Los Angeles, CA— To kick off the summer season, Moran’s will be presenting their Art of the American West sale Tuesday, June 6th, 2023 at 12:00pm PST. The auction will have over 250 lots and will feature an exciting and robust offering of fine art for a wide range of collecting aesthetics from historic to contemporary. There will be sixty lots of traditional and contemporary Navajo and Pueblo silver jewelry. Western interiors can be accented and refreshed by a fantastic selection of Navajo blankets, stunning Pueblo pottery, and an exquisite variety of Inuit figures. Furnishings from the American Arts & Crafts movement are represented by leaded glass lamps, a pair of Samuel Yellin table scones, and Stickley Brothers copper. This sale will also present a stunning capsule collection from Rex Chase, a healthcare executive from Berkley, California.
An avid art collector and frequent traveler, Rex Chase lived a life full of beauty and adventure. Born April 12, 1931, in Dunlap, Iowa as the youngest of seven siblings, Rex quickly learned the importance of hard work and independence. Paying his own way, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1953 followed by a master’s degree in health services administration in 1955 from the University of Iowa. After college he served in the United States Air Force, eventually landing him in Northern California. After completing his military service, he moved on to serve in various administrative positions at multiple hospitals in the area, ultimately working his way to President and CEO of Mary’s Help Hospital (later called Seton Medical Center) in Daly City, CA, where he remained for almost 20 years. Along with achieving great success in his professional life, Rex had a loving and fulfilling personal life with his partner of 49 years, Everett Stanley. Together, the couple loved opera, the symphony, ballet, theater, museums, and collecting, especially while traveling. They loved to purchase art on many of their adventures, acquiring a variety of eclectic and abstract works. Rex was especially drawn to Inuit art for its simplicity, clean lines, and meaning. A friend of Rex lived in Canada and would often send him Inuit art and artifacts from local shops as well as consult him on items he’d find in the states. Navajo textiles had a large presence in Rex and Everett’s home and mainly came from Arizona and Colorado. Every room was filled with art, and so much so that the couple referred to their house as, “a salon of art”. Sadly, Rex passed away in 2017 and Everett currently resides in assisted living, but their memories will forever live on through each piece of this impressive capsule collection.
Representing the fine art selection in the sale are works by Grace Carpenter Hudson, Laverne Nelson Black, and Oscar Howe. Estimated $15,000-20,000, A Pomo girl looking up at a flock of birds, 1923, by Grace Carpenter Hudson (1865-1937) depicts classic childhood distractions while attempting chores. Hudson was well-known for her numbered series of more than 684 portraits of the local Pomo natives. Laverne Nelson Black (1887-1938) guided his life’s work from Chicago to New Mexico after just two year of art school. His work, Native Americans on Horseback will be offered with an estimate of $15,000-20,000. Oscar Howe (1915-1983) was a renowned Native American artist who is best known for his innovative and expressive depictions of traditional Dakota culture and mythology. Born on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota, Howe grew up immersed in his heritage and was deeply influenced by the rich visual traditions of his people. This auction will feature two of his works, one being, Koda, Nape Ciuza (“Friend, I Shake Your Hand”), 1966, estimated $12,000-18,000.
An incredible collection of Navajo textiles will be offered, many coming from the Rex Chase capsule collection. Examples span from Late Classic to contemporary including a Late Classic Moki blanket, estimated $10,000-15,000, a Navajo Late Classic child’s blanket, estimated $5,000-7,000, and a late 19th century Navajo pictorial blanket depicting running horses standing among mountains with a stylized train running through the center, estimated $6,000-8,000.
For sculpture, one of the highlights is Allan Houser’s Mother and Child, 1989, with a $6,000-8,000 estimate. This abstract figurative bronze is an elegant representation of this relationship that changes with the viewing direction.
Collectors are sure to take notice of the 45+ lots of Inuit art. Noteworthy artists include Aqjangajuk Shaa, Joseph Shuqslak, Tudlik, Kenojuak Ashevak, and Osuitok Ipeelee with his piece, Tauvinik (a “qallupilluit” ghost figure), circa 1992, estimated $4,000-6,000. In Inuit mythology, the Qallupilluit (a.k.a. Qalupalik) are a creature akin to the boogeyman that live along Arctic shorelines near ice floes. They are said to steal children that wander too close to the water, so this myth served as a cautionary tale to keep children from wandering too close to the ice.
Other standout pieces include a Haida raven rattle, estimated $4,000-6,000, a Sioux beaded doctor’s bag, estimated $3,000-5,000, and a Buffalo Indian Head nickle squash blossom necklace, estimated $3,000-5,000.
There will also be American Indian pottery from Tony Da, Helen Baca Shupla, and Mark Tahbo (1958-2017) with his polychrome seed pot, valued $1,000-1,5000.
—Brenda Smith, John Moran Auctioneers
“Representing the fine art selection in the sale are works by Grace Carpenter Hudson, Laverne Nelson Black, and Oscar Howe. Estimated $15,000-20,000, A Pomo girl looking up at a flock of birds, 1923, by Grace Carpenter Hudson (1865-1937) depicts classic childhood distractions while attempting chores. ”
John Moran Auctioneers will continue their 2023 lineup with the Costume & Couture auction, Tuesday, May 23rd, followed by the Fine Jewelry & Timepieces sale, Tuesday, May 24th. Be sure to mark your calendars for these upcoming auctions so you don’t miss out on the action, and the treasures!
Costume & Couture: Tuesday, May 23rd | 10:00 am PST
Fine Jewelry & Timepieces: Wednesday, May 24th | 10:00 am PST
Art of the American West: Tuesday, June 6th | 12:00 pm PST
Modern & Contemporary Fine Art: Tuesday, June 13th | 10:00am PST
ReDesigned: Tuesday, July 11th | 12:00pm PST
For upcoming highlights, online catalogues, and more information on these sales, visit Moran’s website: www.johnmoran.com and follow us on social media: @johnmoranauctioneers. Along with our website, bidding is now available online via Moran’s new mobile app, Moran Mobile, available on both iOS and Android operating systems. You may also choose to bid by phone or absentee.
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