Moran’s December 6th Decorative Art Session Delights with Modern Art; Art Glass and Pottery
• A condensed catalogue of just under 150 lots, Moran’s December Decorative Art Auction featured Native American, Western, Modern and Contemporary art and objects
• The session’s top lot was “Sunrise on the Trail”, a western oil painting by Gerald Harvey Jones (b. 1933 Fredericksburg, TX) from the Estate of Phoebe Hearst Cooke
• Art glass lots by Steuben proved particularly popular with Moran’s bidders
MONROVIA, CA - Following Moran’s nearly 350 lot Fine Jewelry Auction, approximately 150 decorative art lots spanning Native American, Western, and Modern Design categories were offered to a large audience of in-person, absentee and online buyers. While small, the Decorative Art Session fared well with buyers, with much of the attention going to modern paintings and prints, art glass, and Western-genre lots.
The top lot for the evening was a western scene by Fredericksburg, TX painter Gerald Harvey Jones (b. 1933). “Sunrise on the Trail” depicted a branded longhorn standing in a desert landscape, looking towards a passing chuck wagon. The painting was brought to the block with a $15,000 to $20,000 pre-sale estimate, and easily brought $21,600 (prices realized include Moran’s 20% buyer’s premium). Shortly thereafter, a charming Mexican street scene by Orrin A. White (1883-1969 Pasadena, CA) was brought to the block, carrying an $800 to $1200 estimate. Hailing from a private San Diego, CA collection, the work brought $1440.
Modern art and sculpture results were quite strong for a select group of works; “Maravillas con Variaciones Acrosticas en el Jardin de Miró”, a portfolio of works by Joan Miró (1893-1983 Spanish) hand-signed by the artist were brought to the block with a $3000/5000 estimate, and earned $5700 thanks to competing absentee and telephone bidders. A trio of abstracted bronze musician sculptures by David Aronson (1923-2015 Massachusetts/New York) were offered with conservative estimates and surprised many when they each earned at least twice their high estimate. The most sought-after example depicted a seated violinist; carrying an $800/1200 estimate, the work brought $3075, selling to a private collector bidding via telephone. Late in the session, “Descending Angel”, a black and white silver gelatin print by photographer John Wimberley (b. 1945) depicting the diaphanously draped legs of a female figure gracefully floating into frame, brought $984 (estimate: $800/1200).
Modern and contemporary art glass also proved ever-popular; a collection of high-end Steuben art glass sculptures and paperweights closed out the session, achieving stellar prices. A pair of two “Excalibur” paperweights with gold and silver paper knives were offered as a single lot, bringing $1680, thanks to heavy competition online (estimate: $700/900). An art glass and 14K gold unicorn bust went to a telephone bidder, bringing $1020 (estimate: $800/1200). Earlier in the sale, a large-scale Steuben art glass “Cluthra” rose-colored vase was offered with a very conservative $300 to $500 estimate, and inspired multiple collectors to compete for the piece via telephone. Consigned from a private Scottsdale, AZ collection, the vase earned $1320. A number of paperweight lots consigned from a Pasadena, CA collection performed well at the block, including a set comprising geometric and winter-themed designs which came up to the block later in the session; the seasonally appropriate lot of six weights earned $984 (estimate: $300/500).
Early 20th century furniture design, and in particular Monterey and Arts & Crafts examples, were in demand amongst Moran’s local buyers. A Stickley Associated Cabinetmakers oak bookcase earned just over the high end of the $3000 to $5000 estimate, bringing $5535. A wonderfully designed Monterey settle with hand-painted panels and branded maker’s mark was offered later in the sale, earning $2700 (estimate: $1500 to $2500).
Native American highlights included two remarkable baskets from a Glendale, AZ collection. The first basket to come up to the block, a large Apache basketry tray adorned with cactuses and standing figures wearing wide-brimmed hats was expected to bring $2000 to $3000, but ultimately ended up netting $4305 thanks to competitive telephone bidding. Directly following that lot, a rather rare Cahuilla Mission snake-motif basket, originally estimated at $1000 to $1500 shot to a $3690 selling price. A modern silver and turquoise belt buckle by Navajo silversmith Mark Chee was one of a number of Native American jewelry lots to achieve a strong selling price, going for $922 (estimate: $500/700).
Results for art pottery were mixed, but a select group of examples were highly sought by collectors, including a Newcomb College vase offered early in the session. Dating to 1921 and signed for decorator Anna Frances Simpson, the blue-hued matte-glaze vase found purchase among remote collectors bidding via telephone, earning $6150 (estimate: $6000 to $8000). Later, a Rookwood heron-motif vase signed for decorator Sara Sax dating to 1920 also stoked collector interest; the example realized $5842, over the estimated $3000 to $4000.
Additional highlights from Moran’s December 6th Decorative Art session include:
• A vintage pair of Levi’s 501xx jeans, dating to the 1940s and never worn, brought a stunning $3075 (estimate: $200/400).
• Four Sunset Trails/McCabe Silversmiths belt buckles opened the sale and achieved strong prices; one example featuring a steer’s head set with simulated ruby eyes was expected to earn $700/900, but bidding topped out at $1722.
• A large cold-painted bronze quail by Viennese artist Franz Bergman (1861-1936) earned a surprising $2160 price tag (estimate: $500/700).
Moran’s December 6th Decorative Art session followed a Fine Jewelry session, and preceded a special nine-lot Important Chinese Object session. Full auction catalogues for all three December 6th sales and lot price listings are available via John Moran’s website: www.JohnMoran.com.
Moran’s next auction is their fine art-specific January 24th Studio Auction. The catalog for that auction event will be available online via John Moran’s website as well as the Liveauctioneers and Auctionzip/Invaluable platforms in early January 2017.
Published: Tuesday, 20 December 2016 11:30