California landscapes in demand at Moran Auctioneers

California landscapes

The expansively titled ‘Grand Central Public Market on Hill Street Between 3rd and 4th Street, Los Angeles, California, From Bunker Hill – Circa 1939’ by Ben Abril set a new record for the artist when it sold for $27,000. John Moran Auctioneers image

MONROVIA, Calif. – John Moran Auctioneers’ October California & American Fine Art Auction was weighty with big names in American art such as Guy Rose, Ben Abril, Edgar Payne, Maynard Dixon, Phil Dike, which brought collectors out in droves. Absentee and Internet bidding for the Oct. 24 event was available through LiveAuctioneers.

Highlights from the sale included a record-breaking work by Ben Abril (1923–1995, California) which offers a sweeping view of Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles circa 1939 and a watercolor depicting a California coastal ranch by Emil J. Kosa Jr. (1903–1968, California) which more than quadrupled the high estimate.

The record-breaking painting was a large-scale work constructed from two conjoined canvases measuring 8 feet wide. Titled, Grand Central Public Market on Hill Street Between 3rd and 4th Street, Los Angeles, California, From Bunker Hill – Circa 1939, Abril’s oil painting (above) was accompanied by a mounted pair of reference photographs the artist used for his composition. Consigned from a private La Canada, California collection, the stunning work sold for $27,000 (including Moran’s 20 percent buyer’s premium), well over the $8,000-$12,000 estimate.

Early in the sale, a pair of watercolor paintings by Emil Kosa Jr. stirred up excitement among telephone, absentee and attendee bidders. The first of a number of lots to head to the block by the artist proved especially desirable – depicting figures on a California coastal ranch, the watercolor was hard-won by a telephone bidder who paid $27,000 (est. $4,000-$6,000).

California landscapes

Emil Kosa Jr.’s watercolor of a California Coastal ranch pulled at the heartstrings of California collectors, bringing a stunning $27,000 (est. $4,000-$6,000). John Moran Auctioneers image

Shortly thereafter another work by Kosa – this piece also depicting ranchlands with a horse and rider – opened with multiple absentee bids, ultimately selling for $6,600.

One crowd favorite was Brailing, a dynamic oil painting of fishermen on a boat catching salmon from a trap by Seattle artist Eustace Paul Ziegler (1881–1969). The work was expected to bring between $4,000 and $6,000, however, telephone and online bidders drove the price to $8,400.

California landscapes

Eustace Paul Ziegler’s ‘Brailing’ is a vital scene of fishermen at work. The piece achieved an $8,400 selling price, well over the $4,000-$6,000 estimate. John Moran Auctioneers image

A sunlit impressionist coastal landscape featuring a pier and a dry-docked boat by San Diego, California, artist Charles Reiffel (1862–1942) offered a more tranquil counterpoint to the Ziegler and was quickly scooped up by a floor bidder for a $22,800 (estimate: $20,000 to $30,000).

Select landscapes by A-list California artists were highly sought-after, including Maynard Dixon’s (1875-1946, San Francisco) diminutive work Inyo Mountains – Evening, which earned the high estimate of $30,000. Edgar Alwin Payne (1883-1947, Hollywood, Calif.) was represented in the catalog by Glacier, an impressionist mountain landscape depicting Palisade Glacier in Big Pine. The work evidently struck a chord with bidders, selling for $36,000 (estimate: $30,000-$40,000).

California landscapes

Depicting Palisade Glacier in Big Pine, Edgar Alwin Payne’s ‘Glacier’ sold within the estimate at $36,000. John Moran Auctioneers image

Offering a brighter, warmer palette, Maurice Braun’s (1887-1941, San Diego) Autumn Glow was expected to earn between $30,000 and $50,000; the idyllic landscape brought $36,000.

Local Southern California buyers were particularly interested in bidding on Sierra Mountain landscapes. A deeply saturated Eastern Sierra nocturnal depicting Lake Mary and Crystal Crag by  Theodore Lukits (1897–1992, Los Angeles) titled Solitude offered a view of the lake bathed in moonlight; the work brought $3,300 at the block (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

California landscapes

‘Solitude’ by Theodore Lukits effectively conveys the tranquility of a beautiful vista bathed in moonlight. The work found a buyer for $3,300 (est. $3,000-$5,000). John Moran Auctioneers image

A realistically rendered rocky coastal landscape by Peter Ellenshaw (1913–2007, Santa Barbara, Calif.) featuring the artist’s signature sparkling waves was expected to earn $7,000-$9,000 and found a buyer for $12,000.

California landscapes

Peter Ellenshaw’s sparkling seascape achieved $12,000 at Moran’s October auction, just over the estimate. John Moran Auctioneers image

For more information regarding this or any upcoming auction, contact John Moran Auctioneers via email: or telephone 626-793-1833.