LOS ANGELES — On April 11, John Moran Auctioneers presented California Living, a 382-lot sale that encompassed the California aesthetic through a diverse selection of important art and design. Highlighting the sale was the estate of Oscar and Barbara Leidenfrost, whose collection evolved across decades into an example of sophisticated California elegance. The sale included postmodern and contemporary works from Ed Ruscha, Vija Celmins, Yayoi Kusama and Robert Longo, along with turned wood vessels by Edward and Philip Moulthorp, an array of Chinese Yixing ceramic wares, Georg Jensen silver, and furnishings by Ray and Charles Eames, Richard Schultz and George Nelson.
Some of the most anticipated art works from the Leidenfrost estate were by the Japanese Pop artist Yayoi Kusama. The first on the block was A Pumpkin YB-B from 2004, having a black background with a yellow pumpkin created in her famous dot pattern. It had an estimate of $40,000-$60,000 and sold for $56,250. Another 2004 Kusama work, A Pumpkin (RT), also went for $56,250, surpassing its $20,000-$30,000 estimate.
Musicians and guitar enthusiasts showed major interest in a 1958 Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. This instrument, assigned an estimate of $8,000-$12,000, had a painted solid ash body and bolt-on maple neck, and came with its original tweed and leather handled case. The guitar more than doubled its estimate, bringing in $32,500.
Painted Memories 2, a 2008 piece by the contemporary artist Eduardo Sarabia, was offered with an estimate of $2,000-$4,000. Collectors took notice of this colorful work, which conveys the artist’s interest in Mexican folklore and contemporary culture. It ultimately reached $18,750.
One of the biggest surprises in the category of fine art was a 1993 work by the American Chicana artist Patssi Valdez. Titled Red Rain, it had a modest estimate of $500-$700, but after an exciting bidding war it sold for $18,750 — achieving a world auction record for the artist.
There were some noteworthy results for sculptures, such as a patinated bronze abstract figure credited to the 20th century American School. It more than quadrupled its $800-$1,200 estimate, selling for $5,625. Richard MacDonald was represented in the lineup by the 2012 sculpture Nightfall. Estimated at $1,500-$2,500, this silvered bronze sculpture went for $4,688. Another standout was an Indian Chola-Style Saint Sambandar bronze sculpture, estimated at $500-$700. The 19th-century (or earlier) lost-wax cast bronze sculpture likely depicts one of the Tamil Shaiva Bhakti saints, Saint Sambandar, as a youth. Due to major interest, the bidding quadrupled the estimate and reached $3,000.
The collection from the Leidenfrost estate provided a fantastic selection of furniture. The Leidenfrosts enjoyed Mario Bellini pieces in their Los Angeles home, and lot 91 was a favorite among collectors. The eight red leather Cassina Cab no. 413 chairs had a collective estimate of $3,000-$5,000 but earned $15,000.
Also, a stylish circa 1980s-90s Art Deco revival credenza, estimated at $600-$800, brought a surprising $5,850. It boasted bird’s eye maple veneer and curved, streamlined ends.
Completing the sale highlights was a set of four topiary lounge chairs with an ottoman from Richard Schultz. The five pieces, together estimated at $1,200-$1,500, were designed in 1988 with folded aluminum sheet and green powder coating. A bidder seeking to create a fabulous patio ahead of summer secured the set with a winning bid of $6,500.
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