MONROVIA, Calif. – The John Moran auction block is still hot from the sale of the Chaffey College Apple-1 computer during the Postwar & Contemporary Art + Design auction that took place Tuesday, November 9. Several media news channels covered the piece of technological history that ultimately sold for $500,000.
The vintage computer came to the auction house in excellent condition, featured many period-correct and original parts, and was in true working order. The Koa wood case that houses the Chaffey College Apple-1 is only one of six known examples in existence. The computer was originally purchased by an electronics professor who then sold it to his student a year later in order to get a newer version. The former student recalls the event: “I purchased this used from the original owner in 1977. He was a teacher at Chaffey College, and I was taking his programming course. He was excited to buy the Apple-II and sold me this for about $650. Of course, nobody knew it would become a collector’s item…”
The Chaffey College Apple-1 was not the only item to reach six figures. A stunning painting by artist Ariana Papdemetropoulos (American, b. 1990-) flew past its $12,000-$18,000 estimate to sell for $162,500. Archaic Revival is comprised of two interiors that appear to be existing simultaneously in two different dimensions. A rip seemingly made in the fabric of time creates a portal that segues from a sweet pastel interior to reveal a domestic space much more saturated in color.
Market darling Alexander Calder (1898-1976, American) also used a saturated red-orange hue repeatedly in his work. There were three color lithographs by Calder on offer, each utilizing his signature red and each and selling beyond their $1,000-2,000 estimates. Composition aux cercles did the best out of three works on paper when it sold for eight times its estimate at $8,125.
Circles turned out to be a very popular shape that day, as evident in the sale of the massive industrial white circular sculpture by German artist Yngve Holen (b. 1982-). The title of the piece, It’s Your Prada Dress and You Have a Little…U Always Look at it. Shit, That’s my Prada Dress. So I Fix That is an actual phrase originating from an interview series the artist conducted for the second installation of a magazine that he produced featuring plastic surgeons and porn professionals. The sculpture delighted our postwar art enthusiasts and almost doubled its low estimate when it sold for $22,500.
African American ceramicist Doyle Lane (1925-2002) was born in New Orleans but spent the majority of his life in Los Angeles where he became a staple in the Black arts community. Underrecognized despite his prolific body of work, Doyle produced ceramics that ranged in size from handheld vessels to large tile murals. His weed pots (named for their small opening just wide enough for a single-stem wildflower) vary in size, texture, and pattern. The sale boasted two Doyle weed pots and each more than exceeded their estimates. A brown weed pot, estimated at $500-$700, sold for $6,250, and a blue weed pot, estimated at $800-$1,200, rose to an impressive selling price of $15,000.
Several furniture lots performed well. The Hans Jorgensen Wegner Papa Bear chair and ottoman was an especially hot commodity, doubling its estimate and selling for $12,500. A 1964 Joaquim Tenreiro modern jacaranda wood desk was also popular with buyers. The Brazilian wood desk with two drawers flanked by a step-down writing surface also doubled its estimate and sold for $8,750.
Finally, a stately screenprint by legendary color field artist Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011, American) graced the auction block. West Wind, created in 1997, demonstrated the painter’s signature wash and impeccable composition and sold well beyond its estimate at $27,500.
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