Lita Albuquerque (b. 1946, American). Although born in Santa Monica, the artist spent her formative years in Tunsia, North Africa and Paris, France, giving her an outlook on our earthly surroundings that is all her own. Albuquerque tackles huge concepts like time and space and translates them into ephemeral works of art that often utilize pure pigment. She grapples with concepts of eternity, the infinite expansion of outer space, and humans in relation to the cosmos. Such big ideas call for a bigger canvas, which is why many of her works are large-scale installations made within the natural landscape. As a result, there is an imprinting on the earth that correspondingly creates visual maps that can be viewed from above. Untitled or Auric field or Lunar Flash is a 48” square sculptural painting comprised of gold leaf and blue pigment on panel that will head to the block with an estimate of $30,000-50,000.

Works on paper will also have a shining moment with a 1967 LOVE color screenprint by Robert Indiana, a Salvador Dali lithograph, and three photos by the Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss. However, there are two lithographs, one by Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) and another by Vija Celmins (b. 1938) that are sure to steal the spotlight! The 1984 Dagwood woodcut with lithograph on Arches 88 paper touts a height of 50.8” and has a $40,000-50,000 estimate. Lichtenstein is considered one of the founding fathers of the Pop art movement that is characterized by artists extracting source material from popular culture. Pop art was branded as American painting, but Lichtenstein preferred it to be defined as industrial painting. The widely recognized artist interpreted the sleek style and graphic sensibilities of advertising and comic books and brought them onto his canvas.

Artist Vija Celmins (b. 1938, Latvian/American) began her career as a Pop sculptor. It wasn’t until later that her work morphed into the diligently rendered portrayals of naturally occurring phenomenon that she is known for. The New York based artist has had over forty solo exhibitions and is included in more than 20 permanent museum collections. Desert was produced in 1971 and is a lithograph on paper with an estimate of $30,000-50,000.

In addition to the exceptional selection of two-dimensional offerings, there is also a tempting assortment of three-dimensional artworks within the sale where bronze takes first place when it comes to material. American sculptor Gwynn Murrill (b. 1942, American) is known primarily for her larger-than-life pubic art animal sculptures. Conversely, the 1994 Cougar bronze is less than one foot in length allowing buyers the opportunity to interact on a more intimate level with work made by the Michigan native. The little big cat has an estimate of $1,000-2,000. There are also nine bronzes included from Saint Clair Cemin with estimates that begin at $400.

The title for most impressive bronze may go to Antonio Grediaga Kieff (b. 1936, Canadian/Spanish) for “Jerga” which was made around 1974. Like Murrill, Kieff is also known for his massive public art sculptures, however, through the years he has created as a painter, printmaker, muralist, jeweler, and graphic artist manifesting works that belong to a plethora of art movements. The well-traveled artist has exhibited work all over the world including Tel Aviv, Taipei, and Havana just to name a few. Jerga which translates to the word jargon in Spanish will head to the block with a $5,000-7,000 estimate.

Antonio Grediaga Kieff (b. 1936, Canadian/Spanish) Jerga $5,000-7,000

Antonio Grediaga Kieff (b. 1936, Canadian/Spanish) Jerga $5,000-7,000

Upcoming Auctions

Made in Mexico: Tuesday, February 15th | 10:00 am PST
Modern & Contemporary Fine Art [Online Only]:
Wednesday, February 16th | 12:00 pm PST
The James M. Cole Collection: Tuesday, March 15th | 12:00 pm PST
ReDesigned: Tuesday, March 22nd | 12:00 pm PST
Studio Fine & Decorative Art [Online Only]: March 29th | 10:00 am PST
California Living: Tuesday, April 5th | 10:00 am PST
The Traditional Collector: Tuesday, April 12th | 12:00 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 public preview. Moran’s auction showroom is 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.
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