Moran Auctioneers earns solid prices for California art

California art

Ben Abril (1923-1995 Los Angeles, Calif.), est.: $600-$900; price realized: $1,680. John Moran Auctioneers image

MONROVIA, Calif. – John Moran Auctioneers’ Studio Fine Art Auction on March 12 realized strong prices. With approachable price points under $3,000, the Studio Auctions have proved to be popular with budget-minded collectors looking for quality. Moran’s is expected to keep the momentum going with strong selections coming up throughout the year as Studio Fine Art events are also planned for May and August. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

California has once again proven a winning subject at auction. The first lot in the sale, a lively Ben Abril (1923-1995, Los Angeles) oil on canvas of Santa Monica pier sold to a floor bidder for $1,680 (above). All prices realized include Moran’s buyer’s premium. A stunning Curtis Chamberlin (1852-1925 Laguna Beach, Calif.) oil on board of Crescent Bay painted in the bright afternoon light quickly outstripped its $300-500 estimate, selling for $1,680 at the block.

American and European artists gave the California artists a bit of competition at the auction, with several works inspiring strong bidding. An atmospheric coastal scene by artist Arthur Parton NA (1842-1914, New York, N.Y.) sold for $1,680 (est.: $800-$1,200). Texas folk artist Darlene Jellerson’s (1927-2002, San Antonio) A Winter Day, depicting figures in a snow-covered town, skated to a cool $1,560 (est. $400-$600). A lively Parisian market scene by artist Marko Stupar (b. 1936, French) was one of the more popular lots leading into the auction, selling for $1,125 (below).

California art

Marko Stupar (b. 1936, French), ‘Marche Mouffetard’ (Market Mouffetard, oil on Masonite, est.: $400-$600; price realized: $1,125. John Moran Auctioneers image

The quality of the works on offer from women artists was not lost on the audience, with works by women artists earning the highest prices of the day. A stunning portrait titled Girl in Black from New York artist Constance Curtis (1869 – 1959, New York, N.Y.) was one of the most popular lots on view in the days leading up to the auction. The subject’s warm beauty inspired heated bidding between phone and Internet bidders, with a phone bidder ultimately taking the painting home for $6,000 (est. $400-$600)

California art

Constance Curtis (1869-1959 New York, N.Y.) ‘Girl in Black,’ oil on canvas, est.: $400-$600; price realized: $6,000. John Moran Auctioneers image

The auction’s top-lot status belonged to Anna A. Hills’ (1882-1930, Laguna Beach, Calif.) The Pink Cloud-Laguna Coast. Painted in 1918 in the artist’s imitable Impressionist style, the oil on canvas board went to the block with a full phone bank and heavy audience bidding, with one persistent floor bidder proving successful in winning the painting for $11,400 (below). The good showing by these and other female artists in the sale is fitting for Women’s History Month.

California art

Anna A. Hills (1882-1930 Laguna Beach, Calif.), ‘The Pink Cloud – Laguna Coast,’ oil on canvasboard, est.: $2,500-$3,500; price realized: $11,400. John Moran Auctioneers image

Over the past several months, Moran’s has been fortunate to include several works by noted watercolorists Yervand Nahapetian (1916-2006, Armenian) and Albert Thomas De Rome (1885-1959, Carmel Calif.). Nahapetian’s masterful watercolor of a mosque exterior with pigeons, rendered in stunning detail, soon exceeded its $1,200-$1,800 estimate, selling for $1,920. The several works by De Rome sold within their estimates, including a dramatic Southwest scene titled The Rooster, Monument Valley, which hammered for $420 (below).

California art

Albert Thomas De Rome (1885-1959, Carmel, Calif.), watercolor on paper, est.: $300-$500; price realized: $420. John Moran Auctioneers image

For details contact John Moran Auctioneers at or 626-793-1833.