Chinese porcelain, Calif. paintings bring top dollar at Moran’s

This large Chinese porcelain fish bowl with blue and brown foliate and shell designs on a white ground was assigned a conservative $400-$600 auction estimate. The winning bidder purchased the handsome 19th-century bowl through LiveAuctioneers for $28,125. John Moran Auctioneers image


MONROVIA, Calif. – A 19th-century Chinese porcelain fish bowl, notable because of its particularly large size, sold at John Moran Auctioneers’ Studio Decorative Art Auction on Aug. 8 for $28,125 to a LiveAuctioneers bidder. It had been assigned a very conservative $400 to $600 presale estimate.

The two-session auction was composed of nearly 550 auction lots across both decorative and fine arts categories, and Moran’s realized a solid 80 percent sell-through rate by the night’s end. All prices noted include the buyer’s premium.

The Studio Decorative Art auction saw decorative smalls such as bronzes, silver and glass as well as Chinese objects in particular bringing strong prices throughout the day, while the Studio Fine Art sale proved popular with collectors of modern, contemporary and Western works of art.

A diminutive Chinese silver centerpiece bowl with dragon-form handles was offered with a $400 to $600 estimate (below). Buyers were obviously taken with the bowl’s exquisite detailing and well-carved lobed hardwood base, as the lot realized $3,300.


This nicely finished diminutive Chinese silver reticulated bowl with dragon-form handles brought $3,300. John Moran Auctioneers image


While demand for Continental furniture appears to be waning in favor of more modern and contemporary styles, select furniture lots brought out the buyers. A fine pair of French mustache-back club chairs, which were offered with a $1,000 to $1,500 estimate, sold for $4,200.


These early 20th-century French leather armchairs surpassed their $1,000-$1,500 estimate, bringing $4,200. John Moran Auctioneers image


The top lot from Moran’s Studio Fine Art session was another unexpected gem. Chang Reynolds’ (c. 1914-1987 Pasadena) oil painting of a line of elephants recently disembarked from the Ringling Brothers circus train prompted a bout between a telephone bidder and collectors bidding from the floor. Ultimately, a floor bidder cast the winning bid, paying $6,000 for the painting (estimate: $1,000 to $1,500).


Consigned from a private Altadena, Calif., collection, this work by Pasadena artist Chang Reynolds (c. 1914-1987) depicting Ringling Brothers circus elephants sold for $6,000. John Moran Auctioneers image


The second and third-highest grossing works in the Studio Fine Art studio session were also by 20th-century American painters. The session opened with a work by Hans Zimmer (1910-1996 Los Angeles), which offers an intriguing view of a steam locomotive in a factory yard. Estimated to earn $2,000 to $3,000, competitive telephone bidding pushed the selling price up to $4,200 (below). Later in the sale, New York artist Richard Bunkall’s oil painting of a man sitting at an outdoor restaurant counter achieved $4,500, well over the $1,000 to $1,500 estimate.


The first lot of Moran’s Studio Fine Art auction session, Hans Zimmer’s (1910-1996 Los Angeles) untitled oil painting of a steam locomotive in a factory yard quickly found a buyer for $4,200. John Moran Auctioneers image


Western-genre works by Marjorie Reed (1915-1996 Vallecito, CA) also drummed up interest among telephone and floor bidders. Two relatively small works by the artist made their way to the block early at Moran’s August 8th Studio Fine Art sale. The first, titled In Old Tucson, is a nocturnal view of riders on horseback on a downtown dirt lane, and brought $1,560 at the block (estimate: $700 to $900). The second, an untitled oil painting of a stagecoach moving through a pink and purple-tinged desert landscape, brought $1,680 (estimate: $500 to $700).

A painting by Pasadena-based artist Peter Adams (b. 1950), Diana of the Hunt; Virginia Steele Scott Gallery, was a crowd favorite, but in the end was secured by a determined telephone bidder who paid $2,700 for the piece (estimate: $300 to $500).


‘Diana of the Hunt; Virginia Steele Scott Gallery’ by Pasadena, Calif., artist Peter Adams (b. 1950) brought $2,700. John Moran Auctioneers image


For questions about consignment to any upcoming Studio sale or any of Moran’s other upcoming auction events, contact John Moran Auctioneers directly via telephone: 626-793-1833 or email: