Los Angeles, CA— As the days keep getting hotter, so do the offerings at Moran’s! On Tuesday, August 29th at noon PDT, John Moran Auctioneers will present their Summer Art & Design sale. The auction, having more than 300 lots, will feature an array of styles and aesthetics from luminaries including Raimond Staprans, Keith Haring, Alice Baber, James Siena, Richard Serra, Henrietta Berk, Max Klinger, Frederick Hammersely, Tarmo Pasto, and Invader. The decorative offerings boast works by Harrison McIntosh, Salvador Dali, David Cressey, Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman, James Nowak, and a favorite of the Los Angeles MidMod crowd, Malcolm Leland. Fabulous furniture designs by George Nakashima, Sam Maloof, Philip and Kelvin LaVerne, Paul Evans, Eames, Charles Hollis Jones, and multiple one-of-a-kind pieces by John Nyquist will round out the sale and give collectors a place to land when the auctions heavy hitters knock them off their feet.
Moran’s pleased to, once again, present works by one of the major female figures of the Abstract Expressionist movement, Alice Baber (1928-1982). In the past year, the auction house has continuously achieved phenomenal results for the artist—including her top three world auction records! With continued national and international interest, Baber’s work does not show any sign of cooling at market. In Moran’s recent Modern & Contemporary Fine Art auction, Baber’s two works brought in a combined $225,000*. Featured in this collection are three works by Baber, with the collection’s highlight, “The Door To The Gate To The Bridge,” 1975, being offered at $50,000-70-000. “Blue Leaf to Shell” from the “Tragedy of Color Series,” 1975, and “Red + Blue Deluge,” both watercolors, will add to the breadth of Baber offerings with estimates ranging from $3,000-6,000. Collectors from all price points will have a chance to own one of the artist’s visceral works offered in this sale.
Raimond Staprans (b. 1926), describes his paintings as “purely Californian.” They each carry his signature palette of saturated blues, oranges, greens, and yellows, and all convey his style of color, light, geometry, and perception. This sale will feature, “A Study of Down-Rolling Oranges with a Staid Neon Apple,” 1995, estimated $40,000-60,000 pa. This painting exemplifies Staprans’s distinctly Californian sensibility. HIs mastery as an artist has also been compared to Paul Cézanne, whose well-known still lifes emphasize the underlying geometric structure of objects arranged in compositions with slightly skewed perspectives. In “A Study of Down-Rolling Oranges with a Staid Neon Apple,” 1995, we see this comparison in the arrangement of the oranges, which are deliberately placed on a table with somewhat distorted perspectives. The orange motif comes up frequently in the artist’s work, as it is as engrained in the California landscape as much as Staprans is engrained in painting it.
Another notable California artist represented in this sale is Henrietta Berk (1919-1990). Berk apprenticed with important artists, Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff, whose influences can be seen in the abstract elements of her landscapes. Like Staprans, Berk’s oil paintings are recognized for their roots in the California Landscape, and the incredible California light she captures in them. Beginning in 1960, Berk’s artwork was exhibited at galleries and museums throughout California, including the San Francisco Museum of Art, Oakland Museum, de Young Museum, The Carter Gallery, and the de Young Museum. Like Baber, she was largely ignored in the market but, within the past few years, has gained an audience of collectors that see her contribution to the Bay Area Figurative and Abstract Expressionist Movements. Berk’s striking orange masterpiece, “Piper Island Ferry,” 1965 certainly won’t go ignored with an estimate of $10,000-15,000.
Representing the selection of international art is “Les Tulipes Rouges et Blanches,” a work by Vietnamese artist, Lê Phổ. Born in Vietnam in 1907, Phổ studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Hanoi between 1925 and 1930. His artistic mentor, Victor Tardieu, was a friend and companion of Matisse who encouraged Lê Phổ to paint with vibrant colors and expressive brushstrokes in a manner reminiscent of the noted Fauvist artist. The oeuvre of Lê Phổ is typically divided into three distinct periods, with the final period beginning in 1963 when his work became noticed by the American gallerist Wally Findlay, owner of the Findlay Galleries. “Les Tulipes Rouges et Blanches” is an example of the artist’s still lifes from this period, originally sold by the Wally Findlay Galleries. This stunning large-scale work will be brought to auction with an estimate of $60,000-80,000 and boasts a letter of authenticity from the Findlay Foundation.
Having offered over twenty of his works in just this year alone, Moran’s has become the go-to place for collectors of Peter Max. Just last month, in their Modern & Contemporary Fine Art sale, Max’s work, “Better World,” 2002 achieved an impressive $28,600*, making it the 4th highest price realized by the artist at auction to date. Max (b. 1937) is a German American artist known for his use of bold and bright colors. His works are associated with the visual arts and culture of the 1960s, particularly psychedelic art and pop art. “Right Now,” 1970, epitomizes the hippy counterculture zeitgeist that spread throughout the United States during the previous decade. Estimated $25,000-35,000, this work is among the largest examples of Max’s early oil paintings to come to market.
In the design category, collectors will definitely show excitement for the multiple George Nakashima chairs. Nakashima (1905-1990) was an American woodworker, architect, and furniture maker who was one of the leading innovators of the 20th century furniture design and father of the American craft movement. Come auction day, Moran’s will offer a group of three “Conoid Lounge” chairs, originally designed in the early 80s, with a $8,000-12,000 estimate. Each chair is sculptural carved walnut with a blond hickory spindle back and cantilevered over two legs with horizontal tapering feet. There will also be a set of 4 Nakashima “New Chair” dining chairs, estimated $4,000-6,000, from his 1956 design. These chairs feature blonde hickory spindle backs and slanted tapered legs with a dual h-stretcher.
Other favorite furniture pieces include a John Nyquist dining table and a Paul Evans-style cabinet by Adrian Pearsall. There will be multiple Nyquist pieces in the sale, one being a 1970s dining table. Estimated $3,000-5,000, the table is designed with sedua and teak—the top being teak transformed into a surfboard shape and the carved sedua makes up the trestle base. The Adrian Pearsall piece, a Brutalist cabinet for Craft Associates circa 1970s, is valued at $2,000-4,000. This piece is after Paul Evan’s ‘Goop’ cabinet design, having a four-door credenza with wood carcass, and applied bronze-colored, faux patinated resin slathered onto the wood surface.
The vast furniture selection also features a three-piece pine dining buffet by Sam Maloof, a coffee table by Philip and Kelvin La Verne, and multiple lots of Ray and Charles Eames. Designs by Michael Taylor, Aldo Tura, Vladimir Kagan, Paul McCobb, Milo Baughman, Mario Bellini, and a vintage egg chair by Arne Jacobsen will also be available. Other items of interest are the Frank Lloyd Wright ephemera and three lots of rare architectural renderings and blueprints from Los Angeles architect, Paul Williams.
—Brenda Smith and Jenny Wilson, John Moran Auctioneers
“In the past year, the auction house has continuously achieved phenomenal results for the artist—including her top three world auction records!”
John Moran Auctioneers will continue their 2023 lineup with the California Living auction, Tuesday, August 1st, followed by the Art + Design sale, Tuesday, August 29th. Be sure to mark your calendars for these upcoming auctions so you don’t miss out on the action, and the treasures!
California Living: Tuesday, August 1st | 10:00 am PDT
Art & Design: Tuesday, August 29th | 12:00 pm PDT
Art of the American West: Tuesday, September 12th | 12:00 pm PDT
Comics, Illustration Art, & Memorabilia – Online: Tuesday, September 16th | 12:00 pm PDT
Fine Jewelry: Tuesday, September 26th | 10:00am PDT
The Traditional Collector: Wednesday, September 27th | 10:00am PDT
For upcoming highlights, online catalogues, and more information on these sales, visit Moran’s website: www.johnmoran.com and follow us on social media: @johnmoran_auctioneers. 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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