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Edward Moran, 'New York Bay from the Battery,' estimated at $20,000-$40,000 at Clars.

The Meri Jaye maritime collection steams into Clars April 18

OAKLAND, Calif. — Meri Jaye (1920-2023) lived perhaps the most remarkable life of her generation, hitting 102 before her passing in San Francisco. She was born in Fort Worth, Texas and was raised with her siblings by her mother in San Antonio. There, she was blessed with a Catholic education in which the nuns encouraged her to follow her artistic ambitions. She served as a so-called ‘girl singer’ in numerous country and western bands in Texas before heading to Rome and elsewhere to complete her education in interior design.

In the 1960s, Meri Jaye was retained by the legendary CEO of American President Lines, Ralph K. Davies, to redesign its San Francisco corporate offices. So taken with her work was Davies that he retained Jaye’s firm to design interiors for its new line of what today are known as container ships. Each ship was named after a historic American president, which brought unique inspiration to each project. Her first ship design, The President Van Buren, launched in 1967 and featured crew compartments designed with elements from the Van Buren era (1837-1841), cementing her status as a legend herself in the maritime industry.

Clars Auction Gallery brings highlights from Meri Jaye’s lifetime collection to market with its Thursday, April 18 Maritime Sale. The complete catalog is available for bidding now at LiveAuctioneers.

The Meri Jaye collection features numerous maritime ship models, including a model of the stern of HMS Bellerophon. The lot is accompanied by a fragmentary letter stating the model was built in the 19th century by a sailor on duty on the Bellerophon in 1815. The Bellerophon was the ship Napoleon Bonaparte boarded to surrender to the ship’s captain, thereby ending 22 years of almost continuous war between Britain and France. The model is estimated at $2,500-$3,500.

Edward Moran (1829-1901) was born in England to a family of weavers that emigrated to the United States in 1844. Moran studied art in Philadelphia and in 1868 submitted a group of his maritime paintings for consideration at the Pennsylvania Academy. His works were accepted, but so unhappy was the artist with their placement that he defaced the works with an opaque wash, enraging the exhibition directors. This caused a sensation in the local news, prompting scores of Philadelphians to come see the controversy in person. New York Bay from the Battery is from 1871 and features Moran’s classic themes. It is estimated at $20,000-$40,000, making it the highest-estimated lot in the sale.