Los Angeles, CA— As we say goodbye to summer, John Moran Auctioneers will kick off fall with their Art of the American West sale, Tuesday, September 12th, 2023, at 10:00am PDT. Comprised of nearly 500 lots, this auction will feature an exciting and robust offering of fine art for a wide range of collecting aesthetics from historic to contemporary. Eanger Irving Couse, Martin Grelle, Alson Skinner Clark, Russell Case, and a 28-lot collection of Edward Borein works lead the fine art category. Pueblo pottery is well represented in this sale, having almost 100 lots. The selection includes excellent pieces from Acoma, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, San Felipe, Taos, Nambe, Jemez, Maricopa, Laguna, Anasazi, Zuni and Zia Pueblos, both historic and contemporary. Navajo textiles in the auction range from a late 19th century Childs wearing blanket to contemporary Yei examples. A room sized Ganado is sure to transform its next home.
Leading the fine art offerings is a work by Eanger Irving Couse. Couse (1866-1936) was an American artist and a founding member and first president of the Taos Society of Artists. He was born and raised in Michigan, went to New York City and Paris to study art, but it was the summers he spent in Taos, New Mexico that really shaped his career. Couse is most known for his paintings of Native Americans, New Mexico, and the American Southwest. Having an estimate of $40,000-60,000, this sale will feature his work, “Native American Indian Cooking Near Fire.”
Another highly sought after artist with Western roots is Martin Grelle. His work is admired by collectors for the way he captures the spirit, beauty, and vastness of the West in his historically accurate, compelling images. For each work, Grelle studies diligently to portray the diverse cultures of the American West correctly and with sensitivity. Experiencing the cowboy’s way of life through time spent with ranchers and friends, and gaining knowledge from museums, libraries, historical re-enactments, and experts on Native American culture, have all been necessary in bringing Grelle’s visions of the American West life to canvas. “Rancher with cattle after a rainstorm,” 1982, estimated $15,000-25,000, depicts a cowboy riding a horse, watching four cows explore and graze the wet grass.
This auction will present works by two great landscape artists, Alson Skinner Clark and Russell Case. Clark (1876-1949) was an American Impressionist painter, photographer, plein aire painter, art educator, and muralist, but is most remembered for his landscapes. His work, “California Pioneers” will be offered at a $7,000-9,000 estimate. “Skies of Autumn,” 2022, is done by the contemporary landscape artist, Russell Case (b. 1966). Valued at $5,000-7,000, this work is an example of Case’s transition to oil paints after nearly thirty years of using watercolor. Since 1999, when he made the switch to oil painting, the demand for Case works has accelerated and continues to be a favorite among collectors.
One of the most noteworthy art collections in the sale is a 28-lot assortment of Edward Borein works. Borein (1872-1945) was an American etcher and painter from California. This sale will feature watercolors and etchings depicting missions, cowboys, wagons, and bucking broncos. One of the colorful watercolors is, “Cowboy with Blue Shirt on Bucking Bronc,” estimated $4,000-6,000.
Representing the impressive selection of over fifty textiles is a Navajo child’s wearing blanket. This example dates to the late 19th century when Navajo weavers still made textiles for their own use. Estimated $5,000-7,000, this blanket was woven in red, cream, and indigo and has banding throughout.
Pottery collectors are sure to take notice of the multiple pieces by Margaret Tafoya. Tafoya (1904-2001) was the matriarch of Santa Clara Pueblo potters and a recipient of a 1984 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the United States government’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Among this auction’s offerings is an early example of her work—carved redware pottery vase with an avian motif, estimated $2,000-3,000.
“Pueblo Girl” by Glenna Goodacre is a highlight for sculptures. Goodacre (1939-2020) was an American sculptor, best known for designing the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. The patinated bronze sculpture on wood plinth is edition 6 of 20 and comes with a $2,000-3,000 estimate. Other bronze examples by Allan Housser, Dave McGary, Harry Jackson, Bob Scriver and Tammy Tammy Garcia round out the variety of sculptural art.
There will be over 20 lots of jewelry including a gorgeous necklace by an outstanding Native American jeweler, Ray Tracey. Born and raised on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, Tracey started making jewelry at the age of nine and has been working professionally in the field since 1977. He is known for his versatility, designing both traditional Navajo Old-Style jewelry and cutting-edge contemporary design. Featured in this sale is a Navajo 14k gold pendant with multi-stone inlay, comprising of a gold pendant in the form of a stylized katsina face with turquoise, lapis, and spiney oyster inlay on a 14k gold chain, estimated $800-1,200.
Other highlights include two early works by the glass artist, Preston Singletary. Since 1982, Singletary has been creating art that reflects Tlingit culture. His glass sculptures deal with themes of Tlingit mythology and traditional designs, while also using music to shape his contemporary perspective of Native culture. With estimates of $800-1,200, this sale will offer two early Singletary glass bottles (with stoppers) from 1996, one white and one orange.
—Brenda Smith, John Moran Auctioneers
“Borein (1872-1945) was an American etcher and painter from California. This sale will feature watercolors and etchings depicting missions, cowboys, wagons, and bucking broncos. One of the colorful watercolors is, “Cowboy with Blue Shirt on Bucking Bronc,” estimated $4,000-6,000. ”
John Moran Auctioneers will continue their 2023 lineup with the Art + Design auction, Tuesday, August 29th, followed by the Art of the American West sale, Tuesday, September 12th. Be sure to mark your calendars for these upcoming auctions so you don’t miss out on the action, and the treasures!
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
The Traditional Collector: Wednesday, September 27th | 10:00am PDT
California and American Fine Art: Tuesday, November 14th | 12:00 pm 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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