John Moran embraces California aesthetic with April 11 sale
LOS ANGELES — On Tuesday, April 11, beginning at 10 am Pacific time, John Moran Auctioneers will present California Living — an auction encompassing the California aesthetic through a range of important art, furniture and decorative items. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Highlighting the California Living auction is the estate of Oscar and Barbara Leidenfrost. Their sophisticated and diverse collection showcased California art and design, including works from Ed Ruscha, Vija Celmins, Richard Wyatt Jr., Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Longo, Adolph Gottlieb and Edward Kienholz. Alongside up and coming and blue-chip artists are a strong selection of design items such as a series of wood-turned vessels, African baskets, masks, and fertility dolls, Georg Jensen silver, and furniture by the most sought-after designers, among them George Nelson, Mario Bellini, Charles and Ray Eames, Richard Schultz, Florence Knoll, Le Corbusier and Jonathan de Pas. Proceeds of the Leidenfrost collection will benefit more than a dozen non-profit organizations and educational institutions.
Some of the most favored art works from the Leidenfrost estate are by Yayoi Kusama. The Japanese artist (b. 1929-) started painting as a child to cope with her hallucinations and family trauma. She moved to New York in 1958 to pursue her art career. Labeled as one of the most influential and popular artists in the world, Kusama developed a distinctive style utilizing approaches associated with Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Pop art, Feminist art and Institutional Critique. This auction will offer her works A Pumpkin yB-B from 2004, estimated at $40,000-$60,000, and A Pumpkin (RT), also from 2004, estimated at $20,000-$30,000.
Along with Kusama, a New York artist who has won worldwide acclaim is Robert Longo (b. 1953-). Longo is an American artist best known for his photorealistic drawings of jumping figures, sharks, tigers and guns. One of the lots presented in this sale is from his Men in the Cities series, Jules, Gretchen, Mark (State II), dating to 1983. Having an estimate of $15,000-$20,000, this work, along with the rest of the series, brought the artist critical acclaim in the early 1980s. This sale will also offer one of his cast aluminum reliefs, Swing, from 1979. It was featured at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art and part of the traveling exhibit for the artist. The sculpture has an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.
Equally worthy of mention is Edward Ruscha’s Boiling Blood, Fly, a 1969 artist proof outside of a small edition of 20, which is estimated at $8,000-$12,000. Moran’s is very familiar with Ruscha’s work, having achieved a world auction record for the artist in 2021 with his 1971 screen print, Made in California, which achieved $100,000. Ruscha (1937-1997) is an American artist associated with the Pop art movement and worked in various media including painting, printmaking, drawing, photography and film.
The Leidenfrosts were very fond of the artist Richard Wyatt Jr. (American, b. 1955-). He is a contemporary muralist best known for his public art in and around Los Angeles. Presented in this sale are three of his drawings, including a 1976 charcoal titled Bubblegum Problems, estimated at $5,000-$7,000. There will also be a portrait of Barbara Leidenfrost by the artist, estimated at $3,000-$5,000, and two 1976 works together titled Toes, with a $2,000-$3,000 estimate.
Representing international decorative items are a Putorino wind instrument and an Aboriginal Leangle wooden club. Coming from the American Broadcasting Company is a Maori Putorino wooden wind instrument. It is unique in that it functions both as a trumpet and as a flute and is the home of Hine Raukatatauri, the Maori goddess of flute music. Estimated at $8,000-$12,000, the bugle flute has a central grimacing mask carving featuring an oval aperture in the form of a mouth and inlaid paua (abalone) eyes. Another powerful aboriginal piece in the sale are a Leangle or Lil lyl club that comes from Southeast Australia and is traditionally used in combat along with a parrying shield. It is an indigenous boomerang-shaped implement with a pointed tip, terminating in a beehive-style grip and this example, estimated at $1,000-$1,500, is likely carved from Red River Gum or Pink box tree wood.
Other noteworthy pieces in the decorative art category are works by Edward Moulthrop and Lidya Buzio. Edward Moulthrop (1916-2003) was a self-taught woodturner and a major figure in the contemporary wood turning movement in America. This sale will include a figured Tulipwood spheroid by him, estimated at $5,000-$7,000.
The Uruguayan-born American ceramist Lidya Buzio created slab-built pots painted with scenes of city buildings. The dry appearance and soft colors of her illustrations evoke Italian Renaissance frescoes as well as her roots in Uruguay. Her 1984 piece Roofscape XIV will be offered with an estimate of $2,000-$3,000.
A selection of Mid-century furniture including Herman Miller, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and Richard Schultz Topiary chairs for Knoll, estimated at $1,200-$1,500, are among the iconic modern designs featured in this auction.
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