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Highlights from Moranís October 2014 Fine Art Auction Herald an Exciting and Eclectic Offering PDF Print
Friday, 11 July 2014

Pasadena, CA—John Moran Auctioneers is poised to present the autumn installment of their semiannual Fine Art Auction, scheduled for Tuesday, October 21, 2014.</br></br><hr id="system-readmore" />Thanks to Moran’s long string of successes in this collecting category, the Southern California house was deluged early on in the calendar year with high quality consignments, filling the sale to capacity well ahead of schedule. Covering a wide range of price points and appealing to a variety of tastes, Moran’s October catalogue overflows with 250 works in all, including paintings by local luminaries such as Guy Rose, John Frost, Maurice Braun, Marion Kavanagh Wachtel, Hanson Puthuff, Arthur Mathews and many more, and an eclectic selection of works by other American greats such as Norman Rockwell, Dr. Seuss, and Leroy Neiman.</br></br> 

Leading Moran’s sale are two oils by pre-eminent California Impressionist Guy Rose (1867 – 1925). “Shifting Shadows” is a Giverny, France landscape showing barely a patch of sky. Rather, sunlight filters down through a dense canopy of jade-green leaves, bathing the rich underbrush and dirt path below in pools of dappled light. Drawing the viewer in with a limited palette, the enclosed vista, and the repeating pattern of rows of tree trunks with up-stretched limbs receding into the hazy distance, Rose creates a tranquil, thoughtful space rendered in loose, textured brushwork. This work is estimated to earn $300,000 - $500,000.</br></br> 

The other oil by Rose, hailing from the same local private collection, is a contrastingly open scene, set in or near the coastal village of Wickford, Rhode Island, where the artist and his wife, Ethel, spent part of their time after their return from France in late 1912, and where Rose taught outdoor sketching classes in the summers of 1913 and 1914. Boats and a boathouse casually occupy the middle distance of a broad patch of shadowed ground beneath a sky filled with pale, high clouds, suggesting the sultry atmosphere of high summer. The painting is offered with an estimate of $70,000 – 90,000.</br></br> 

For those looking for a historically important work with a classical flavor, a gorgeous gouache-on-paper by San Francisco artist Arthur F. Mathews (1860 – 1945) is offered with an estimate of $50,000 - $70,000. Mathews depicts the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts under construction as its iconic dome is being raised, with classically draped allegorical figures observing the scene. Intended as a venue for art exhibitions, the landmark building is one of the few structures remaining from the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, and the only one from still on its original site. In bringing romantic, classically draped figures before the Palace, Mathews’ vision is perfectly in sympathy with architect Bernard Maybeck’s dream of an ancient ‘’ruin’’ spun from a romanticized interpretation of Greek and Roman architecture. Reinforcing this ethereal vision from an imagined past is the beautifully softened palette, heavy on neutrals and atmosphere.</br></br>

Also evoking an ethereal atmosphere, while boasting an earthbound estimate of $12,000 - $18,000, is a coastal nocturne in oil on board by San Diego artist Alfred R. Mitchell (1888 – 1972), titled “Moonlight at Torrey Pines’’. Mitchell’s feathery brushwork captures the quietude and stillness of the scene, while the moonlight reflecting off the glassy surface of the water gives the composition a meditative focal point.</br></br> 

Estimated to find a buyer for $20,000 - $25,000 is a ravishing desert landscape by Hanson Puthuff (1875 – 1972), one of several Puthuff oils consigned to Moran’s by descendants of the artist. Aptly titled “Shadowed Ledge”, it depicts a view of the Grand Canyon a short distance from the edge of the ravine, with a backdrop of red rock walls set aflame by sunlight framed between the cool, shadowy trees and underbrush in the foreground. Puthuff’s painterly brushwork and bravura use of raking light and shadow articulate masterfully the rugged textures of the canyon landscape.</br>

A scene of a charmingly ramshackle fishing village by George Pearse Ennis (1884 – 1936) presents a more tranquil, domesticated landscape, while displaying an equally deft use of color. The east coast artist’s work with stained glass and murals is very evident in his depiction of weathered wooden cottages, their clapboards and roofs reflecting a rainbow of colors, tumbling haphazardly down a verdant hillside overlaid with blocks of deep shadow and contrasting light, toward distant sailboats on white-topped waves. The rich coloration and broad, easy brushstrokes lend the oil painting a liveliness bidders will find irresistible, especially when paired with the very attractive $2000 - $3000 estimate.  </br> </br>    

One of the more whimsical works on offer is a large ink-and-gouache-on-paper board composition by Theodor Geisel (1904 – 1991)(commonly known as Dr. Seuss), titled ‘’Family Tree of the 7 Godivas’’, depicting the family tree of the fictional seven lady Godivas and the Brothers Peeping. Executed as a double page illustration for the front endpapers in Geisel’s 1939 book ‘’The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family’’, the cartoon-like drawing displays the same type of eccentric wit found in the author’s famous books for children, though, in this case, the humor is decidedly for an adult audience. ‘’The Seven Lady Godivas’’ was not a commercial success upon its initial release, and was Geisel’s last attempt at writing books for adults. Reflecting the scarcity of original Dr. Seuss book illustrations, the estimate for this work is placed at $30,000 - $50,000.</br></br>

Additional highlights and sale information will be posted on John Moran Auctioneers’s website ( in the coming months. Any questions about the works listed here should be directed to John Moran’s Fine Art Specialist, Morgana Blackwelder, at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it For general inquiries, including questions regarding consignment or bidder registration, interested parties are welcome to call at: (626) 793-1833 or email at: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it John Moran Auctioneers is accepting consignments of quality fine and decorative arts and jewelry for the remainder of their 2014 Auctions. Moran’s next California and American Fine Art auction is scheduled for March, 2015. 

Two New Records Set at John Moranís October 20, 2015 California and American Fine Art Auction PDF Print
Friday, 11 July 2014

• New auction records set for California artists Anna Skeele and Joane Cromwell
• Works by top-tier artists such as Cyrus Edwin Dallin, Maurice Braun and Franz A. Bischoff achieve excellent prices
• In-person attendance strong; just over ten percent of lots sold via online platforms

PASADENA, CA – On Tuesday, October 20th, John Moran Auctioneers opened the doors on their second and final California and American Fine Art Auction of 2015. The curated sale featured over 230 lots of American works of art spanning from the 19th century to the contemporary, with bidding available online via LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable and Bidsquare. In-person attendance at the event was strong, and reserved telephone lines were at capacity for a number of the evening’s top lots; because of robust attendee participation, a relatively modest 12% of sales were achieved via online platforms. Sales for top-tier California artists were strong, with two new auction records set for prominent 20th century women artists.

Attendees of Moran’s October 21st California Fine Art Auction were presented with a number of quality choices by top-tier artists. One such work, San Diego-based Maurice Braun’s (1877-1941) “Nocturne”, was very well received by Moran’s buyers; the verdant impressionist composition depicts a pair of hilltop eucalyptus trees against a hazy rolling backdrop. “Nocturne” was offered for $20,000 to $25,000, and earned $36,000 thanks to competition between multiple absentee bidders (prices realized include Moran’s 20% Buyer’s Premium). Jack Wilkinson Smith (1873-1949 Alhambra, CA) was represented in Moran’s catalogue with five works; one coastal composition featuring pink-tinged clouds above an expanse of crashing waves proved especially popular with buyers. An online buyer proved the successful high bidder, taking possession of the work for $18,450 (estimate: $10,000 to $15,000). Franz A. Bischoff’s poppy and lupine-studded landscape from the Jim and Lauris Philips Collection in San Marino, CA was brought to the block with a $10,000 to $15,000 estimate, and exceeded all expectations after the bidding on the floor outpaced that of the interested phone buyers; the bidding topped out at the $22,800 mark.

One of the top lots for the evening was a richly patinated bronze sculpture by Cyrus Edwin Dallin (1861-1944 Boston, MA), titled “On the Warpath”. The work, modeled with a Native American man on horseback, was conservatively estimated to bring $15,000 to $20,000, which was quickly outstripped thanks to a phone bidder, bringing a surprising $54,000.

Happily, Moran’s October event saw two new records set for 20th century California women artists. The first was for Joane Cromwell’s (1895-1969 Laguna Beach, CA) historically important work “Laguna Beach Festival Of Arts”. Cromwell herself served on the Board of Directors and as a Juror of the Laguna Beach Art Association and was integral in the organization and growth of the festival. Dating to 1936, “Laguna Beach Festival Of Arts” depicts the fourth Laguna Beach Festival, and the third and final time it was held on El Paseo Street, adjacent to the Hotel Laguna. The artist placed Frank Cuprien, a long-time member of the Laguna Art Association, directly in the center of the composition, and populated the rest of the scene with exhibitors, festival-goers, and families alike, giving the piece an overall warm, communal feel. The painting was offered with an initial $20,000 to $25,000 estimate, and established the new record with a $22,800 selling price.

The second record was set for a work by Anna Katharine Skeele (1896-1963 Monrovia, CA), titled “Pueblo Life, Taos”. Depicting two women collecting water from a stream, the composition is an excellent example of Skeele’s fond depictions of everyday life in the Taos Pueblo, boldly executed in the artist’s color-saturated modernist style. Skeele spent many summers working and living among the Taos Indians, and the paintings she completed there have become the most defining subject of her artistic career. “Pueblo Life, Taos” tripled its high estimate, realizing $45,000.

Excellent prices were also achieved for modern artists such as Jack Laycox, Millard Sheets, Eyvind Earle and Peter Ellenshaw. A fantastical take on the San Francisco shoreline as seen from the Bay by local artist Jack Laycox (1921-1984) appealed to a number of collectors vying remotely from the Northern California area; as a result the work shot to a $6250 selling price within seconds of opening (estimate: $6000 to $8000). Millard Sheets’ (1907-1989 Gualala, CA) “The King’s Tent”, a charming, jewel-toned oil dating to 1938 (while the artist was a student at Chouinard Art Institute) depicts a Gypsy tent camp located at the Whittier Narrows, erected when Gypsies from all over the United States assembled in order to elect a new queen. Sheets’ work earned $33,000 at the block, within the $30,000 to $40,000 estimate. A highly anticipated large-scale acrylic by Eyvind Earle (1916-2000 Carmel, CA), offering an unusual view of cows grazing in a pasture beyond foreground trees, was offered for a conservative $5000 to $7000, quickly flying to a price realized of $16,800. Finally, one of Peter Ellenshaw’s ever-popular seascapes, this particular example featuring waves crashing along a rocky coast, rounded out the auction event when it sold for a very respectable $6600 (estimate: $2000 to $3000).

Watercolor compositions by a number of California artists achieved strong prices at Moran’s October 21st event:
• Marion Kavanagh Wachtel’s (1870-1954 Pasadena, CA) depiction of a pastel-hued Ojai landscape brought $13,200, within the $10,000 to $15,000 estimate.
• A well-executed study in gray, Arthur Burnside Dodge’s (1863-1952 Los Angeles, CA) watercolor painting of well-dressed buyers and sellers at a Chinatown street market, framed within an elaborately carved giltwood surround, flew to an impressive $6600 selling price, after competition between telephone bidders and a very determined floor buyer (estimate: $1000 to $2000).
• Maynard Dixon’s (1875-1946 San Francisco, CA / Tuscon, AZ) sweeping 1937 Nevada landscape brought a very respectable $10,000 (estimate: $10,000 to $15,000).
John Moran Auctioneers will hold their next auction event on Tuesday, December 8th at the Pasadena Convention Center, located at 300 E Green St. in Pasadena, CA. This single-session fully catalogued auction will feature Fine Jewelry from local collections and estates. The line-up includes jewelry ranging from the antique to the contemporary, including Art Deco gems, fine timepieces for men and women by makers such as Panerai, Rolex and Patek Philippe, a wide variety of GIA-graded diamonds and jadeite, and designer selections from Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Henry Dunay and more. Preview will be available at the Convention Center from 12pm to 5pm on Monday, December 7th and from 12pm until the auction’s 3pm start on Tuesday the 8th.

The next of John Moran Auctioneers’ biannual California and American Fine Art Auctions is scheduled for March 22nd, 2016.

The March fine art sale will be preceded by an inaugural online-only California Fine Art Auction, scheduled to go live on January 19th and running through the 27th. Primarily featuring paintings with estimates under $2000, bidding will be available exclusively via, however in-person public preview will be available on the 22nd from 2pm-8pm or by private appointment. Highlights and more information on all the above sales can be found at:

Consignment inquiries across all categories are always welcome; contact John Moran Auctioneers directly at: (626) 793-1833 or to email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

John Moran Auctioneers Proudly Presents First California & American Art Auction of 2016 PDF Print
Friday, 11 July 2014

•    March 22nd sale is the first of their flagship biannual California And American Art Auction to be held at Moran’s newly renovated location in Monrovia, CA
•    Selections include Contemporary Western Art from the Estate of Phoebe Hearst Cooke
•    New start time and extended previews announced

MONROVIA, CA – With non-stop renovations taking place at their new Monrovia, CA location and two auction events added to their calendar in the first quarter of 2016, the last few months have been a whirlwind for John Moran Auctioneers. With the dust finally settling, Moran’s is pleased to announce the first of their flagship biannual California and American Fine Art Auctions to take place at the new location, scheduled for Tuesday, March 22nd. Bidders will be pleased to note extended preview times, including oft-requested weekend viewing hours.

The full-color auction book is set to feature a curated selection of works by 19th and 20th century California and American artists, including traditional California impressionist paintings as well as a selection of Modern and Contemporary works by well-known artists.

The catalogue also promises a wide appeal due to the inclusion of a number of contemporary Western works of art from the Estate of Phoebe Hearst Cooke: philanthropist, rancher, and granddaughter of publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Influenced by her family’s longtime passion for collecting as well as by her personal affinity for horses and ranch life, Cooke acquired a great number of western-themed paintings and bronzes throughout her lifetime, many purchased directly from the artists. The March 22nd Fine Art Auction is the second of three events in 2016 to feature works from the Estate of Phoebe Hearst cook; additional paintings and bronzes from the estate are slated for sale at Moran’s April 19th Decorative Art Auction.
John Moran’s March 22nd auction presents a number of highlights by acclaimed early California artists, include a wonderful turquoise-toned rocky coastal landscape by Guy Rose (1867-1925 Pasadena, CA) . Hailing from the Baeder Estate in New York, “Monterey, Calif”, is executed in a smaller scale than other works by Rose recently offered at Moran’s; as such, the piece carries an accordingly conservative $70,000 to $90,000 pre-sale estimate. Also on offer, a charming atmospheric beach scene by Oakland artist Frederick Milton Grant (1886-1959) gives compositional preference to the billowing clouds which hover over the monochromatically dressed beach-goers; the work is expected to bring $15,000 to $20,000.

Those seeking more contemporary works by well-known California artists should be pleased with the selection; an oil by ever-popular Claremont, CA artist Milford Zornes (1908-2008), titled “Repair Under the Trees”, is offered with a $10,000 to $15,000 estimate. Peter Ellenshaw (1913-2007 Santa Barbara, CA) is also represented in Moran’s catalog with a selection of his signature seascapes, each with approachable estimates at $5000 and below. Jack Laycox’s (1921-1984 San Francisco, CA) watercolor, “Stained Glass at the Cathedral”, is offered for $3000 to $5000.

Collectors who favor less traditional subjects will have a nice selection of Modernist works to consider; Edward Rauscha’s (b. 1937 Los Angeles, CA) iconic 1969 screenprint “Cheese Mold Standard with Olive”, executed in cool, washed-out hues, is expected to be one of the evening’s more popular offerings (est.: $20,000 to $30,000). Also sure to create a stir, a composition featuring curvilinear swaths in three different tones of purple by modern abstract painter Karl Benjamin (1925-2012 Claremont, CA) is offered with a $30,000 to $40,000 estimate. The untitled work dates to 1963, just three years after the 1959-60 “Four Abstract Classicists” exhibition which brought Benjamin national renown.
While the offerings overall are well-rounded, Western and American Indian genre works proffer a number of highlights, with selections hailing from the Hearst estate as well as from private Southern California collections and beyond. Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953 Taos, NM), widely considered the father of the Taos art colony, is represented in the March Fine Art catalog with a selection of excellent figural studies. One untitled work depicts a seated American Indian man looking out over a richly hued fall woodland landscape; the oil painting is expected to bring $70,000 to $90,000 at the block. Sharp’s comparatively diminutive “Dolly, Taos”, a contemplative portrait of a seated Taos woman in profile features a gold-infused palette and is offered with a $10,000 to $15,000 estimate. Consigned from the Estate of Phoebe Hearst Cooke, a striking large-scale moonlit nocturne by James Elwood Reynolds (1926-2010 Sedona, AZ), titled “Coyotes and Cactus”, depicts a cowboy overlooking a desert landscape while seated atop his horse (est.: $18,000 to $22,000).

A second notable figural nocturnal composition is offered by Walter Emerson Baum (1884-1956 Sellersville, PA), who expertly painted the seasonal changes reflected in his surrounding Pennsylvania landscape, often en plein air. Baum’s nocturnal winter landscape is expected to bring $10,000 to $15,000. Also Pennsylvania-based, genre artist John Lewis Krimmel (1787-1821 Philadelphia, PA), known as the “American Hogarth” for his representations of ordinary life in 19th century America, is represented in Moran’s March 22nd sale with a charming composition depicting children picking cherries, aptly titled “The Cherry Pickers”. Krimmel’s work is expected to bring $10,000 to $15,000 at the auction block.
John Moran Auctioneers’ March 22nd California and American Fine Art Auction will be held at Moran’s newly renovated facility, located at: 145 E Walnut Ave., Monrovia, CA 91016. Admission is always free and all events are open to the public.
In order to accommodate potential buyers from all over Southern California and beyond, preview times have been extended, and now include Saturday viewing times. Public preview will be available on Friday, March 18th and Monday, March 21st from 10am to 4pm on each day, as well as on Saturday, March 19th from 10am to 2pm. Free event parking is available in the John Moran lot, as well as in the lower level of the adjacent public parking structure.

Doors will open on the day of the auction, Tuesday, March 22nd at 12pm, with the auction commencing at 7pm. Complimentary light refreshments, finger foods, and organic coffee and tea will be available for attendees on the day of the auction.

Bidding is available via telephone, absentee and online through, and To order a full-color catalogue or for more information regarding this or any other upcoming auctions or consignment, please visit: or call John Moran Auctioneers directly: (626) 793-1833.

Success Defines John Moran Auctioneersí California & American Art Auction PDF Print
Thursday, 26 June 2014

• World record auction prices broken for three California artists

• Over 1.7 million dollars in sales realized for 200 quality works by California and American artists offered

• Capacity crowd fills sale room

Pasadena, CA—John Moran Auctioneers continues to lead the field in California and American Fine Art. Amassing over $1.7 million in sales, Moran’s first California and American Fine Art Auction of 2014, conducted on March 25th at the Pasadena Convention Center, was a decided success. Attracted by an exceptionally and consistently strong selection of works by top tier artists, including two works by top California Impressionist Guy Rose, bidders from all over California filled the large room to capacity. A number of works sold above their high estimates, and several artists’ world records were broken within the span of an hour.

The first work by Guy Rose (1867 – 1925) to go on the block was ‘’Windswept Trees, Laguna’’, aptly described in a note in Moran’s catalogue by well known California art expert Will South, PhD, as ‘’by every measure, a signature example of his mature aesthetic, an aesthetic that defines the highest cultural achievement of his time and place.’’ Rose painted the 40’’ x 30’’ oil-on-linen ‘’en plein air’’ in 1917, and was so pleased with the result that he kept it in his private collection, and reproduced it in a larger studio version which now belongs to the Irvine Museum. Purchased from Stendahl Galleries at the Guy Rose Memorial Exhibition by members of the same family who consigned it to Moran’s, this important work made its reappearance on the market with aplomb, realizing $480,000 (estimate: $500,000 – 700,000).

The second work by Rose, ‘’Winter Haystacks at Crecy-en-Brie, France’’ was painted earlier, in 1890, when Rose was a student in Paris. Possessing an authority and presence that belies its diminutive size, the delicately shaded oil was purchased by a determined floor bidder for a final price of $120,000 (estimate: $100,000 - $150,000). Two more works by Guy Rose are slated for sale at John Moran Auctioneers’ October California and American Fine Art Auction.

One of the standout record-breaking paintings was a large and unusually dramatic oil by Paul Grimm (1891 - 1974), ‘’California Clouds’’ . Hailing from a private Orange County collection, the canvas went up on the block with a conservative pre-auction estimate of $7000 - $9000. Competing floor and a full bank of telephone bidders quickly drove the asking price much higher, however, to a final bid of $30,000.

Sweeping Southern California landscapes in general performed quite well at Moran’s. A bidding war broke out for a massive (40” x 60”) canvas by Hanson Duval Puthuff (1875 – 1972) depicting a wide view of Big Tujunga Canyon (estimate: $60,000 - $80,000). Puthuff’s impressive work renders the California scenery in true-to-life hues of yellow, brown, and green, skillfully capturing the arid-meets-verdant landscape. Bidding did not top out until the price reached the $96,000 mark, the work going home with a delighted phone bidder. John Frost’s (1890 – 1937) electrically colored oil on canvas, ‘’San Jacinto, Palm Springs’’, executed in a feathery, painterly hand, earned an impressive $85,750, well over the expected $50,000 - $70,000.

‘’The Beautiful Bay of Avalon’’ by Joe Duncan Gleason (1881 – 1959) also performed beyond expectations. The work serves as a fascinating architectural and geographical record of the popular resort town on Catalina Island. Painted from a similar vantage point as the current record-holder for the artist, a larger work that Moran’s sold for $161,000 in February, 2007, it takes its title from a poem by Mrs. Jennie L.H. Giddings, whose family home, “Holly Hill House”, is the structure on the right of the canvas, facing the Sugar Loaf Casino on the other side of the bay. Gleason created the painting as a gift to the family upon their purchase of the property, and it remained in the family until the present day. Expected to bring $20,000 - $25,000, the modestly sized painting realized an impressive $36,000.

Also serving as an intriguing architectural time capsule of sorts is a watercolor by Emil Kosa Jr. (1903 – 1968) of downtown Los Angeles and City Hall. A somewhat moody composition, with dark clouds breaking apart to reveal bright blue Los Angeles skies, this work was estimated to find a new home for $6000 - $8000, but ultimately went to a floor bidder to the tune of $13,200. Another city scene, capturing the picturesque ‘’Chinatown, San Francisco’’, by Jules Pages (1867 – 1946), earned $16,800 at the block (estimate: $10,000 -$15,000).

Some new records were set by stunning works by lesser known but immensely talented California artists. A muted oil by Ted Christensen (1911 – 1998), titled ‘’Tiburon’’, captures the hamlet on a foggy day, showing a road winding down through buildings to the distant bay covered in haze. Bidders responded enthusiastically to the sketchy, almost abstract, scene, bidding well beyond the pre-sale estimate of $1000 - $1500, to a purchase price of $4287.50. Shortly thereafter, a sunny watercolor by Sacramento artist John Britton Matthew (1896 – 1980), ‘’Divers Cove, Laguna Beach – From Life’’, broke the artist’s record with a selling price of $3900, well over the estimated $1000 - $1500.

Other results of note include George K. Brandriff’s (1890 – 1936) ‘’A Gathering Storm, Mono Lake, Calif.’’, which was expected to find a buyer for $2000 - $3000, but earned an impressive $6000 in the end. ‘’Late Afternoon – La Crescenta’’ by Los Angeles artist Walter Farrington Moses (1874 - 1947), a skillfully composed composition depicting distant mountains revealed by a divided clutch of stately eucalyptus trees to the mid ground, was initially estimated to earn $800 - $1200. Wooing bidders with a cool and calming palette replete with purples, blues, and greens, the piece fetched $4200. A bright and bold composition by John Wesley Cotton (1868 – 1931), titled ‘’Gnarled Veterans’’ in reference to the massive sycamore trees that serve as the painting’s subject, incited a number of bidders to compete for ownership. In the end, the work realized $8400 (estimate: $3000 - $5000).

Additional highlights include:

• Massachusetts artist John Whorf’s oil on canvas, Southern Cruiser, is a stunningly dramatic maritime nocturne, looking over the bow of a ship and beyond to a view of crushing waves . Perhaps made all the more captivating with the inclusion of a solitary figure on deck, illuminated by an interior light, the work earned $30,000 (estimate $15,000 - $20,000).

• A pair of complementary works by Pasadena artist Marion Kavanagh Wachtel, initially given a conservative $1500 - $2000 estimate for the pair, sold at $6000.

• A charming, feathery still life of lilacs by Clair H. Ruby made quite an impression when auction attendees viewed it in person, inciting a number of bidders to leave absentee bids. One such absentee bidder was indeed successful, buying the work for $2400 (estimate: $1000 - $1500).

John Moran Auctioneers’ next California and American Fine Art Auction is scheduled for October 21st, and consignment inquiries are now invited. Please contact John Moran Auctioneers directly to speak to one of their friendly and knowledgeable specialists regarding the consignment process or upcoming auction highlights.

The next John Moran Auctioneers Auction event is the highly anticipated semiannual HQ Jewelry and Luxury Auction, hosted at John Moran headquarters in Altadena, CA. Interested parties are invited to visit John Moran’s website (, or call the offices directly for more information: (626) 793-1833.


An Early Spring for California & American Fine Art as Moranís Presents March 25th Auction PDF Print
Thursday, 26 June 2014

- Nearly 200 paintings covering a wide range of price points scheduled to go on the block

- Guy Rose, John Frost, Hanson Puthuff and William Wendt head up a large selection of California landscapes bursting with light and color

Pasadena, CA—John Moran Auctioneers will present the first of its two 2014 California and American Fine Art Auctions on Tuesday, March 25th, offering nearly 200 carefully selected works resplendent with the vivid color and light beloved of early 20th century American Impressionists and Western artists. Pre-sale estimates ranging from $700 to $80,000 ensure opportunities for buyers at all levels to bolster their collections with top-notch works, including stellar examples by several of the best-known California painters.

Moran’s is delighted to include in a sale characterized by consistently high quality a painting by that most sought-after of California Impressionists, Guy Rose (1867 – 1925 San Gabriel, CA). The signed oil-on-linen measuring 13’’ x 13’’ is one of Rose’s more ethereal, loosely structured works. It depicts a French countryside scene with a bridge arching over a stream amid lush green grass using feathery brushwork, dissolving solid forms in hazy light and color much in the manner of Claude Monet, Rose’s friend and mentor during his long stay in Giverny. The work is estimated to realize $30,000 – 40,000

One of the top lots by value, assigned an estimate of $60,000 – 80,000, is a landscape by Hanson Puthuff (1875 – 1972 Corona Del Mar, CA) that exemplifies the California Impressionists’ taste for timeless scenes celebrating the grandeur of nature, devoid of people and all reminders of civilization. The 40’’ x 60’’ oil-on-canvas portrays an expansive and serene foothill scene in soft colors and textures, the foreground populated by nothing more than venerable oak trees. Positively vibrating with energy, on the other hand, is ‘’Mount San Jacinto’’ by John Frost (1890 – 1937 Pasadena, CA). A tumult of strongly contrasting, bright purples, greens and oranges laid down in a complex network of highly textured, varied brushstrokes topped with flecks of yellow portrays dappled light filtering through tree leaves and reflected on water, with the distant mountain in the background. This superb work is estimated to bring $50,000 – 70,000. Another work by Frost, illustrating his versatility as a colorist, is ‘’Eaton Canyon’’, showing the mountain slopes above Pasadena bathed in warm autumnal light. Subtler and more subdued than ‘’Mount San Jacinto’’, rendered in muted oranges and lavenders with deep blue shadows in a softly blended mosaic of short, blunt daubs, the 30’’ H x 36’’ W canvas is also offered for $50,000 – 70,000.

William Wendt (1865 – 1946 Laguna Beach, CA) and Edgar Payne (1883 – 1947 Hollywood, CA) are also well represented. Wendt’s large oil titled ‘’Sycamores’’, a lively study of the strong shadows cast on flat, grassy ground by a group of tree trunks with thickly textured bark, beyond which can be glimpsed lavender mountains, is estimated to bring $40,000 – 60,000. Payne’s view of the San Gabriel range near Sierra Madre, CA portrays the solemn silence and stillness of a rapidly falling dusk draping the steep slopes in richly saturated purples and pinks, watched from the valley floor by dark trees in deep green shadow (estimate: $30,000 – 50,000).

Other California landscapes of note include a majestic cloud study by Paul Grimm (1891 – 1974 Palm Springs, CA), composed of a wide swathe of sky filled with dramatically slanting, backlit clouds anchored by the solid forms of a narrow strip of hilly landscape stretching along the bottom edge of the canvas. The large work could easily surpass its pre-sale estimate of $7000 – 9000. A more sheltered scene is ‘’Harvest Time’’ by William Alexander Griffith (1866 – 1940 Laguna Beach, CA), a nostalgic homage to agrarian life depicting figures bailing hay, nestled in the embrace of the golden hills of Laguna Canyon. Yet another superb depiction of the sparkling white light specific to California, it is estimated to realize $15,000 – 20,000.

While examples of California landscape predominate at Moran’s sale, buyers will find many other subjects, such as a marvelous daytime street scene brimming with figures set in San Francisco’s Chinatown by Jules Pages (1867 – 1946 San Francisco, CA) (estimate: $10,000 – 15,000). Moran’s is also pleased to offer a rare opportunity to acquire a work by Anna Katharine Skeele (1896 – 1963 Pasadena, CA). Estimated at $10,000 – 15,000, ‘’Aspen Dance’’ depicts Native Americans performing a ritual dance in an adobe courtyard, the simplified, flattened forms of the figures and buildings boldly colored and outlined in black (estimate: $10,000 – 15,000). The painting displays Skeele’s great sensitivity toward Southwest Native American subjects, developed during numerous trips to New Mexico and Arizona, as well as her talent for manipulating space and reducing complicated forms to a stylized pattern.

Among the artists from outside California represented in Moran’s sale are Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848 – 1943 New York, NY), whose ‘’Arab Encampment’’ is offered for $2500 – 3500; John Marin (1870 – 1953 New York, NY), whose two charming pencil sketches of the Brooklyn Bridge are estimated to bring $3000 – 5000; and Karl Albert Buehr (1866 – 1952 Chicago, IL), whose ‘’Fishing Pool’’ carries an estimate of $6000 – 8000.

Updated highlights are viewable at Full sale catalogues are posted at 2 - 3 weeks prior to each sale. Bidding is available from the floor and via absentee, telephone or online through or The sale will be conducted at the Pasadena Convention Center at 300 East Green Street in Pasadena, CA.

Consignments are accepted throughout the year for Moran’s Fine Art Auction, held bi-annually, their Antiques and Decorative Arts Auctions, held six times a year, and for their bi-annual jewelry sales. Please contact Moran’s offices at 626-793-1833 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information about any of their upcoming events.

New Format, Quality Works Bring out the Buyers at John Moran Auctioneersí First Fine Art Auction of PDF Print
Tuesday, 21 August 2012

- Record auction prices achieved for three American artists
- Over 1.5 million in sales amassed
- A record number of internet bidders registered with John Moran using one of three available online platforms – over 430 active online bidders were recorded
Pasadena, CA— John Moran Auctioneers’ first fine art sale of 2012 proved well worth the wait – bidders turned out in droves to the newly formatted two-session art sale, featuring fine works of the highest quality. The new bi-annual format, featuring a Modern and European session followed by an American and California session, now allows sale director Katie Halligan and the entire staff at Moran’s more time for the meticulous curation and selectivity for which John Moran Auctions are already known. This format also allowed singular European works, which may have otherwise been lost in the shuffle of an antique sale, to shine.

And shine they did - Modern and European works were certainly given the attention and adoration they deserved by bidders, which translated into very healthy hammer prices. Not long into the European session, an early 17th century Flemish School piece in the style of Peter Paul Reubens went for $9000 – quite higher than the estimate of $2500 - $3500, giving those in attendance a taste of what was to come.

One of many showstoppers of the evening came early in the sale – a museum-quality work by Frederic Arthur Bridgman, depicting a North African Street Scene. Painted in 1882, the piece is an excellent example of Bridgman’s ability to vignette a picturesque narrative and draw the viewer into his Orientalist tableaus with the technical precision and execution of a master of his craft. The work brought $270,000 – only a hair below the $300,000 to $500,000 estimate. “Evening Calm”, a coolly meditative winter landscape by Russian painter Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorovich, pulled in bidders with its masterful composition, and earned double the high estimate at the block, pulling in $12,000 (estimate: $4000 -$6000).

An exquisite example of a Balinese themed work by Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres caused a quiet scene, with international buyers scrambling over every available phone line in order to place their bids. Experts and admirers of Le Mayeur made the trek from as far as Singapore to view the piece and bid. Hailing from a private estate in Claremont, the work ultimately realized $240,000 at the block, a healthy amount more than the estimate of $100,000 - $150,000.

A surprise highlight from the Modern session came in the form of seven silkscreen prints done after Andy Warhol, acquired from a corporate Los Angeles collection. The psychedelic floral prints were estimated at a conservative $1200 to $1800, and ultimately found a buyer at $5206.25. The American and California session was equally anticipated, with high quality pieces by over one hundred artists gracing the walls of the convention center. Three pieces by American artists broke world auction records with their high sale prices. The first, one half of a pair of portraits of a nanny and her ward by the Salt Lake City, Utah artist Lee Greene Richards, realized $5100 (estimate: $2000 - $3000). The second piece was a Hollywood themed gouache and watercolor piece by John Jules Billington, “Hollywood Series No. 2, ‘Sunset Strip”, which realized $2160. Finally, a piece titled “Beach Car”, by Francis Atee Caldwell inspired a bidding war between buyers on the phone and those on the floor, ultimately setting the record for Caldwell’s work with a price tag of $21,600 (estimate: $2000 - $3000).

An early highlight from this session included an unassumingly small, but masterfully executed seascape and rocky coastline by William Ritschell – a 9.75” by 13” work done in Ritschell’s signature painterly style. The piece, “A Morning on California Coast”, was estimated to bring $3000 to $5000, but ended up pulling in $13,200 – proving that big things sometimes do come in small packages. An atmospheric landscape by Hanson Duvall Puthuff which reflected the artist’s singular skill in depicting the filtered, hazy qualities of light cascading over California hillsides quickly gathered momentum at the block, going for well above its estimated selling price at $45,000. A highly anticipated work by William J. McCloskey, completed in 1896, and featuring McCloskey’s signature mode of still-life on a semi-reflective mahogany surface brought in a healthy $90,000, solidly within the $80,000 to $120,000 estimate. The fresh to the market piece was one of many that McCloskey and his wife executed with painstaking attention to detail, color, texture, and composition .

Also fresh to the market was an oil on canvas by Glendale artist Paul Lauritz, acquired by a private collector prior to the 1950s, only to resurface now in the offices of John Moran. The work, featuring a dramatic desert mountain set behind a foreground of desert foliage and cacti inspired phone bidders to come out in droves, and ultimately brought $12,000 at the auction block. A charming Bert Geer Phillips piece featuring a Native American Family in an orchard stole the hearts of floor bidders, but sold in the end to a very determined telephone buyer for a price of $19,200 – well over the estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.

John Moran Auctioneer’s looks forward to their next fine Art Auction of 2012, which will be held on October 16th at the Pasadena Convention Center. Consignments are now being accepted for this important, two-session auction.

The next John Moran sale is set for June 19th, 2012, and features fine Antique and Decorative Arts objects from around the world. Of note is the inclusion of a first phase Navajo Chief’s blanket, done in the Ute style, in this sale. This museum quality piece is one of only a hundred known surviving blankets of its kind, and is completely fresh to the market, traded to the consignor’s family for dry goods and kept in the family ever since. More information on this and other upcoming pieces can be found by visiting or calling the offices directly.

Consignment inquiries are always welcome – contact This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (626) 793-1833 for more information. Bidding in John Moran Auctions is available on the floor, by telephone, and live online through, and br />

John Moran Auctioneers Announces Inaugural Two-Session American and European Fine Art Sale PDF Print
Friday, 21 January 2011



-- 100-lot European Session highlighted by a major work by Frederic Arthur Bridgman

-- 200-lot American Session to feature a select group of top California and American painters

-- Works from the mid-17th century to the late 20th century consigned from private collections


Pasadena, CA – John Moran Auctioneers is delighted to announce their April 17, 2012 Fine Art Auction, a major sale featuring a spectacular large work by Orientalist painter Frederic Arthur Bridgman (1847 – 1928). The event will mark a new chapter in the history of the family-owned house. For the past forty years collectors and connoisseurs nationwide have known Moran’s as an important venue for sales of California and other regional American Impressionist schools. Answering demand from a growing and increasingly global market while continuing to build upon their success in their traditional specialty, Moran’s is expanding their fine art sale’s content to include European works dating from the 17th to the mid-20thcentury, to be offered alongside American and California works in a separate, same-day session.


The debut European session is brilliantly led by the Bridgman painting, ‘’Arabian Street Scene’’. Bridgman was born in Alabama but is more strongly associated with France. He moved to Paris as a young man, studying in the studio of pre-eminent French Orientalist Jean-Leon Jerome. Under Jerome’s influence he chose to specialize in scenes of the Middle East, and made numerous trips to Spain and North Africa, particularly Algeria and Egypt. His detailed depictions of the region’s scenery, architecture, people and costumes earned him immense popularity and a reputation as the most talented American artist in the genre. With interest revived in part by recent major museum exhibitions and scholarly studies, works by Bridgman are again enjoying a buoyant market, appreciated for their technical mastery and recording of a fascinating world that has largely disappeared. Created at the peak of Bridgman’s career in 1882, the ‘’Arabian Street Scene’’ is a theatrically staged piece hosting a large cast, serving up the feast of exotic imagery and fanciful effects that collectors of Orientalism crave. With bravura contrasts of light, color and texture, Bridgman guides the viewer’s eye through the dusty street in a procession of deeply receding planes from one group of figures and animals to another, each group forming a vignette telling its own story within the whole. A large work measuring 34 x 53.5 inches, the mesmerizing ’’Arabian Street Scene’’ arrives at Moran’s from an important private collection in San Marino, CA where it has been held for several generations, and is offered with an estimate of $300,000 - $500,000.


Moran’s sale abounds with opportunities for collectors of 19th century European art to acquire classic works by notable artists at all price points, including an oil depicting a guitarist serenading a lady on a veranda by Gabriel Puig Roda (1865 – 1919 Spanish) (estimate: $4000 – 6000), an ornate interior scene by Jean Paul Sinibaldi (1857 – 1909 French) (estimate: $3000 – 5000), and a snowy scene of Russian Cossacks, ‘’War and Peace’’, by Constantine Stoiloff Baumgartner (1850 – 1924 Austrian) (estimate: $4000 – 6000). Italian artist Vittorio Reggianini (1858 – 1939), known for his lighthearted depictions of luxuriously dressed women in well appointed interiors, is represented in the sale by a nicely detailed example, in this case a lady with a greyhound, for $50,000 – 70,000. Two monumentally large canvases, one by Edmund Blume (1844 – 1911 German) measuring 122 inches by 84 inches, and a slightly larger work by Jean Jacques Scherrer (1855 – 1916 French), depict, respectively, a deathbed confession to a priest, and a French Revolutionary scene of M. Duval d' Esprememil confronted by the Mayor of Paris. Each carries a conservative pre-sale estimate of $3000 – 5000, representing remarkable value per yard.


Earlier works in this session include a 1676 oil portrait of a noblewoman by Dutch artist Caspar Netscher (1639 – 1684), offered for $25,000 – 35,000, a depiction of John the Baptist, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimithea by Jusepe de Ribera (1588 – 1652, Spanish), a work attributed to the Circle of Jacopo Amigoni (Estimate: $10,000 – 15,000), and a work attributed to Nicolaes Maes (1632 – 1693, Dutch) (estimate: $6000 – 8000).


At the other end of the historical spectrum is a typically lush work by Belgian painter Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres (1880 – 1958), who drew inspiration from the Indonesian island of Bali where he resided from 1933 – 1958. Transfixed by the largely unspoiled beauty and intact culture of the Indonesian island, making many portrayals of the natives and their rituals, particularly dancers. Moran’s is offering one of his signature portrayals of women dancing amongst tropical flowers and foliage, consigned from private collection, for $100,000 – 150,000. Two ink-on-paper drawings are by the German/American caricaturist and political satirist George Grosz (1893 – 1959). Grosz joined the anti-war, anti-capitalist Dada movement in 1917 and within a short time was known as a leading social critic. A controversial figure who made daring use of imagery, he was prosecuted for blasphemy and offences against public morality and his fame consequently increased. Moran’s is offering his ‘’Spaziergang des Erotomanen’’ (‘’Promenade of the Erotomaniac’’) with an estimate of $12,000 – 18,000 and a scene of figures in a street for $20,000 – 30,000. Both drawings were consigned from a Los Angeles, CA collector who acquired them in the 1970’s. Additional modern European highlights include an ink drawing by Jean Cocteau (1889 – 1963 French) titled ‘’Modern Face’’ (estimate: $1500 – 2000) and a gouache by Joan Miro (1893 – 1983 Spanish).


Austrian-born but strongly associated with his adopted city of Cincinnati, Ohio is Magic Realist painter Henry Koerner (1915 – 1999), whose 1950 tempera painting ‘’Contemplation‘’ is a highlight of the American Session. Moran’s achieved notable success with another Koerner from the same time period, consigned from the same private collection of friends of the artist, when they sold his ‘’Under the Overpass’’ in June, 2011 for $252,000. ‘’Contemplation’’ is a smaller but very evocative work, and is expected to realize $10,000 – 15,000. Another mid-20th century highlight is a pen-and-ink drawing by Saul Steinberg (1914 – 1999) titled ‘’Don’t Stir Without Noilly Prat’’ (estimate: $4000 – 6000).


In all the American Session will offer 200 select paintings, drawings and prints, including and works by Julian Onderdonk, William P. Silva, Thomas Hart Benton, and Sydney Laurence (1865 – 1940, Alaska), whose atmospheric mountain landscape featuring an eagle soaring high over a river is offered for $30,000 – 50,000. A 1920 painting by the North Carolina artist Percival Leonard Rosseau (1859 – 1937) is a fine example of his specialty subject of sporting dogs in landscapes, portraying two pointers, ‘’Denwood Joe and Kirk’s Masters Boy’’, poised in a Barbizon-style autumn landscape. The 25 by 32-inch oil is expected to fetch $20,000 – 30,000.


The top California Impressionists for whose work Moran’s has regularly achieved record prices are well represented, including William Wendt, Maurice Braun, Colin Campbell Cooper, Alson Clark, Seldon Connor Gile, Jack Wilkinson Smith and Edgar Payne, with prices starting at $1,000. One of the leading lots in this category is a magnificent William J. McCLoskey twelve-apple still life, offered for $80,000 – 120,000. Other standouts include a small oil by Laguna Beach resident Anna A. Hills, of small children and a dog wading in the surf on a beach, loosely painted in her much-admired palette knife technique and bearing a 1929 inscription from the artist and her sister to their niece, from whom the present owner acquired it (estimate: $6000 – 8000). A 30 by 40-inch landscape of rolling hills resplendent with poppies and lupine is one of the largest paintings by Carmel painter Mary DeNeale Morgan to appear on the market in the last few years (estimate: $15,000 – 20,000).


Moran’s two-session April 17th Fine Art Auction will be held at the Pasadena, CA Convention Center. Full sale catalogues will be posted at 2 -3 weeks prior to the sale. Bidding is available from the floor and via absentee, telephone or online. Registration is free and all are welcome.


Moran’s is currently accepting consignments for other upcoming auctions, including their May 8, 2012 Antiques and Fine Jewelry Auction. For their full schedule of Fine Art, Antiques and Jewelry auctions, and further information about current sales, please visit their website or contact their offices at 626-793-1833 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it



Moran's Announces First Fine Art Sale of 2011 PDF Print
Friday, 21 January 2011


Pasadena, CA –John Moran Auctioneers is delighted to announce the first of their 2011 California and American Art Auctions, a sale of 150 works by leading artists spanning the mid-19th to mid- 20th centuries with an emphasis on plein air landscapes. The event will take place Tuesday, February 15th at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA.


Conducting three such sales annually, Moran’s is established as a market leader in sales of American Impressionism, routinely setting new records. After celebrating a successful 2010 auction series, the Southern California-based company will once again meet the demand for quality works from this vibrant collecting area with a selection of notable works by Maurice Braun, Alfred Mitchell, Ernest Lawson, Jack Wilkinson Smith, Charles Rollo Peters, E. Charlton Fortune, Selden Gile, Johann Berthelsen, Si Chen Yuan, and many others.


Sale highlights include:


Pair of White Peacocks by Jessie Arms Botke (1883 – 1971), (estimate: $35,000 – 45,000). Arriving at auction from the estate of a collector, this large (32 x 27 inches) work includes water lilies as the botanical element. Exotic birds and foliage in decorative, flattened compositions featuring great attention to accurate detail were a fascination for Botke, and represent by a wide margin the top price earners for the artist at auction. Moran’s holds the current record for Botke, set in 2005 by the sale of Javanese Peacocks for $90,400


Kansas Hills by Birger Sandzen (1871 – 1954) (estimate: $70,000 – 90,000). This 30 x 40 inch oil was created in 1935 in the trademark style of the artist’s mature work, featuring a high-keyed palette, thick impasto and rigorous, abstracted structure. Sandzen was unique among Kansas artists in capturing the state’s landscape in this fauve-like style. This work was recently exhibited in a show at the Palm Springs (California) Art Museum, ''Colors of the West: The Paintings of Birger Sandzen'', from April 17-September 12, 2010.


An Adriatic harbor scene by Edgar Payne (1883 – 1947) (estimate $50,000 – 70,000). Featuring sailboats with rustic portside buildings in the background, this lovely work is offered for sale for the first time, having remained in the family of the original owner since presented by Payne as a gift. Though Payne’s boat depictions do not include minute technical detail, they are built on a foundation of thorough technical knowledge. He made rigorous studies of sailing vessels, sketching riggings and building scale models, to accurately convey their shape and structure while reveling in broad, loose brushstrokes and the lively play of broken light and color. This deeply shadowed work with strong warm / cool complementary color contrasts and a richly patterned surface exemplifies his ability to convey a scene’s subjective qualities while maintaining a strong structural underpinning.


A view of Taxco, Mexico by Arthur Grover Rider (1886 – 1975) (estimate: $20,000 – 30,000). Rider was heavily influenced by the Spanish Luminist Joaquin Sorolla, with whom he painted on the beach at Valencia, Spain, and his paintings blaze with the same clear light and masterful use of color. In the last years of his life Rider made many trips to Taxco, concentrating on architectural subjects. Moran’s is delighted to offer this spectacular work directly from a private collection.


Many more highly desirable works, including California Style watercolors and Western subjects, will be offered in the sale. All of Moran’s auctions are held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California. Bidding is available from the floor and via telephone, absentee or online at Moran’s posts images of sale highlights on their website,, and a full catalogue of the auction, with complete descriptions, condition reports and multiple images of every item, will be posted at and at three weeks prior to the sale.


For more information about this sale or to consign artworks, antiques or jewelry, please call the offices of John Moran Auctioneers at (626) 793-1833 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .


John Moran Auctioneersí October 19th California and American Fine Art Auction Sale Brings Great Re PDF Print
Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Pasadena, CA-- John Moran Auctioneers realized $204,000 for a stunning landscape by California Impressionist John Frost (1890 – 1937) at their October 19, 2010 California and American Fine Art Auction (all prices include 20% buyer’s premium). San Gabriel Valley, painted at the height of Frost’s career in 1923, received high praise from critics when it was exhibited at several shows shortly after its completion. Offered at auction with an estimate of $40,000 – 60,000, its high quality was again recognized as several competing bidders drove the final sale price up to a new second-place record for the artist and made it the top lot of the sale..

Interest in the sale was generally high, with several hundred bidders registered from across the country, including many bidding online. Sale Director Katie Halligan was “delighted with the results. As usual, the works that buyers found most appealing were those with impeccable provenance arriving fresh from private collections.”

Among the other lots that sold well above the high estimates were works by other Los Angeles artists for whom Moran’s has held a large portion of market share for more than three decades: a hillside scene by Elmer Wachtel (1864 – 1929), Ojai Valley, that realized $31,250 (estimate: 15,000 – 20,000); a Paul de Longpre (1855 – 1911) watercolor of apple blossoms and violets with bumblebees that realized $27,500 (estimate: $8000 – 12,000); and a Brittany boats scene by Edgar Payne (1883 – 1947) that earned $42,000 (estimate: $20,000 – 30,000). All three were classic, highly desirable examples of the artists’ work.
Also outperforming pre-sale estimates were several smaller works. A graceful pair of bronze bookends depicting angels by Julia Bracken Wendt (1871 – 1942) realized $4,200 (estimate: $1500 – 2000) and a picturesque scene of a Chinese pewter shop with figures by Elizabeth Keith (1887 – 1956) brought $3300 (estimate: $1500 – 2000). A Maurice Braun (1877 – 1941) eucalyptus landscape measuring 6” x 9” brought $7,800 (estimate: $4000 – 6000) and a serene Cornelis Botke (1887 – 1954) oil of cows in a hilly landscape, one of a collection of works by Cornelis and Jessie Arms Botke from the estate of a longtime friend of the artists, realized $5400 (estimate: $1500 – 2000).
Western works were highlighted by a delightful and very technically accomplished Gustave Baumann (1881 – 1971) print, “Hopi Katzinas,” that sold to a phone bidder for $13,200 (estimate $8000 – 10,000).
John Moran Auctioneers’ next California and American Fine Art Auction is scheduled for February 15, 2011. Consignments for that sale are now invited. Moran’s is pleased to announce that works already consigned to that sale include a scene of a village glimpsed through trees by Monterey, CA artist E. Charlton Fortune (1885 – 1969) that will be offered with an estimate of $70,000 – 90,000.
Moran’s next Antiques and Decorative Arts Auction is scheduled for November 30, 2010 and will feature 250 lots of fine and costume jewelry. All sales are conducted at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA and bidding is available from the floor, by telephone, absentee or online at
For more information, or to view catalogues and prices realized, please visit, or call 626-793-1833, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

October 19th California & American Fine Art Sale Catalogue Online PDF Print
Wednesday, 24 November 2010

 Pasadena, CA--John Moran Auctioneers, the Southern California auction house known as pioneers in auction sales of California Impressionism, is pleased to announce their third and final California and American Paintings Auction of 2010, scheduled for October 19th. The sale will offer a diverse selection of over 200 paintings from the first half of the twentieth century encompassing Impressionist style landscapes and still lifes, California School watercolors and Western subjects. With estimates ranging from $1000 to $90,000, and many works offered without reserves, the sale is an excellent opportunity for collectors at all levels to acquire quality artworks. <br /><br />

The top lot is a farm scene by Ernest Lawson (1873 – 1939), Summer, which is known to have been acquired by the original owner directly from the artist in early 1925. It is estimated to sell for $70,000 – 90,000. Works by Modernists Charles P. Reiffel (1862 – 1942) and Walt Kuhn (1877 – 1949), who, like Lawson, were associated with Ashcan School painter Robert Henri, will also draw significant attention. Reiffel’s 1933 landscape, Homestead Ranch, Southern California, is a very attractive example of the self-taught artist’s idiosyncratic approach, with its pulsating lines and thick textures. Kuhn is represented by a 1933 still life, “Jug with Apples”, painted in his well known Cezanne-influenced style. Each of these oils is offered for $20,000 - 30,000. <br /><br />
More conservative in approach is a large-scale view of the San Gabriel Valley by John Frost (1890 – 1937). This profoundly beautiful meditation on nature’s inspirational powers explores light and atmospheric effects, depicting sun-shot clouds in a broad sky contrasted above a dark, shadowy field. Showcasing his delicate Impressionist technique, it exemplifies Frost’s poetic approach to the California landscape and is expected to realize $40,000 – 60,000. <br /><br />
An enchanting view of Sorrento on the Bay of Naples by Herman Herzog (1832 – 1932) also demonstrates a preoccupation with subtle lighting and atmospheric conditions. Estimated to sell in the range of $30,000 – 50,000, it is one of three works by Herzog from a long-held private collection, all consigned from one of Moran’s walk-in appraisal clinics. The other two paintings, a landscape of Huntingdon Valley near Philadelphia, and a woodland scene with deer, are offered for $10,000 – 15,000 and $4000 – 6000 respectively.<br /><br />
Several classic works by Edgar Payne (1883 – 1947) include three oils depicting two of the artist’s favorite subjects, a High Sierras landscape (estimate: $30,000 – 50,000) and two Brittany boats scenes (estimates: $20,000 – 30,000 and $30,000 – 40,000).<br /><br />
Additional sale highlights are two charming small works by marine specialist Joe Duncan Gleason, a William Wendt mountain landscape, a William Ritschell scene of horses plowing a field, and works by Maurice Braun, Alson Clark, Lawton Parker, Elmer Wachtel, Dedrick Stuber, Benjamin Chambers Brown, Gordon Coutts, Emile Gruppe, and Frederick Mulhaupt. Also featured are several paintings by Jessie Arms Botke and Cornelis Botke along with handwritten letters by Jessie explaining her methods and thoughts on her work. California School watercolors include works by Jake Lee, Art Riley, Milford Zornes, Rex Brandt, and Jack Laycox, and among the Western artists represented are Don Perceval, Marjorie Reed, and Edward Borein. <br /><br />
Moran’s posts images of sale highlights on their website,, and a full catalogue of the auction, with complete descriptions, condition reports and multiple images of every item, are now available at and at<br /><br />
Interested consignors should contact Moran’s specialists for a complimentary and discreet auction valuation. Moran’s offers highly competitive commission rates and pays consignors promptly, thirty days following the auction date. In addition to selling property on consignment at auction, Moran’s purchases select pieces outright, enabling a quick sale for even greater convenience. Consignment and cash buyout inquiries should be directed to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 626-793-1833. <br /><br />
Seven New World Records Set at John Moran Auctioneersí June 15th California and American Paintings A PDF Print
Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Pasadena, CA-- John Moran Auctioneers set seven new world auction records for American artists at their June 15th Fine Art Auction, the second of three such sales scheduled for 2010. They also established themselves yet again as the top house for sales of works by Joe Duncan Gleason (1881 – 1959), achieving a new second place record for the marine specialist with the sale of “Ships that Pass” for $115,000 (all prices include the 15% buyer’s premium).

The Gleason arrived fresh to the market, consigned by the descendants of the original owner who had commissioned it directly from the artist in the 1930’s. Principal Auctioneer John Moran and Art Sales Director Katie Halligan were delighted to discover the painting at one of Moran’s monthly walk-in Valuation Days, a free appraisal clinic conducted at the company offices in Southern California. A dynamically composed example of Gleason’s fascination with historical sailing vessels and his obsession with nautically accurate detail, the depiction of two brigantines exchanging salutes went on the block with a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 – 50,000. Mr. Moran brought down the gavel only after a protracted bidding war between a floor bidder and the ultimate winner, an international client who bid via telephone.

John Moran Auctioneers now holds ten out of the top twelve auction records for Gleason, including the world record of $161,000, established in February 2007 with the sale of “Avalon (Catalina Harbor)”. Moran’s also bested their own seventh place record for the artist on the 15th with another of his depictions of historical vessels, “Their Last Port,” showing three schooners as they lay retired in a Seattle dock, circa 1937. This work realized $34,500 (estimate: $20,000 – 30,000).

The new world records set on the 15th are led by the $18,400 realized for a scene of placer miners by William F. Chadwick (1828 - *). Chadwick painted the work detailing mining operations during the height of the California gold rush, producing a rare contemporary document of this pivotal moment in history. Though little is known about Chadwick, the painting’s high quality, along with collectors’ always-strong appetite for gold rush scenes, inspired the spirited bidding that propelled the final bid past four times the pre-sale estimate of $3000 – 4000.

“Redwood Grove at Big Trees, Santa Cruz, CA” set a new record for Lorenzo Latimer (1857 – 1941) when it achieved a final price of $12,650, and has an interesting history of its own. The dramatically lit oil, retaining its original carved frame and offered for $5000 – 7000, was reputedly given to the consignor’s family by Latimer himself in exchange for a set of clothes as he ran through the streets of San Francisco, taking refuge from the destruction of the 1906 earthquake and fire.

John Moran established a new top price for Carl Sammons (1883 – 1968) as well. His 24 x 30 – inch oil landscape of sun-bleached California hills, offered for $6000 – 8000, fetched $11,500. This was one of two exceptional works by Sammons in the sale, the other being a desert landscape with a broad sky, “Desert Clouds”, which also performed well, realizing $8050 (estimate: $6000 – 8000).

Depictions of antique transportation continue to capture collectors’ imaginations. Two such works in the auction established new top records for Wilfrid T. Mills (1912 – 1988) and Raymon A. Price (1901 – 1957). Price, a graduate of Los Angeles’s Chouinard Art Institute, was a commercial artist whose work appeared in magazines such as Sunset and Touring Topics. His watercolor of a New York trolley car in a windy, snow-blanketed street, “Horse-drawn Harlem,” found a buyer at $3450, setting a high bar for the first recorded sale of a work by the artist at auction. Mills had previous auction records, but the work offered at Moran’s on the 15th far exceeded those. His oil of a yellow Los Angeles trolley car (Photo 5) brought $7475, several times the estimate of $1000 – 1500.

John Moran has routinely established auction markets for talented American artists such as Mills and Price, and did so again on the 15th for Pasquale Giovanni Napolitano (1901 – 2001). The Naples, Italy-born sculptor, whose work is held in the collections of the LA County Museum and the De Young Museum, arrived in Los Angeles in 1912 and studied at the Otis Art Institute under Julia Wendt and Tolles Chamberlain. Moran’s realized $1700 for his plaster bust, the head from the original casting of a seven-foot sculpture, of California mission founder Father Junipero Serra, (estimate: $1000 – 1500). The auction also established yet another new top price, for the artist Ruth Alexander, a Laguna Beach painter active from the 1930’s through the 1950’s.

George Spangenberg (1907 – 1964) is another artist whose market John Moran has driven to new heights, currently holding his top two records. They achieved success again on the 15th, selling Spangenberg’s exquisite eucalyptus landscape, “Balboa Park” for $6900 (estimate: $4000 – 6000).

John Moran’s third and final California and American Painting Auction of 2010 is scheduled for October 19th and will also feature Western works, Regionalist and California Style watercolors and California and American Impressionists. Paintings already consigned include a Southern California ranch landscape by Charles Reiffel ($20,000 – 30,000) and a panoramic Bay of Naples view by Herman Herzog ($30,000 – 50,000).br />
John Moran’s next Antiques and Decorative Arts Auction will take place July 20th. This two-session sale promises to be one of the highlights of Moran’s 2010 sale calendar, and includes American and Continental fine art in addition to silver, porcelain, glass, clocks, bronzes and Continental furniture.

All of John Moran’s Auctions are held at the Pasadena Convention Center at 300 E. Green St in Pasadena, CA. Bidding is available from the floor, by telephone, absentee or online at For more information, or to view catalogues, please visit

All of John Moran’s sales are held at the Pasadena Convention center in Pasadena, CA. For more information about this sale, or for consignment inquiries for future sales, please call 626-793-1833 or email to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

ďLostĒ Cultural Treasure Brings Record Prices at Moranís February 16th Art Auction PDF Print
Wednesday, 30 June 2010

When it opened in 1953, on Grant Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Johnny Kan’s Restaurant was groundbreaking. Until that time, though Chinese immigrants had been in the United States for over a hundred years, most Americans knew only a purely American version of Chinese food, bearing little resemblance to the real thing, served in the many modest chop suey places found across the country. Kan’s was one of the first Chinese restaurants in the US to serve authentic Cantonese dishes in an elegant atmosphere. From the sumptuous dining rooms patrons watched the master chefs cooking in an innovative, glass-enclosed kitchen, and received service that was immaculate and refined. The restaurant soon became famous nationwide, boasting a steady clientele of international celebrities.

Happily, Mr. Kan’s entrepreneurial brilliance was united with a strong sense of pride in his heritage and love of his city. At one point in his career he campaigned to restore Chinatown to the way it had appeared before the 1906 earthquake and fire, and bring back the manufacturing shops that had once produced traditional products like lanterns and slippers. Though that effort failed, Mr. Kan did leave at least two enduring legacies behind when he died in 1972: a new American appreciation for fine Chinese food, and a unique series of twelve watercolors commissioned from the Chinese-American artist Jake Lee that chronicled the history of the Chinese people in the United States.

The watercolors were completed in the late 1950s or early 1960s and hung in one of Kan’s private banquet rooms, the Gum Shan (Golden Hills) Room, named after the term Chinese gold miners gave the United States when they first worked the Mother Lode. The large (41 X 31 inches) paintings were striking, boldly composed and brightly colored, packed with elaborate detail and figures in expressive poses engaged in the various cultural and commercial activities of Chinese immigrants of the previous century. In one spectacular scene, diners could see New Year’s Day dragon dancers roaring down a Chinatown street festooned with giant strands of popping firecrackers, while in another, vineyard workers stomped grapes on top of enormous barrels and turn a press by hand in Sonoma County. Another intriguing vignette showed railroad workers perilously suspended in woven baskets as they hack at a cliff in the Sierra Nevada, overhanging a section of track on the transcontinental railroad.

Johnny Kan’s prospered under the management of family members for many years after Mr. Kan’s death in 1972, then was sold to new owners and redecorated sometime in the 1980’s, at which point the paintings disappeared from view and their whereabouts became unknown. But thanks to descriptions of them in books and articles, reproductions like the postcards printed for Kan’s tenth anniversary in 1963, and the strong visual impression they left on those who had seen them in situ, they were not forgotten and were in fact eagerly sought after.

After decades in obscurity, eleven of them resurfaced out of the blue late last winter, when they were brought into one of the walk-in appraisal clinics held at John Moran Auctioneers in Southern California. Though not aware of the details of their background until later, John Moran’s art specialist Katie Halligan realized immediately they were a wonderful artistic achievement and exceptional examples of Jake Lee’s work, and also historical narrative of an impressive scale and depth. And judging by the number of onlookers who stopped to look at them that morning, they have an irresistible />
Each painting shows a “significant milestone for the Chinese people in the United States, and together they form a rich story”, says Sue Lee, Executive Director of the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA). A bustling dockside scene portrays the first Chinese immigrants arriving on a wooden vessel in 1849, leading to the scenes portrayed in each subsequent painting. Other scenes depict a complicated gold mining operation in the California hills, the China Camp shrimp fishery, slaughtering pigs on a farm, the Chinese Opera House in 1862, and the types of old shops that Mr. Kan had hoped to revive: a cigar factory and a lantern shop in San Francisco, and a shoe factory in Massachusetts in the 1870’s. According to a San Francisco restaurant guide published by Scribner’s in 1963, A Cook’s Tour of San Francisco by Doris Muscatine, a twelfth painting, still lost, depicted a champion Chinese fire hose team in Deadwood, South Dakota in 1888.

Accurate down to the last detail, the paintings reflect the year’s worth of research that the artist invested in them, and the many archival photographs and documents mined to create a single scene. Ms. Lee, who had been seeking out leads on the lost works for years, has traced many of these sources, such as a lithograph that appeared in an 1870’s issue of Harper’s Magazine that may have provided the model for the barrels in the Sonoma wine making scene.

The paintings, unsurprisingly, attracted competitive bidding when they went up for sale at John Moran’s Febrary 16th California Art Auction, each carrying pre-sale estimates of $3000 – 5000. Though calm at first, bidding quickly gathered momentum and became heated as they were offered one by one, and by the end of the evening all but one of the paintings had sold over the high estimate, and six of them had broken, and one tied, the artist’s previous record high price of $7475, established by Moran’s in 2005. Two of them, the railroad scene and the gold mining scene, realized a hefty $16,100 each, while the shoe shop and shrimp camp scenes realized $12,650 and $11,000 respectively. All together the eleven paintings realized $105,800, including a 15% buyer’s premium, a remarkable result.

Seven of the paintings are now back in their city of origin, at a permanent home at the CHSA. Spotting the objects of her search in Moran’s catalogue just three days before they were scheduled to go on the block, Ms. Lee managed in that short time to raise donations to back the CHSA’s bid for them. Describing her first experience of buying at auction as “exhilarating,” Ms. Lee says the acquisitions are “a community treasure,” and plans to display them at the museum in Chinatown are underway, and it is possible that the other paintings, which sold to private collectors, may appear beside them on a loan arrangement.

More information about the CHSA can be found at their website,

By Annemarie Nollar
John Moran Auctioneers

First Fine Art Sale of 2010 a Success at Moran's PDF Print
Thursday, 25 March 2010



Pasadena, CA – Impressionist landscapes, Western works, and California School watercolors took center stage on February 16th at John Moran Auctioneers’ first California and American Art Auction of 2010. Well over three hundred bidders from across the country registered for the auction, with a third of them bidding online through

Moran’s nation-wide reach was nicely demonstrated when a lovely oil, Lot 81, by Hew Hope, PA artist Fern Coppedge (1883 – 1951), attracted a full bank of phone bidders from the East Coast and Midwest. The competition drove the final price of “Summer”, a scene of the Delaware and Raritan Canal near Lumberville, to $86,250 from a pre-sale estimate of $25,000 – 35,000 (all prices include the 15% buyer’s premium.) Also drawing numerous East Coast bidders was a marvelously detailed scene of old New York City, identifiable from the painted street sign as Gold Street in lower Manhattan. The 27” x 44” oil by Henry A. Ferguson (1845 – 1911), Lot 148, achieved the third-highest auction price for the artist, realizing $23,000 (estimate: $7000 – 10,000.) Other East Coast works that performed well were a coastal with crashing waves and a brilliantly lit, cloud-filled sky marine by specialist Frederick Judd Waugh (1861 – 1940), Lot 76, which brought $10,925 (estimate: $3000 – 5000), and a two-piece lot by Robert Swain Gifford (1840 – 1905), a coastal and a scene of an Indian encampment, that realized $9,200 (estimate: 2000 – 3000).

California Impressionists continue to shine at John Moran’s, which has led the market in this collecting area since its resurgence in popularity in the 1980’s. Lot 15, a glorious oil by Jean Mannheim (1863 – 1945) of a woman reclining beside a lily pond titled “Happiness”, is believed to portray the artist’s daughter. Aptly titled, the 34” x 39” work exudes joy in its bright palette, lush brushwork, and the smile and relaxed pose of the sitter. The final selling price of $54,625 far exceeded the pre-sale estimate of $20,000 – 30,000, and set a new second-place record for the artist. A watercolor by Gunnar Widforss (1879 – 1934) of the interior of a redwood grove, Lot 30, displays his supreme ability to describe fine detail in this difficult medium. It also shot past its pre-sale estimate of $10,000 – 15,000, realizing $21,850. A poppy field landscape (Lot 32) by Granville Redmond (1871 – 1935) measuring only 12” x 16” but including all the most desirable elements of his exuberant Impressionist style, performed nicely at $46,000 (estimate: $30,000 – 40,000), while another small gem, Lot 5, a beautifully colored and structured snowy landscape in oil by George Gardner Symons (1863 – 1930) measuring 8” x 10”, realized $5750 (estimate: $2000 – 3000).

A carefully edited group of California Style watercolors was responsible for much of the excitement on Tuesday, due largely to an intriguing and historically important series of eleven 41” x 31” watercolors by Chinese-American artist Jake Lee (1915 – 1991). Chronicling the activities of Chinese people in early California through scenes of commerce, industry, agriculture and cultural events, the colorful paintings are full of lively and witty detail and are not only some of the best examples of the artist’s work known to exist, but had been missing for many years. Originally commissioned by the owner of a restaurant on Grant Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown to decorate his dining room, the series had been placed in storage after the restaurant was sold. Their memory preserved by photographs that had taken in situ, they roused keen interest when they suddenly resurfaced at John Moran’s. Each painting was sold individually, each with an estimate of $3000 – 5000. The first painting to go on the block, a scene of a New Year’s Dragon Dance, sold within the estimate, but was the only one to do so, as bidding for the remaining paintings grew increasingly competitive. By the time the dust settled, six of the paintings had broken the previous record price for the artist. Two of them, Lot 94, a depiction of workers forging the Transcontinental Railroad through the Sierra Nevada, and Lot 118, a scene of workers mining for gold, realized $16,100 each. Lot 116, of shoemakers in a shop, brought $12,650. Lot 117, of a shrimp camp, and 119, of winemaking in Napa Valley, each realized $11,500. A scene of craftsmen making Chinese lanterns, Lot 115, brought $8050.

Another collection of watercolors came to the market directly from a descendant of the artist Lee Blair (1911 – 1993). Three works by Blair, his wife Mary (1911 – 1978) and brother Preston (1908 – 1995) each more than doubled their pre-sale estimates. Moran’s was delighted to establish the first significant auction record for Preston Blair with the sale of his striking night scene of Victorian houses on Los Angeles’s Bunker Hill (Lot 86) for $6,900 (estimate: $1000 – 2000.)

Highlights in the category of Western art included a portrait of an Indian, “John Hunter,” (Lot 45) by Canadian artist Nicolas de Grandmaison (1892 – 1978) that brought $19,550 (estimate: $4000 – 6000), and a gorgeously lit Gilbert Gaul (1855 – 1919) scene of a Sioux camp featuring an Indian on horseback at sunset (Lot 51) that sold for $14,950 (estimate: $4000 – 6000).

John Moran’s next California and American Art Sale is scheduled for June 15th, 2010. Consignments are now invited. John Moran also conducts monthly Estate Auctions of fine antiques, decorative arts and European art. The next Estate Auction will be held on March 16th, 2010 and will feature Tiffany art glass, Native American artifacts, and European paintings. This two-session sale will begin with the no-reserve, un-catalogued Discovery Sale at 3pm. The fully catalogued Evening Session will begin at 6pm. Bidding is available from the floor, by telephone, absentee or online at All auctions are held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA.

For more information, or to view the catalogue, please visit, or call 626-793-1833, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


John Moran Auctioneers is delighted to begin 2010 with a fine sale of California art PDF Print
Wednesday, 24 March 2010


Pasadena, CA –John Moran Auctioneers is delighted to begin the 2010 auction season with a sale of California and American Art distinguished by extraordinary quality throughout. The Tuesday, February 16th event is one of Moran’s signature tri-annual Art Auctions, marquee events attended by private collectors and dealers nationwide. John Moran expects that the exceptional selection of iconic works by top artists, offered at a time when confidence is returning to the market, will make this one of the strongest sales in the family-owned company’s 41-year history.

Of the nearly 200 lots of plein-air landscapes, western works and Regionalist watercolors, a quarter come from a single private collection in Orange County, CA that includes multiple standout works by Frank Tenney Johnson, Edgar Paxson, Olaf Wieghorst and Joseph Kleitsch. One of the four important works by Wieghorst (1899 – 1988), titled “Trouble on the Trail”, depicts a terrifying encounter in between bears, a cowboy and horses on a mountain trail. With a wealth of bravura brushwork and dramatic detail, including a fearsome set of bear’s teeth, the 28.5” x 38” canvas is a supreme example of Wieghorst’s narrative abilities (estimate: $30,000 – 50,000).

Works fresh to the market from other private collections comprise the bulk of the rest of the sale, with the headline lot an effervescent Taos, NM landscape by Russian-born artist Nicolai Fechin (1881 – 1955). Signed and dated 1925, the oil on canvas of a sycamore and figures vibrates with broken light and a rough texture, and exhibits the qualities collectors prize in Fechin’s works: bold use of the palette knife, energetic line underpinned by a controlled composition, and his signature color sense. Having achieved great success in 2008 with the sale of Fechin’s portrait of W.G. Watt, “The Wood Engraver”, for $1,092,500, Moran’s is very pleased to offer “The (Sycamore) Tree” with an estimate of $250,000 – 350,000.

Of the many other sale highlights, collectors will be pleased to a find the New Hope, PA colony represented by the Fauve-influenced “Summer”, an oil depicting a barge on the Delaware and Raritan Canal, near Lumberville by Philadelphia Ten member Fern Coppedge (1885 – 1951) (estimate: $25,000/35,000). An array of California works form a veritable survey of the best of the California Impressionists, including: a fine example of Granville Redmond’s sunny poppy landscapes (estimate: $30,000/40,000); a poetic waterfront nocturne by Charles Rollo Peters (1862-1928), titled “Belvedere”?(estimate: $20,000/30,000); an intensely colored and patterned harbor scene, ''Under the Wharf'', by Monterey artist Armin Hansen (1886-1957)(estimate: $20,000/30,000); and one of Alson S. Clark’s (1876 – 1949) classic Paris scenes, a view of the Ile de la Cité dated 1900 (estimate: $20,000-30,000).

John Moran Auctioneer’s Tuesday, February 16th sale will begin promptly at 6:30pm at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA. Previewing will begin at 12 noon. Bidding for this sale is available from the floor, by phone and absentee as well as online via A fully illustrated catalog of this sale will be available on Moran’s website prior to the auction. For more information on this important sale, or to order a printed catalogue, or for information about their monthly Antiques and Jewelry Auctions, please call the offices of John Moran Auctioneers at (626) 793-1833 or visit their website at

Moran's Sets New World Records at June California and American Paintings Sale PDF Print
Monday, 17 August 2009

Pasadena, CA – A large crowd filled the Pasadena Convention Center on Tuesday, June 23rd in anticipation of John Moran Auctioneer’s second California and American Paintings Sale for 2009. In an encouraging sign for the art market, the number of first-time bidders increased significantly over that of previous auctions, while established clients returned in force. Results were strong, with gross sales totaling just shy of $1 million on the 121 lots sold. Several new world auction records were also set.

The first world record of the evening was for a work by Southern California artist Ben Abril (1923-1995). His “Angels Flight Pharmacy, Bunker Hill, Los Angeles exceeded expectations, selling for $13,800. The very next lot also broke the previous record for Abril, becoming the second highest price realized for this artist. “Summer 1959, Old Edison Building looking South from Bunker Hill Ave” realized $12,650.
The biggest surprise of the evening was lot 72, an oil on board by California artist Anna Katherine Skeele (1896 – 1963). “Child of Taos” Estimated to bring $4-6,000, it quickly generated a flurry of bidding from the phones and floor and finally settled at a world record price of $40,250. This result more than doubled the previous record, set in 2007.
The final world record of the evening was achieved late in the sale. “Reno,” a watercolor and gouache by California Style artist Jack Laycox (California 1921-1984), is a busy nighttime street scene depicting brilliant flashes of light from signs and buildings, with a Hurrah’s sign prominent among them. Expected to earn $7,000 on the high side, this engaging work realized $13,800, breaking Moran’s own record for this artist set in October 2007.
Early in the sale, a bright, highly textured oil by Dedrick Stuber (California, 1878-1954) entitled “Big Tujunga Wash” sold for well over the estimate at $5,462. An oil by Maurice Braun entitled “A Bend in the Stream” was estimated to bring $25,000 on the high side. It sold to a pleased bidder for $31,625.
“Casa de Pintores” was signed by Ralph Holmes (California, 1876-1963) and, interestingly, also by eight other prominent artists. The verso carries an inscription in Holmes’s hand reading “in 1927 this composite was made- each added something and signed.” The oil almost doubled its high estimate, realizing $8,050. Moran holds the record for this artist for the February 2008 sale of “The Landing” for $13,800.
Among the other strong and notable sales was the $24,200 achieved for “Grand Canyon Vista” by Hanson Puthuff. $48,875 was realized for “Moonlit Poplars” by Birger Sandzen and “Down the Beach” by Phil Dike sold very well for $28,750.
John Moran’s next important auction of California and American Paintings will be held on October 13, 2009. Several significant works have already been consigned for this sale, including two oils by Maurice Braun, both entitled “Eucalyptus,” and a spectacular oil by William Wendt entitled “Spring.” Moran’s art sales feature California and American Impressionist oil paintings and watercolors painted prior to the 1950s.
John Moran’s next Antiques and Fine Furnishings Estate auction will be held in two sessions on Tuesday, July 28th. Among the highlights of this sale will be property from the Donald A. Cole Living Trust and collections from notable Beverly Hills and San Francisco estates.
Bidding for Moran sales is available in person, by phone, absentee and via the internet through All sales are held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California. their upcoming July 28th or October 13th sales or to consign, please call the offices of John Moran at (626) 296-6642 or visit
Moranís Oct. 13, 2009 Art Auction to Feature Outstanding Selection of CA Impressionist Paintings PDF Print
Monday, 17 August 2009

Pasadena, CA – John Moran Auctioneers is delighted to announce the third of their 2009 California and American Art Auctions, to be held Tuesday, October 13th. Showcasing a spectacular selection of pre-1945 California plein air landscapes, California Style watercolors, and Western art drawn from private collections across the country, including definitive works by pre-eminent California Impressionists such as William Wendt, Granville Redmond, Maurice Braun and Paul Lauritz, as well as several unusual and historical pieces, this well-rounded sale promises to mark an exciting chapter in the 40-year history of the family-owned company.

Leading the selections from top California plein air painters is one of the most important works by the celebrated Granville Redmond (1871-1935) to arrive on the market in recent years, a magnificent 30" x 40" landscape with oaks, poppies & lupine (PHOTO 1). In this classic, exquisitely composed example of Redmond’s exuberant Impressionist style, the artist’s mastery of color and technique are fully evident, as is the pure joy inspired by nature. This painting has remained in the same family since about 1930, when the original owner, who worked in the film industry and became acquainted with Redmond during visits to Charlie Chaplin’s studio, purchased it directly from the artist. Moran’s is thrilled to offer it on behalf of the family with an estimate of $500,000/700,000.

In a more rugged style, but equally stunning, is a mountain landscape by Paul Lauritz (1889-1975) depicting Nine Lakes Basin, High Sierras (PHOTO 2). Lauritz’s robust technique reflects the rockiness of the snow-capped peaks in this sweeping 28" x 32" view. The oil is offered at $10,000/15,000, and is one of five Lauritz paintings slated for the sale. Moran’s set the current record auction price for Lauritz in October 2008 with a view of Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island that realized $74,750.

Spring by William Wendt (1865-1946) (PHOTO 3) captures a different kind of grandeur. Wendt’s signature combination of rich greens and browns, deep shadows, bold, interlocking shapes, and broad brushstrokes to imbue a gentle landscape of rolling hills with a monumental sense of space and a deep spirituality is displayed in all its glory in this work, which Wendt exhibited several times between 1916 – 1919. Spring is expected to realize between $50,000 and $70,000.

Moran’s is offering no fewer than six paintings by another top name in California Impressionism: Maurice Braun (1877-1941). Holding the current auction high record price for Braun, Moran’s expects to continue their success with these five landscapes and a coastal ranging in estimates from $4000 up to $50,000 at the high end. Two of these highly desirable oils depict that iconic California art subject, the eucalyptus tree, with the larger (34.25" x 30.25") estimated at $30,000/50,000 and the 24" x 20" estimated at $25,000/35,000.

Another important San Diego artist, Charles Reiffel (1862-1942), is known for his highly textured paint surfaces and unusual use of color. Moran’s will offer two impressive works by Reiffel: Huckleberry Hill, estimated at $20,000/30,000, revels in a riot of bright greens and yellows, while 30’’ x 36’’ scene of houses in a winter landscape (PHOTO 4), estimated at $30,000/50,000, captures the delicate tones of snow drifts patterned with the shadows of tree branches.

Pasadena’s landmark Colorado Street Bridge, with its massive arches spanning the Arroyo Seco, has been a favorite subject of artists since it was built in 1913, and is featured in a lovely, expansive view by Austrian-born California artist Henry Richter (1870 – 1960) (PHOTO 5). The twilight depiction of the Beaux Arts structure surrounded by trees and rocks and the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains carries an estimate of $4,000/6,000.

Among the California Style selections are watercolors by Emil Kosa, Jr., Millard Sheets, and Rex Brandt, as well as a large oil by Lee Everett Blair (1911-1993), titled Griffith Park, c.1937 (PHOTO 6), estimated at $5,000/7,000. Blair, who worked in film production for most of his life, displays a keen dramatic sense in this striking work, with an unusual aerial viewpoint through treetops and a brightly lit foreground sprinkled with highlighted figures set against misty grey hills receding into the distance. Moran’s holds the record for Blair’s work sold at auction, achieved in February 2009, with a watercolor view of the Brooklyn docks.

Peter Ellenshaw (1913-2007), another movie industry artist whose work can be seen in classics such as Mary Poppins, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Spartacus, produced landscapes and coastals that sparkle with clear light and crisp, almost photorealistic detail. Aspen Grove (PHOTO 7), an oil on canvas measuring 24" x 48.25", is a meditative work of harmonized pattern and color. Moran’s has an excellent track record for sales of Ellenshaw’s work, and Aspen Grove is expected to realize between $10,000 and $15,000.

Modernism is well represented in the October sale, by a 24’’ x 20’’ abstract oil by the Synchronist Stanton MacDonald-Wright (1890 – 1973). “Metaphysical Landscape,” offered for $20,000 - $30,000, was painted in 1962.

At the opposite end of the timeline of California’s art history, one of the state’s earliest artists, Norton Bush (1834 – 1894), is famed for his lush South and Central American tropical landscapes inspired by a sea voyage he took around Cape Horn. One such work, a scene of a punt on a lake surrounded by dense foliage, glows with a pristine, clear light, and is offered for $10,000 – 15,000.

East Coast selections include two works depicting their artists’ trademark subjects: a snowy New York street scene by Guy Carleton Wiggins (1883 – 1962) and a scene of cows grazing by Edward Volkert (1871 – 1935). Wiggins’ ‘Mid-Town Storm’ is offered for $15,000 – 20,000 while Volkert’s “New England Pasture” should bring $3,000 – 5,000. Other non-California artists in the sale include William Aiken Walker, Karl Buehr, Bruce Crane, Albert Beck Wenzell, Walter Ufer, Leonard Howard Reedy and Frederick Remington.

Additional sale highlights, from a total of 180 lots, are a nocturne by Charles Rollo Peters, three watercolor florals by Paul de Longpre, an Emil Carlsen still life, two Joseph Raphael oils, five sculptures by Robert Merrell Gage, several Bunker Hill scenes by Ben Abril, multiple works by Jack Wilkinson Smith, Alson Clark, and Joe Duncan Gleason, and Franz Bischoff. An enchanting, highly detailed small work by Jessie Arms Botke, ‘Fairy Tale Reflection,’ offered for $2,500 – 3,500, is also not to be missed.

John Moran Auctioneer’s October 13th sale will begin promptly at 6:30pm on Tuesday, October 13th at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA. Previewing will begin at 12 noon. Bidding for this sale is available from the floor, by phone and absentee as well as online via A fully illustrated catalog of this sale will be available on Moran’s website prior to the auction. For more information on this important sale, or to order a printed catalogue, please call the offices of John Moran Auctioneers at (626) 793-1833 or visit their website at

Photo Captions:

PHOTO 1:Moran.Redmond.Oct09: This 30" x 40" landscape with oaks, poppies & lupine, estimated at $500,000/700,000, is one of the best examples of work by Granville Redmond (1871-1935) to appear on the market in recent years.

PHOTO 2:Moran.Lauritz.Oct09: Paul Lauritz’s 28" x 32" view of Nine Lakes Basin, High Sierras will be offered at Moran’s October Art Auction with an estimate of $10,000/15,000

PHOTO 3: Moran.Wendt.Oct09: Spring by William Wendt is expected to realize between $50,000 and $70,000.

PHOTO 4:Moran.Reiffel.Oct09: This 30’’ x 36’’ depiction of houses in a winter landscape by Charles Reiffel will be offered at Moran’s October sale for $30,000/50,000.

PHOTO 5:Moran.Richter.Oct09: The landmark Colorado Street bridge over Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco is captured in this 28’’ x 38’’ oil by Henry Richter (1870 – 1960) estimated at $4,000/6,000.

PHOTO 6: Moran.Blair.Oct09: Griffith Park, c.1937 by Lee Everett Blair carries a pre-sale estimate of $5,000/7000.

PHOTO 7: Moran.Ellenshaw.Oct09: Peter Ellenshaw’s Aspen Grove is expected to realize between $10,000 and $15,000.


California Impressionists Weather the Storm at John Moranís October 13, 2009 California and American PDF Print
Monday, 17 August 2009

Pasadena, CA - While a rare, heavy rainstorm pounded outside, all was sunshine and roses inside the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA on the evening of October 13th, 2009, as John Moran Auctioneers held the third of their 2009 California and American Painting Auctions. With 183 lots, the sale featured an impressive array of landscapes, coastals and floral studies by top California Impressionists and Regionalist painters. Works by Granville Redmond, William Wendt, Maurice Braun, Jack Wilkinson Smith and many others drew a large crowd and demonstrated that the market, though more focused than in previous years, remains strong.


Some of the most hotly contested bidding was generated by Lot 58, a depiction of a view well loved by Pasadena residents and artists since the early 20th century, that of the landmark Colorado Bridge from the edge of the Arroyo Seco canyon (photo 1). This large (28”x38”), panoramic scene of the Beaux Arts structure set against the San Gabriel mountains, bathed in a gorgeous sunset glow, was painted by Howard R. Butler (1856 – 1934), a member of the National Academy who is primarily associated with New York and New Jersey, but who spent several years in California and is known as a specialist in landscapes and paintings of solar eclipses. With dueling phone bidders opening the bidding, the battle was eventually won by a floor bidder who held out to a final price of $14,950, on a presale estimate of $4,000-6,000.


Another top performer by a Pasadena artist was a lyrical foothill landscape, lush with wildflowers and a misty atmosphere, painted by John Frost (1880 – 1937) in 1929 (photo 2). Displaying the influence of the artist’s sojourn in Giverny and of his friendship with pre-eminent California Impressionist Guy Rose, the 18”x22” work, Lot 51, carried a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-40,000. The winning bid came in over the phone lines, at $54,625.


The Norwegian-born California landscape specialist, Paul Lauritz (1889 – 1975), was well represented in the sale with six works. John Moran holds ten of the top twelve auction records for this individualistic and highly respected artist, including the top two, so it was no surprise that his works performed well on Tuesday. Lot 84, Nine Lake Basin, High Sierras, a grand 28”x32” view of snowy peaks displaying Lauritz’s signature bold textures, solid forms and confident brushwork, brought $19,550 (pre-sale estimate $10,000-15,000), while Lot 48, the exquisitely colored “Old Road” (also known as “Road to Laguna”) (photo 3), a 32”x36” oil estimated at $15,000-20,000 realized $23,000.


Leading artist Franz Bischoff (1864 – 1929) was also featured with multiple works, including a last-minute sale addition, Lot 145A, a signed ceramic vase painted with roses (photo 4). Bischoff, known as the “King of Rose Painters”, began his artistic career as a ceramics painter, eventually founding his own ceramic art school. After settling in Pasadena he included a ceramic workshop in his Arroyo Seco studio. The vase offered at John Moran’s on Tuesday was a prime example of his fine work in this medium, and the buyers seemed to appreciate this, bidding it up to a final price of $16,100, the second highest price on record for a Bischoff ceramic.


Among the many California Regionalist works in the sale, including watercolors by Emil Kosa, Jr., Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Rex Brandt and Milford Zornes, was a remarkable 1937 oil (photo 5) by Lee Everett Blair (1911 – 1993). With an unusual aerial viewpoint, looking down over the treetops on picnickers in Los Angeles’s Griffith Park, the 30”x34” painting attracted many bids, and in the end realized a new world record for the artist of $9,775, almost double the estimate. Moran’s now holds the top three records for the artist.


Several other new artist records were set during the evening, including those for California artists Darwin Musselman, Wilfrid Mills, Bjorn Rye and Merrell Gage, the sculptor.


John Moran’s next major California and American Paintings Auction is scheduled for February 16, 2010 at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena CA. Consignments for that sale are still open, and early highlights include a fresh-to-the-market Granville Redmond poppies landscape and a landscape with barn by Society of Six member August Gay.


Moran’s next, and final, 2009 auction is their Estates Auction, including fine jewelry, scheduled for December 8 at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena CA. This two-session sale will begin with the no-reserve, un-catalogued Discovery Sale at 3pm. The fully catalogued Evening Session will begin at 6pm. Previewing for both sessions begins at noon. Bidding is available from the floor, by telephone, absentee or online at For more information, to register, or to view the catalogue, please visit John Moran’s website at or call 626-793-1833.




PHOTO 1:Moran.Butler.October09.jpg: This stunning view of Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge by Howard R. Butler, inspired intense bidding at Moran’s October sale, realizing $14,950.


PHOTO 2:Moran.Frost.October09.jpg: John Moran offered this lovely work by John Frost with at the October auction, where it realized $54,625.


PHOTO 3:Moran.Lauritz.October09.jpg: Paul Lauritz’s “Road to Laguna” was fresh to the market at John Moran’s October sale, having descended through the family of the original owner, who purchased it from the artist. It realized $23,000.


PHOTO 4:Moran.Bischoff.October09.jpg: This last-minute addition to John Moran’s sale ended up fetching the second highest auction price ever for a Franz Bischoff ceramic, $16,100.


PHOTO 5:Moran.Blair.October09.jpg: Setting a new record for Regionalist Lee Everett Blair, this oil of Griffith Park, circa 1937, realized $9,775 at John Moran’s.




John Moran Auctioneers California and American Paintings Sale Slated for June 23, 2009 PDF Print
Wednesday, 06 May 2009
John Moran Auctioneers, Inc. is delighted to offer a strong selection of over 150 paintings, drawings and sculpture in our June 23rd sale of California and American Paintings. The offerings encompass California Plein Air painting, California Tonalism, California Style watercolors, important and historic Western art, East Coast and regional painting.
A rare Laguna Beach coastal view by William Wendt leads the California Plein Air selections. Estimated at $100,000 / 150,000, this 25" x 30" canvas dated 1915 showcases the artist's robust brushwork and an intense palette that contrasts the deep blues of the water with the brown and green coastal hillside.
'Docking' by Maurice Braun, estimated at $20,000 / 30,000, is a particularly fine example of the artist's fascination with both European and Southern California harbor scenes. Painted with the    pastel palette that Braun typically used for this subject, the oil depicts a group of boats beside a harbor village.
John Marshall Gamble’s landscapes of flower-filled California hillsides are always sought after. No exception will be “Bush Lupine Near Del Monte,” a classic example of Gamble’s work. The oil measuring 25’’ x 40’’ is offered at $90,000 / 120,000. 
Fresh to the market and a highlight of the East Coast selections is a lovely, sun-drenched pastoral scene of cows grazing by Edward Volkert, known as 'America's Cattle Painter.’ The 16" x 20" canvas showcases the artist's rich brushwork, masterful depiction of light and sensitivity to the subject, and is estimated at $10,000 / 15,000.
Three works by Swedish-American artist Birger Sandzen, an oil and two lithographs, will be offered. The oil, a nocturne titled ‘Moonlit Poplars,’ is a prime example of Sandzen’s ability to beautifully harmonize a vivid palette, bold composition and his trademark pointillist technique. It is estimated at $40,000 / 60,000.
An atmospheric coastal by William Trost Richards depicting a dramatic view of - presumably English - coastal cliffs, soaring birds and distant ships is estimated at $20,000 / 25,000. The watercolor and gouache on paper is signed and dated 1885.
Watercolors by artists from both coasts will feature prominently in the sale. Henry Gasser, known for his carefully composed, dynamic scenes of everyday life in his home state of New Jersey, is represented by a casein on paperboard titled "From Hamilton Hill". This particularly charming example of Gasser’s work, which was featured in a 1950 promotional brochure for Grumbacher artist supplies, is a detailed, bird’s-eye view of a coastal village blanketed in snow.
Other prominent watercolorists represented at the Moran sale include Millard Sheets, Emil Kosa, Jr., Milford Zornes, Phil Dike, and Percy Gray among others.
Bidders will also be pleased to find a strong selection of works by historic Western artists, including Charles Marion Russell, LaVerne Nelson Black, Katherine Steele, Gustave Baumann, Ernest Martin Hennings, Eanger Irving Couse and others. Russell’s beautifully executed ink drawing "The Whisperin' Disturbs Mr. Bear" reveals the artist's legendary sense of humor. Estimated at $15,000 / 20,000, it was widely exhibited and has been in private hands for many years.
Many other important California and American artists will be offered, among them Charles Rollo Peters, Will Sparks, Granville Redmond, Paul Lauritz, Edgar Payne, Marion Kavanagh Wachtel, Joseph Raphael, Hovsep Pushman, Joe Duncan Gleason, Alson Clark, Alfred Mitchell, Paul Lauritz, and Conrad Buff.

John Moran Auctioneers’ California and American Fine Art Sale will begin at 6:30pm on Tuesday, February 17, 2009, at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA. Previewing will begin at 12 noon. Bidding for this sale is available from the floor, by phone and absentee as well as online via A fully illustrated catalog of this sale is available on the website at

For more information on this important sale, please call the offices of John Moran Auctioneers at (626) 793-1833 or visit their website at

John Moran Auctioneers February 17, 2009 California and American Paintings Sale PDF Print
Friday, 09 January 2009

John Moran Auctioneers is pleased to offer 200 works by important California and American artists at their February 17, 2009 Auction. The sale will feature one of the strongest selections of artworks in the company’s 40-year history, including works by pre-eminent California artist Guy Rose and the renowned American painter/illustrator Maxfield Parrish.


The Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966 Cornish, NH) is an exceptional art-buying opportunity. The oil-on-board is one of twenty-six illustrations Parrish created for Louise Sanders’ book “The Knave of Hearts,” published by Scribner’s in 1925, and arguably the artist’s most abundantly and beautifully illustrated book. The painting depicts a youth speaking to a frog and is highly characteristic of Parrish’s popular style, with his trademark use of saturated color and elegant design. Estimated to sell between $125,000 - 175,000, it was for many years in the collection of Susan Lewin, the artist's longtime companion and frequent model.


A gem-like portrait of a seated woman by Guy Rose (1867-1925 Pasadena, CA), simply titled “Nude”, exemplifies Rose's singular ability to contrast a painterly human form against the bold and colorful patterning of a kimono. The exquisite, signed painting comes to auction from a private collection and is expected to sell between $80,000 - 100,000. Moran holds the second-highest auction record for Guy Rose, achieved in 2001 with the sale of his “Early Morning Summertime” for just over $1.2 million.


Among the Western art selections, an important work by Western painter Carl Moon (1879-1948 San Francisco, CA) depicts an Indian Chief on horseback in elaborate headdress and clothing. The oil on canvas is offered with an estimate of $7000 – 9000.


A quintessential snowy New York City scene by Guy Wiggins (1883-1962 New York, NY) is estimated to sell between $30,000 - 50,000. Titled “5th Avenue Storm,” the oil depicts a view of 5th Avenue looking north with the iconic marble lions on the steps of the New York Public Library and the flag of New York City flying above them. 


John Moran Auctioneers’ California and American Fine Art Sale will begin at 6:30pm on Tuesday, February 17, 2009, at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA. Previewing will begin at 12 noon. Bidding for this sale is available from the floor, by phone and absentee as well as online via A fully illustrated catalog of this sale is available on the website at

For more information on this important sale, please call the offices of John Moran Auctioneers at (626) 793-1833 or visit their website at


John Moran Auctioneers to offer original Maxfield Parrish oil PDF Print
Wednesday, 05 November 2008

John Moran Auctioneers is pleased to offer an original Maxfield Parrish oil painting, "Knave of hearts" at February 17, 2009 Sale.

“Knave of Hearts’ was created by the renowned painter and illustrator in 1924. At this time Parrish was the best-known and most widely disseminated artist in America, his images for magazines, advertisements, calendars, and books, particularly children’s books, having been reproduced by the millions. The prints of his oil paintings that were commissioned specifically for reproduction were displayed in a vast number of American houses, and the demand for Parrish’s visions of a fantastical world, painted in rich colors with enchanting details, remained insatiable well into the 1940’s. The distinctive dream-like quality of his paintings and illustrations is enhanced by his use of high contrast and his technique of applying multiple layers of thin oil paint, alternating with layers of varnish, which created a glowing surface. His use of cobalt blue became such a trademark that it was often referred to as “Parrish Blue.”

Born in 1870 to the Philadelphia etcher and landscape painter Stephen Parrish, Maxfield Parrish originally intended to study architecture and enrolled at Haverford College. Deciding to devote himself to art, he moved on to the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts and the Drexel Institute, where he attended classes taught by the important illustrator Howard Pyle. Pyle influenced Parrish heavily, though the young artist had already developed a style of his own. His early work as an illustrator of magazine covers, particularly Collier’s, established his reputation and earned him a prosperous living. He worked in Philadelphia until 1898, when he moved to a house called “The Oaks” on an estate in Plainfield, New Hampshire. Except for a stretch of time in the first decade of the century spent in Arizona recovering from tuberculosis, he lived at “The Oaks” until his death in 1966. He had four children with his wife, Lydia, from whom he grew estranged, and after 1905 shared his household with Susan Lewin, his muse and the model for most of his important paintings and murals.

Parrish illustrated books for such famous authors as Kenneth Grahame, L. Frank Baum, and Edith Wharton, among others. During the last thirty years of his career he painted only landscapes. Among the large number of murals he created are “Old King Cole”, in the St. Regis Hotel in New York and “The Pied Piper” in the bar at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

John Moran Auctioneers Closes 2008 Art Season With World Records And Over $6 Million In Sales PDF Print
Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Pasadena, CA – On Tuesday evening, October 21st, John Moran Auctioneers hosted the third of their tri-annual California and American Paintings sales for 2008. Earning over $1.3 million on just 162 lots, the sale set five new world auction records and bidding was competitive and brisk throughout the evening. There were 238 bidders in the saleroom and on the phones, plus 174 registered bidders online. (Prices stated here include buyer’s premium).

Riding a virtual economic roller coaster, the 2008 art season for John Moran realized over $6.2 million on just shy of 600 works offered —one of the strongest seasons in the firm’s history.

World record prices were realized for both California and American artists. Early in the sale lots 40 and 41, both by Paul Lauritz (California, 1889-1951) sold above the existing auction record for the artist.  Avalon Harbor - Sugar Loaf Point, a signed oil on canvas, was estimated to bring $30-$50K. John Moran opened the bidding at $30,000 and a battle between floor and phone ensued, driving the sale price to a record of $66,137. Immediately following was Avalon Harbor - Lover’s Cove and Abalone Point, painted from Sugar Loaf, which sold solidly for $44,000, the second highest price ever realized for this artist. John Moran Auctioneers is the world leader in selling works by Paul Lauritz and holds 8 of the top 10 prices realized for this artist.

World auction records continued to be set when Michigan artist Joseph W. Gies’ (1860-1935) lovely oil on canvas of a young girl reading in the sunshine, sold at $8,812.

California artist Benjamin C. Brown (1865-1942) was represented with his very rich watercolor depicting eucalyptus, poppies and lupine on a hillside. Moran started the bidding on this work at $4,000. It skyrocketed quickly to a new world record for a watercolor by this artist, selling for $31,630 solidly surpassing its high estimate of $9,000.

Toward the end of the evening, the final world record was set on New York artist George Inness Jr. (1854-1926). “The Newborn,” a signed oil on canvas of a shepherdess with her flock, was estimated to sell for $7,000 – 10,000. Brisk bidding on this work escalated the final sale price to $13,800, setting a new world record, which had previously been held by Christie’s since 1990.

John Moran Auctioneers will begin their 2009 California and American art season on Tuesday evening, February 17th. In anticipation of an exceptional sale, they have already secured an important oil painting by Maxfield Parrish (New Hampshire 1870-1953).   “Heading for Knave of Hearts” depicts a young boy talking to a frog and is a painting from the artist’s 1925 children’s book “Knave of Hearts”.  The oil is estimated to bring $125,000 - $175,000.

All John Moran auctions are held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA. Bidding is available from the floor, by phone and absentee, as well as, online via eBay Live Auctions/Live Auctioneers. A fully illustrated catalog of each sale is available on their website prior to the auction. For more information regarding consigning artwork or about the sale, please call the offices of John Moran Auctioneers at (626) 793-1833 or visit their website at

California Impressionism PDF Print
Tuesday, 23 September 2008

California at the beginning of the 20th century was a particularly attractive region for artists, as it was for the hundreds of thousands of other people who began to immigrate to the state from across the country and from Europe. Artists found in California varied and sublime coastal and mountain scenery, of a type unavailable in other regions of the country, including deserts, fields of colorful wildflowers, and romantically crumbling remnants of the California missions. The inspiring landscape, along with excellent climactic conditions for painting outdoors all year around, and a clear, bright light, made the region exceptionally conducive to plein air painting in an Impressionistic style. The final and longest-lasting offshoot of American Impressionism, a school with its own distinctive spirit and style, California Impressionism flourished from the first decade of the 20th century through the 1930’s.

California Style Watercolors PDF Print
Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The California Style, also known as the California School, was an important part of the enormously influential American Scene movement, which developed in the mid 1920s and focused on regional subjects. The artists who worked in this style favored watercolor as the ideal medium for spontaneously capturing the movement of people engaged in everyday activities in urban, industrial, agricultural and recreational settings. The boldly stylized, illustration-like depictions often feature calligraphic outlines with little or no under-drawing, broad, transparent washes of bright color and strategic use of the white of the paper as an integral part of the composition.

Tonalism in California Art PDF Print
Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Tonalism is an aesthetic of landscape painting that began to develop in America in the 1880’s and was strongly influenced by the French Barbizon School and the Aesthetic Movement, particularly James McNeill Whistler. The name was first applied in the 1890’s. Tonalists, in common with the Barbizon School artists, shared a desire to convey the emotional or spiritual response to the landscape, emphasizing this goal over the faithful description of topographical reality, and often working in the studio rather than outdoors. This focus on poetic effect and the meditative qualities evoked by the landscape was conveyed through simplified compositions with elements reduced to essentials, sometimes carrying economy of detail to an extreme, and each element seamlessly contributing to the whole. Achieving atmospheric effects with soft, smoky edges and thin glazes of paint, the Tonalists usually favored a cool, dark palette of harmonized tones, many times emphasizing grays, based on a neutral ground.

John Moran Announces October 21, 2008, California and American Paintings Sale PDF Print
Wednesday, 09 July 2008

John Moran Auctioneers is pleased to offer 200 works by important California and American artists at their October 21, 2008 auction. Among them will be two works by Hovsep Pushman (1877 – 1966): a nocturne titled “In the Moonlight (lighting the lanterns)” and an exemplary still life titled “Immortality No. 422”. Born in Armenia in 1877, Pushman studied art in Constantinople before immigrating to the United States around 1894. After teaching in Chicago for a time he continued his art studies in Paris, studying under Lefebvre and Robert-Fleury. He also toured Asia, where he became fascinated by Oriental mysticism. This influence would dominate his work for the rest of his career. Settling in NYC in 1919, where he lived until the end of his life, he began to focus largely on Oriental-themed still lifes, also painting figures in Oriental costume. His still lifes are allegorical works featuring symbolic objects- typically one or more Oriental idols, ancient ceramic and glass objects such as plates and vases, and delicate sprays of blossoms, all arranged against harmonious backgrounds and bathed in a soft light enhanced with deep shadows. Quietly yet forcefully, these compositions evoke a range of emotion and convey a profound spirituality. Pushman’s impressive ability to create a contemplative mood and an air of mystery through rich color, light and shadow, along with his extremely high technical standards, are on full display in both of the works on offer in October.

Other highlights of the October auction include a still life of oranges wrapped in tissue paper by William J. McCloskey, and works by Paul De Longpre, Granville Redmond, Birger Sandzen, Franz Bischoff, Jessie Arms Botke, Jack Wilkinson Smith, William F. Jackson, Arthur Hill Gilbert, Maurice Braun, Elmer Wachtel, Anna Hills, Ransome Holdredge, Joe Duncan Gleason, and Hanson Puthuff. John Moran holds the current record high price for a work by McCloskey, achieved at their February, 2008 auction.

Jane Peterson Oil Painting Reaches $31,630 at Auction PDF Print
Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Pasadena, CA — A work by the important East Coast artist Jane Peterson realized $31, 630 on a pre-sale estimate of $10-15,000 at John Moran’s June 24, 2008 California and American Paintings Auction.

The small oil of figures on a beach represents one of her most sought-after subjects, as well as her signature use of bold color and pattern and spontaneous brushwork.

Peterson was an adventurous woman and a prolific artist, producing a great number of works on painting trips in the US, Europe, and Northern Africa. She notably accompanied Louis Comfort Tiffany across the US in his railway car.

A student of Arthur Wesley Dow in New York, Joaquin Sorolla in Madrid and Frank Brangwyn in London and Venice, she was also strongly influenced by her friend Maurice Prendergast. While living in Paris she frequented the salons of Gertrude and Leo Stein, where she was introduced to Picasso and Matisse and other members of the Paris avant-garde. These influences combined in her work to form a fascinating blend of Impressionism, Post Impressionism and Expressionism based on a traditional foundation.

Her beach scenes were painted along the Massachusetts coast, where she had a summer house in Ipswich. She is also known for her scenes of Gloucester Harbor, Venice, Florida palm trees, and floral subjects.


Accepting Consignments: March 2020 Auction

John Moran Auctioneers is now accepting consignments for our March 2020 California & American Fine Art Auction. Limited space available, so if you are considering a consignment of California art, please do not hesitate to contact us. Click here to visit our Contact page, or simply call us at 626-793-1833 to discuss your consignment.

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