John Moran posts strong prices for California scenes, photography
MONROVIA, Calif. – John Moran Auctioneers’ Studio Art Auction on Sept. 24 featured a diverse group of artworks by primarily American artists offered with relatively approachable price points. As a result, bidder activity among private collectors bidding online was strong, with a number of lots exceeding expectations at the block. Results overall were mixed but respectable, with the highest prices realized going to quintessential California impressionist scenes and Contemporary surrealist photography.
Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.com.
For the past few years, Moran’s has done well with consignments of Western works of art. A small group of Western-genre artworks were brought to the block at Moran’s September Studio Auction, including a spirited small-scale impressionist scene depicting a man wrestling a steer by Vallecito, Calif., artist Marjorie Reed (1915-1996). Estimated to bring $700 to $900, the work brought $1,080 after competition between telephone and online bidders. A charming oil portrait aptly titled Burros by artist Ken Backhaus (b. 1951) was offered with an $800-$1,200 estimate, and also sold online for a respectable $1,680.
Landscapes depicting California subjects are invariably popular with Moran’s bidders, and a number of California-centric works exceeded. A diminutive gold-toned impressionist landscape depicting California oak trees astride a hilltop road by Los Angeles-based artist Mian Situ (b. 1953) just exceeded its estimate, earning $1,037 (estimate: $600-$800). Alfred James Dewey (1874-1958), a Sierra Madre, Calif.-based painter, wooed local San Gabriel Valley collectors with his painting of 527 Woodland Drive in Sierra Madre Canyon titled Canyon Store (above). Brought to the block with a $1,000-$1,500 estimate, Canyon Store realized $2,440. Peter Ellenshaw’s (1913-2007, Santa Barbara, Calif.) oil painting of a shimmering coastal sunset titled Channel Islands was pursued by online and floor bidders, who drove the price to $3,050 (estimate: $1,500-$2,500).
A handful of European and Japanese works of art were included in the catalog, and did well with online bidders. Antal Berkes (1874-1938 Hungarian) was represented in the catalog by a nocturnal scene of horse-driven carts awaiting their finely dressed passengers. The scene brought $2,196, just within the $2,000-$3,000 estimate. A dynamic painting by Polish painter Wladyslaw T. Chmielinski (1911-1979) titled Winter Landscape was brought to the block (below). Depicting a bearded man driving a troika down a snowy street, the painting earned $1,708 (estimate: $600-$900). Consigned from a private Pasadena collection, Henry John Kinnaird’s (1861-1929, English) The Thames Near Pangbourne proved charming to overseas collectors, earning $1,342 after a bidding war between online buyers (estimate: $700-$900).
Select photographic works also did well at Moran’s Studio Auction. Two works featuring Native American subjects from a private Ventura, Calif., collection did particularly well. The first, a photogravure portrait of a young woman by Carl (Karl) Moon (1879-1948 San Francisco) titled Loti-kee-yah-tede, The Chief’s Daughter earned a price squarely within estimate, bringing $488 (estimate: $300-$500). The second, titled First-Kill, a platinum print portrait of a young man (below) by photographer Gertrude Stanton Kasebier (1852-1934, New York, N.Y.), realized $1,342, well over the $300-$500 estimate.
On the more contemporary end of the spectrum, a number of lots of surrealist tableaux-vivant photographs by Steven F. Arnold (1943-1994 Los Angeles), a protégé of Salvador Dalí, achieved solid prices within or above estimate throughout the evening. Collectors competed on the floor, via phone and online for the lots, which comprised black and white gelatin prints of Arnold’s complex figural scenes, which were consigned from a private collection. The most appealing lot turned out to be a group of surrealist figural works (below), which included the scenes Marie Sez Let Em Eat Cake, Dressed for Dali and The Advantages of Modern Marriage among others. The group lot brought $3,355, going to a private collector bidding online (estimate: $500-$700).
For details contact Moran Auctioneers by phone at 626-793-1833 or email email@example.com.
Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.