MONROVIA, Calif. – The Tuesday, November 21 sale of Modern and Contemporary Fine Art at John Moran Auctioneers is led by a late work in bronze by Peter Voulkos (1924-2002). The monumental 4ft 2in cast titled Alegria was created by the groundbreaking ceramicist alongside Piero Mussi, the owner of Artworks foundry, in 2000.
Voulkos first began working with Mussi in 1986, selecting some of his late ceramic forms – the so-called “stacks” of hand-thrown clay forms – to be cast in bronze. Alegria was made first in stoneware, fired and then used to create a mold for lost-wax casting. A total of six casts were made: an edition of five plus this piece, the artist’s proof. Acquired by the owners from the Frank Lloyd Gallery in Santa Monica in 2001, it is now estimated at $60,000-$80,000.
The 199-lot sale includes two bronzes by Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003) – both the sort of angular figure sculptures that dominated his oeuvre from the 1960s-80s, which he called “Presences” or “Watchers.” Some were made as monumental public sculpture (his first steel sculpture, Two Winged Figures, appeared at an outdoor show in 1962) but others were cast in bronze reductions in small editions.
The larger of these two figures, at 12in high, is Maquette II Walking Woman from 1983, estimated at $45,000-$55,000; with the 9in high Maquette IX Walking Woman in Wind, dating to 1986, is estimated at $25,000-$35,000. Both signed with the edition number 3/7, they were bought together from the Erica Meyerovich Gallery in San Francisco on Christmas Eve in 1987.
Like both Voulkos and Chadwick, the French modernist André Lhote (1885-1962) painted, studied, and wrote until his death on January 24, 1962. Many of his works adhered to Cubist theory, including the colorful 1959 oil on canvas La fenetre a meneaux, depicting an abstracted landscape scene seen through a mullioned window. The picture was first sold in 1961 as part of Lhote’s one-man show at the Paris dealership Maison de la Pensee Francaise and has labels for the Hammer Galleries, New York and the Pomeroy Gallery (later Hoover Gallery), where it was acquired by the owner in 1979. It is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.