Skip to content
 Hopi Sikyatki Revival pottery Olla, $3,750 

Moran’s Art of the American West sale rides off with fine results

 Hopi Sikyatki Revival pottery Olla, $3,750 
Hopi Sikyatki Revival pottery Olla, $3,750

MONROVIA, Calif. – John Moran Auctioneers rounded out the fall with its third installment of Art of the American West on November 30. The sale was so robust that a second online-only session followed the main sale making a combined total of 401 lots. The auctions showcased a wide variety of fine art, textiles, pottery, basketry and jewelry with an impressive 92% sell-through rate.

Western fine art featured strongly. A trio of landscape sketches by James Swinnerton topped its high estimate to finish at $3,125. Although well-known in his time as an illustrator and cartoonist, extensive travels throughout the Southwest and California from 1907 after recovering from ill health set Jimmy on a new career path, painting numerous landscape views, often in a distinctive delicate blending of soft colors and lighting.

Three field sketches by James Swinnerton, $3,125 
Three field sketches by James Swinnerton, $3,125

Determined hunters were featured in two of the top sellers. Eanger Irving Couse’s The Turkey Hunter realized $62,500, and Olaf Carl Seltzer’s Grizzly Tracks $8,125. However, it was the vibrant whirlwind of color and movement that is Ted DeGrazia’s Navajo with 7 Horses that caused a stir and brought a new auction record for the artist, doubling the top estimate of $2,000 to conclude the round-up at $7,500. Born in 1909 in Arizona, DeGrazia was one of Arizona’s most well-known painters, illustrators, and graphic artists. He lived most of his life near Tucson, and worked in his studio which he called “The Gallery of the Sun.” Although he had spent time with Arizona tribes including the Pima, Papago, Apache, and Yaquis, in the late 1930s he traveled to the Navajo Reservation for the first time and was especially inspired not only by the seemingly empty land, but with life around the trading posts, and children herding their sheep. His most recognizable work is certainly Los Ninos, the Christmas card he designed as a commission from UNICEF in 1960, which sold more than five million boxes.

Ted DeGrazia, ‘Navajo with 7 horses,’ $7,500
Ted DeGrazia, ‘Navajo with 7 horses,’ $7,500

The colorful theme continued with a collection of polychrome Northwest Coast pieces, which ended up achieving an 100% sell-through rate. The varied mix included items such as a 19th-century carved cedar beaver grease bowl, and more recent masks such as a mid- to late 20th-century cedar moon mask and a Kwakiutl Raven mask by Alex Hunt, both selling well above their top estimates to finish at $1,750 each. The magnificent Sisutl or sea monster mask by Jimmy Joseph reached the highest price among all Northwest Coast pieces when it sold for $2,000. The large carved and brightly painted cedar mask depicts a typical double-headed serpent and a central horned figure.

Northwest Coast Sisutl mask by Jimmy Joseph, $2,000 
Northwest Coast Sisutl mask by Jimmy Joseph, $2,000

Moran’s offered choice historical pieces in this auction from several categories, including a Native American sinew-backed bow, painted with geometric motifs and dating from the late 19th century. Flying high alongside the bow were companion arrows which, together with the bow, found their mark at $5,250.

Northern California sinew-backed bow, $3,750 
Northern California sinew-backed bow, $3,750

Another historical ‘jewel’ was an early Navajo/Dine rolled silver ingot-back cuff bracelet with natural turquoise. It was most likely an example of post-Bosque Redondo silver work that ranged from the late 1860s into the early 1900s. The cuff finished at $7,500.

Navajo/Dine silver and turquoise cuff bracelet, $2,500 
Navajo/Dine silver and turquoise cuff bracelet, $2,500

Moran’s was especially pleased to present a collection of accessories by artist John Winston. His striking pieces provoked much interest, with all finding new homes. Of special note was a Native American portrait buckle, which cinched $3,125, as well as a plaque bolo, Shaman and Eagle, which sold for $2,812.

Another significant historical item on offer was a Hopi Sikyatki Revival Pottery olla from the late 19th or early 20th century. It achieved a final figure of $3,750. The olla is an exquisite example of the Sikyatki Revival style, which refers to an older, prehistoric style that features animals, birds and other patterns and designs of the natural world in black, red, and white on yellow-orange clay.

Navajo/Dine Germantown double saddle blanket, $5,625
Navajo/Dine Germantown double saddle blanket, $5,625

As always, the sale featured plenty of high-quality textiles to entice collectors, with loom works large and small. Leading the pack was an early classic 20th century Germantown double saddle blanket which realized $5,625. A Navajo regional rug also piqued collector interest at $3,750, and a Navajo Two Grey Hills storm pattern rug with its unusual border of stylized birds flew through its top estimate to land at $2,125.

Functional covered wagon miniature model by Dale Ford, $6,875
Functional covered wagon miniature model by Dale Ford, $6,875

Many of the wooden and mixed media pieces fared well, including a Dale Ford miniature covered wagon. The functional model rolled away to a new home for an impressive $6,875. Ford, from Redding, California, has been a full-time western artist and sculptor since 1965. He has created at least 80 different miniature horse-drawn vehicles from the 1800s, each hand made with great detail of hardwood, steel and leather.

Two Will Evans painted picture frames from Shiprock Trading Post, $1,750 
Two Will Evans painted picture frames from Shiprock Trading Post, $1,750

Yet another wooden piece that did well was painted Will Evans furniture from Shiprock Trading Post. The Depression-era furnishings brought color to the sale and sold well over their top estimates. His painted table and chairs set an auction record at $2,125, and most notably, his painted picture frames doubled their top estimate to sell for $1,750.

James P. Regimbal, ‘Rocky Trails,’ $5,625
James P. Regimbal, ‘Rocky Trails,’ $5,625

A bronze by James P. Regimbal, Rocky Trail, climbed well past its top estimate of $1,200 to reach a peak of $5,625. Other top performers included a colorful Navajo pictorial rug with bird motifs, which sold for $1,000, and a late 20th century silver Squash Blossom necklace that achieved $875.

[av_button label=’Click to view the auction catalog complete with prices realized’ icon_select=’no’ icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’ link=’manually,https://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/226034_art-of-the-american-west/?keyword=&page=1′ link_target=’_blank’ size=’small’ position=’center’ label_display=” title_attr=” color_options=” color=’theme-color’ custom_bg=’#444444′ custom_font=’#ffffff’ btn_color_bg=’theme-color’ btn_custom_bg=’#444444′ btn_color_bg_hover=’theme-color-highlight’ btn_custom_bg_hover=’#444444′ btn_color_font=’theme-color’ btn_custom_font=’#ffffff’ id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-8m5qfgu’ admin_preview_bg=”]

 

View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/