John Moran’s Saturday, June 18th Decorative Auction Event a Boon for Private Collectors


• In-person attendance was strong for both sessions of Moran’s June Decorative Art Auction
• Mid-century Modern and contemporary decorative arts performed well at the auction block
• Top-lot status went to an impressive floor-standing Swiss cylinder music box by maker B.A. Bremond

MONROVIA, CA – John Moran’s June 18th Decorative Art Auction was a well-attended event, most likely thanks to a new workweek-friendly Saturday afternoon auction format. Featuring an eclectic mix of antique Continental, Mid-century modern and Contemporary decorative arts along with Western paintings and bronzes, Moran’s June sale earned respectable prices for the majority of the offerings, with modern design, Western objects and select Native American jewelry performing particularly well.

Highly anticipated examples of mid-century modern design included an iconic Hans Wegner for AP Stolen Papa Bear chair, consigned from a private Pasadena, CA collection. Featuring handsome orange upholstery and estimated to bring $3000 to $4000 at the auction block, the chair earned $5100 (including Moran’s 20% house buyer’s premium). Directly after, an art pottery vase from the same collection by well-regarded ceramicists Otto and Gertrud Natzler was offered with a $2500 to $3500 estimate. The vase was of a larger scale than those usually seen by the couple, and as such the price jumped to $6000 within seconds of the lot opening. .

More contemporary selections were offered later in the sale. An acid-etched “Imperial Palace” cocktail table by Philip & Kelvin LaVerne was offered for $4000 to $6000, and realized the high estimate thanks to a determined telephone bidder. A handsome pair of sterling silver shell-form spoon warmers by Italian maker Buccellati created quite a stir, with a bidding war breaking out between multiple online bidders and a floor buyer; the floor buyer proved victorious, paying $3600 for the lot (estimate: $1200 to $1800). .

In a repeat performance of Moran’s April Decorative Art Auction, modern and contemporary works of art brought relatively strong prices, with works by Graciela Rodo Boulanger (b. 1935 Bolivian) achieving prices consistently above their estimates. One of Boulanger’s colorful compositions, depicting five figures riding bicycles, was brought to the block with a very conservative $500 to $700 estimate and brought an astounding $2700 online. Directly following, her work depicting six horn players brought $3900, well over the $1000 to $2000 estimate. .

A dark horse highlight, a large-scale oil on canvas by Sri Lankan painter Senaka Senanayake (b. 1951) titled “Paddy Growers” struck a chord with online buyers; the painting had multiple online absentee bids lined up prior to the auction’s opening. Consigned from a private Pasadena, CA collection, the work earned $8400 (estimate: $3000 to $5000). .

Modern and contemporary works of western art from the estate of Phoebe Hearst Cooke continue to garner exceptional prices realized; Tucker Smith’s (b. 1940 Wyoming) diminutive canvas, “Below Sawtooth Ridge”, offers an expansive view of cowboys on horseback traversing a valley with mountains in the background, earned a very respectable $10,200 at the auction block (estimate: $4000 to $6000). Later in the sale, Kirkland, AZ artist Bill Owen’s “Working the Herd” was snapped up by a floor buyer, bringing $7200 (estimate: $6000 to $8000). .

All of the above were offered alongside a selection of French and Continental paintings and decorative arts, some of which brought exceptional prices. A pair of griffin-form Hanau silver salt cellars featuring exceptional detailing were brought to the block with a $1500 to $2500 estimate; the pair earned $3600 after a quick bidding war between telephone bidders. Performing squarely within estimate, a large B.A. Bremond Swiss cylinder music box dating to circa 1885 delighted attendee bidders with its selection of 48 airs (price realized: $19,200; estimate: $15,000 to $25,000). Late in the sale, a handsome tall-case clock by London maker Samuel Smith & Sons, Ltd. was offered; hailing from an important Laguna Beach collection, the clock was the subject of intense bidding between telephone bidders and an interested floor buyer. One of the telephone bidders came out on top, paying $7800 for the clock (estimate: $6000 to $9000). .

Western and Native American jewelry prices were particularly robust throughout the evening. Six lots of belt buckles from the Estate of Phoebe Hearst Cooke were offered throughout the June catalog and all performed quite well; one group, featuring primarily Rancheros Visitadores-themed buckles in sterling silver with gold-filled accents was particularly popular with collectors, bringing $1320 (estimate: $300 to $500). A pair of modern Native American turquoise beaded necklaces, the larger with an offset silver an turquoise pendant signed for artist Jimmy Calabaza Kewa, were offered as a single lot and garnered much admiration during the pre-sale previews. Attendee bidders brought the price of the necklaces up to $2700, well over the conservative $500 to $700 estimate. Native American jewelry collectors should note that Moran’s September catalog is expected to boast a large selection of Native American and Western jewelry by makers both early and contemporary. .

Additional highlights across all categories include:
• A silver-plated covered brazier by New York designer Louis W. Rice (1872 – 1933) for Apollo Silver Co.’s “Skyscraper” line, brought to the block with a $600 to $900 estimate, earned an astounding $5100.
• A handsome set of grape vine-motif gilt-washed sterling silver flatware by London silversmith Garrard & Co. Ltd. comprising 191 pieces cased within a handsome floor-standing canteen earned a $15,600 selling price (estimate: $12,000 to $18,000.
• An idyllic scene in oil on canvas of figures resting at the seaside by British/Australian artist Frederick William Leist (1878-1945) was consigned to Moran’s June sale from a private Los Angeles collection; the work brought $7800, just over the $5000 to $7000 estimate.

John Moran Auctioneers will host their next auction on July 30th, starting at 12pm. This important Decorative Art Auction event will feature over 300 lots of Continental and American works of fine art, fine French furniture and decorative arts, porcelain, silver, bronzes, and much more. This curated catalogue will include selections from the prominent Estate of Andrew F. Chandler and the Lenore Gantt Chandler Trust, as well as quality consignments from private collections and estates across Southern California. Preview for the July 30th auction will be available on Friday, July 29th from 10am to 4pm as well as on the day of the sale from 10am until the auction’s start at 12pm. .

All events are 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. .

For questions regarding this or any upcoming auctions, or to speak to a friendly specialist regarding consignment, please contact John Moran Auctioneers directly via telephone (626) 793-1833 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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