MONROVIA, Calif – The Studio Fine and Decorative Arts sale took place on May 18 and 19 and made for an exciting two days at John Moran Auctioneers. In the days leading up to the sale, the showroom walls were filled with paintings, and you could not walk more than a few feet without encountering impressive furniture or notable decorative art objects. Buyers were able to select from distinguished makers such as Tiffany Studios and Lalique, while fine art lovers had many prominent artists to choose from.
Art Nouveau is always a popular period among buyers. When it is combined with the provenance of the Alan Schneider Collection, the results increase exponentially. The spotlight was on a 17-light gilt-bronze chandelier from the first quarter of the 20th century. Covered in foliate bands and equipped with nine interior light sockets and eight exterior drop pendants, the chandelier outshined its $500-$700 estimate and sold for $3,125.
Decorative glass remains popular with buyers as proven by the competitive bidding over a Loetz Candia Phaenomen glass vase. The iridescent blue and yellow vessel was enhanced by a mesmerizing pulled festoon motif. It outpaced its $300-$500 estimate and sold for $2,812. The quest for decorative glass continued as fierce bidding focused on seven Tiffany-Style pulled feather art glass shades. All seven boasted green and gold iridescent colors, but each one represented a unique variation. The 20th century shades went to auction with a $400-$600 estimate but when all was said and done, sold at $7,500.
Good things come in pairs as with the pair of Chinese silver plates from the late 19th or early 20th century. Each plate had a figurative illustrated center depicting warriors and a chased floral border. The remarkably detailed scenes surely played a role in the plates exceeding their $300-$500 estimate and selling for $4,062. Another pair came in the form of Lalique art glass swans that appear to be gliding on a mirrored surface etched with wave lines to evoke a placid body of water. The frosted glass swans created a serene scene that caused clamorous bidding. The pair glided past the $1,000-$1,500 estimate and sold for $2,812.
Fine art had strong sell-through rates in both portraits and landscapes. Sara Kolb Danner (American, 1894-1969) was born on the east coast but spent the latter part of her life in Santa Barbara. Her painting Eucalyptus earned first place at the 1942 Women Painters of the West show. Estimated at $500-$700, it sold for $2,250. Mountain Landscape by Fitch Burt Fulton (American, 1879-1955) also did well. Fulton spent time in both San Francisco and Los Angeles working as a set designer. His depiction of majestic mountains in vibrant purples and blues soared past its $1,500-$2,500 estimate and sold for $5,312.
A nice array of modern two-dimensional works featured in the sale. Postmodern Abstract Cityscape dates from the mid-20th century. Its labored surface is textured and layered with an urban post-apocalyptic vibe. The mysterious painting with select vibrant pops of red sold beyond its $600-$900 estimate for $3,125.
Dennis Oppenheim (American, 1938-2011) realized his artistic concepts in the form of public art, performance art, sculpture, photography, and even earthworks. Study for Black Dog in a Cage was a diptych done in 1992 that later became a 22.5-ft sculpture made of wood, steel, plastic, plaster, and a sound system. Oppenheim’s study was estimated at $3,000-$4,000 and sold for $5,312.
American artist Mose Ernest Tolliver (1918, 1919, or 1920-2006) was born on the Fourth of July and spent the first part of his life working odd jobs to support his family. His love of the outdoors led him to his first artistic expression as a gardener and landscaper in Alabama in how he painted the grounds with his unique arrangement of flower beds. An injury at one of his jobs made it impossible for Tolliver to walk without crutches or canes, and his newfound immobility left him struggling with depression. After being encouraged by a friend, he began painting with house paint on any surface available to him. What began as a way to avoid boredom soon became a beloved daily activity for the self-taught artist. Watermelons, a series of five works, outdid its $600-$800 estimate and sold for $1,375.
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