Marine, harbor scenes anchor Moran’s American art auction April 9


Phil Latimer Dike (Claremont, Calif., 1906-1990), harbor scene with figures and tug boat, watercolor, gouache and oil on paper. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Moran’s image

MONROVIA, Calif. – Moran’s has a crop of substantial works for their California & American Fine Art auction on Tuesday, April 9. The diverse group of artists working from the California coast to New York harbors will liven the spring auction season. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

Standouts from Southern California artists are to be seen throughout the sale. A Phil Latimer Dike harbor scene completed in the artist’s imitable modernist style typical in his post-Disney days depicts a moonlit harbor brimming with sailboats saturated in shades of blue. The moody work is a strong effort for the artist and is estimated to sell between $10,000 and $15,000 (above).

 Playing Marbles, Ojai, a homey painting from Charles Keck, also features in the auction. A student of Phil Latimer Dike, the work draws the eye to the titular marble players enjoying a warm afternoon while a squared house rests comfortably in the typically California landscape. The work will head to the block with a $3,000-$4,000 estimate (below).


Charles Keck (Los Angeles, Calif., 1913-2003), ‘Playing Marbles, Ojai,’ mixed media on paper. Estimate: $3,000-$4,000. Moran’s image

The serenity of nature was an important draw for many artists who made their homes in California. A mountain stream scene from Los Angeles-area painter Jack Wilkinson Smith imbues the love Smith had for the Sierra Nevadas. Estimated to sell between $6,000-$8,000, the soft, warm grays and muted greens capture the colors typical in the Sierras in spring (below).


Jack Wilkinson Smith (Alhambra, Calif., 1873-1949), ‘Mountain Stream,’ oil on canvas. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000. Moran’s image

An Orrin White painting titled Hills & Eucalyptus captures a more bucolic side of California. Introduced in the 1850s by Australian 49ers, the eucalyptus became an indelible sight up and down California typically as windbreaks for farms. The young trees of this painting with their white trunks and golden leaves jut up from the soft hills of the foreground to contrast with the green mountain rising in the background. The work is estimated to sell between $4,000 and $6,000 at the block. A watercolor from celebrated artist Marion Kavanagh Wachtel joins the slate of California scenes with a mountain landscape. The dark green oaks dominate the foreground and provide a respite for the formidable craggy peaks crisscrossing in the distance. The watercolor is expected to sell between $7,000 and $9,000.

Moran’s will offer two paintings from Canadian/American artist Jack Lorimer Gray in their April auction. The first, West Side Docks, completed after the artist moved from the rocky coasts of Nova Scotia to the concrete sidewalks of New York, displays the artist’s lifelong love for ships and the sea. Completed during a time when the artist was working extensively at the New York Harbor, the painting shows an unusual depth with layered action throughout from the dock workers hard at work on an anchored steamship in the fore and mid-ground to a hint of the Manhattan skyline in the distance. With an estimate of $10,000-$15,000, the work is sure to appeal to a variety of collectors.


Jack Lorimer Gray (Halifax, Nova Scotia/New York, N.Y., 1927-1981), ‘West Side Docks,’ New York Harbor, oil on canvas. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Moran’s image

On Roseway Bank completed in 1961 after Gray moved to Maine provides contrast to the busy dock scene in West Side Docks. Depicting a lone man rowing a boat against a choppy sea, it shows the skillful brushwork the artist is so prized for. The work is expected to bring between $12,000 and $18,000.

Scenes of home and domestic life pepper the offerings in the April auction. A work from Van Briggle Pottery founder Artus Van Briggle shows his artistic skill lied beyond pottery. Possibly completed while he was studying at the Académie Julian in Paris, the shady Garden Path is brimming with beautifully delicate flowers nestled adjacent to a shaded house. The rare painting from Van Briggle will come to the block with a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.


Artus Van Briggle (Colorado Springs, Co., 1869-1904) ‘The Garden Path,’ oil on canvas. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Moran’s image

A still life from Los Angeles artist Mabel Alvarez from the artist’s estate displays her unique modernist vision to the traditional still life. The table overflows with pitchers, eyeglasses, and brushes obscuring the canvas beyond. Completed in Alvarez’s prized bright colors, the work bears an estimate of $3,000-$5,000.