Fine art, fantastic fossils featured in I.M. Chait auction July 30

I.M. Chait

Oil on canvas painting by Le Pho (Vietnamese, 1907-2001), 25 1/2 in. x 39 3/4 in. Estimate: $25,000-$30,000. I.M. Chait Gallery / Auctioneers


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – I.M. Chait Gallery / Auctioneers will conduct a special two-session auction on Sunday, July 30. The first session, devoted to international fine arts, will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific time. The second session, classified as natural history, will begin at 1 p.m. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

An outstanding oil on canvas painting by Le Pho (Vietnamese, 1907-2001) is featured in the international fine art auction. It depicts a wide spray of multicolored flowers, arranged in a blue and white porcelain vase, partially obscuring a woman in the background. The painting (above), which measures approximately 25 1/2 by 39 3/4 inches, is signed in English and Chinese.

Another highlight of the opening session is a rare Chinese Qianlong period porcelain bowl, 8 1/4 inches in diameter, with finely enameled peony branches on an incised ground of scrolling fern tendrils.


I.M. Chait

Rare Chinese Qianlong Period porcelain bowl, seal mark to base, 8 1/4 in. diameter. Estimate: $4,500-$6,500. I.M. Chait Gallery / Auctioneers


The prehistoric tar pit that claimed the life of a giant dire wolf more than 60,000 years ago also preserved its 12-inch-long skull, which is the star attraction of the natural history auction. No dire wolf skull of this size or caliber exists in a private collection. George Lee, a famous fossil collector from Costa Mesa, California, collected this specimen in the early 1970s. From the Rancho La Brea Formation in Kern County, California, this massive skull is an excellent quality example with outstanding natural coloration. The lowers and uppers are from the same individual and no compositing has taken place, however, approximately 30 percent of the bone surface area was missing primarily in the braincase and zygomatic arches and has been expertly, professionally restored, as noted in the auction catalog.


I.M. Chait

Rare dire wolf skull. Estimate: $50,000-$60,000. I.M. Chait Gallery / Auctioneers


Also featured in the natural history auction is a huge fossil palm mural extracted from the Green River Formation in Lincoln County, Wyoming. The massive palm fronds of the Green River formation are notoriously difficult both to find and to extract, but they make for an incredibly striking wall plaque which perfectly conjures the aura of this 50 million year old tropical lake system.


I.M. Chait

Superb fossil palm mural, Green River Formation, Lincoln Co, Wyoming, 49 in x 97 in. $55,000-$65,000. I.M. Chait Gallery / Auctioneers


For information on any item offered in the auction, contact Josh Chait, telephone 310-285-0182, or email