September 24th, 2016 Studio Auction Achieves Strong Prices for Contemporary Photography, Quintesential California Scenes


• Diverse works consigned from private Southern California Collections offered at Moran’s September 24th Studio Auction
• Approachable pricepoints bring out online buyers
• Dark-horse highlights include prints by Los Angeles photographer Steven F. Arnold (1943-1994) and Sierra Madre painter Alfred James Dewey (1874-1958)

MONROVIA, CA – John Moran Auctioneers’ third Studio Art Auction of 2016 featured a diverse group of artworks by primarily American artists offered with relatively approachable pricepoints. As a result, bidder activity among private collectors bidding online was strong, with a number of lots exceeding expectations at the block. Results overall were mixed but respectable, with the highest prices realized going to quintessential California impressionist scenes and Contemporary surrealist photography.

For the past few years, Moran’s has done quite well with consignments of Western works of art; a small group of Western-genre artworks were brought to the block at Moran’s September Studio Auction, including a spirited small-scale impressionist scene depicting a man wrestling a steer by Vallecito, CA-based artist Marjorie Reed (1915-1996). Estimated to bring $700 to $900, the work brought $1080 at the block after competition between telephone and online bidders (prices realized include Moran’s 20% Buyer’s Premium). Directly following, a charming oil portrait of three donkeys, aptly titled “Burros” by artist Ken Backhaus (b. 1951), was offered with an $800 to $1200 estimate, and also sold online for a very respectable $1680. A meticulously rendered oil painting depicting a Plains Indian encampment in a riparian landscape by contemporary Santa Clara, CA artist Heinie Hartwig (b. 1937) was brought to the block with an $800 to $1200 estimate; the romatic composition sold on the floor for $915.

Landscapes depicting California subjects are invariably popular with Moran’s bidders, and a number of California-centric works exceeded expectations at Moran’s September Studio Auction. A diminutive gold-toned impressionist landscape depicting California oak trees astride a hilltop road by Los Angeles-based artist Mian Situ (b. 1953) just exceeded its estimate, earning $1037 (estimate: $600 to $800). Alfred James Dewey (1874-1958), a Sierra Madre, CA-based painter, wooed local San Gabriel Valley collectors with his painting of 527 Woodland Drive in Sierra Madre Canyon titled “Canyon Store”. Brought to the block with a $1000 to $1500 estimate, “Canyon Store” realized $2440. Peter Ellenshaw’s (1913-2007 Santa Barbara, CA) oil painting of a shimmering coastal sunset titled “Channel Islands” found purchase with online and floor bidders, who drove the price up to $3050 (estimate: $1500 to $2500).

A handful of European and Japanese works of art were included in the catalogue, and did well with online bidders. Antal Berkes (1874-1938 Hungarian) was represented in the catalogue by a nocturnal scene of horse-driven carts awaiting their finely dressed passengers. The scene brought $2196 at the block, just within the $2000 to $3000 estimate. Shortly thereafter, a dynamic painting by Polish painter Wladyslaw T. Chmielinski (1911-1979) titled “Winter Landscape” was brought to the block. Depicting a bearded man driving a three-horse carriage through a snowy street earned $1708 (estimate: $600/900). Consigned from a private Pasadena collection, Henry John Kinnaird’s (1861-1929 English) “The Thames Near Pangbourne” proved very charming to overseas collectors, earning $1342 after a bidding war between online buyers (estimate: $700 to $900).

Select photographic works also did quite well at Moran’s Studio Auction; two works featuring Native American subjects from a private Ventura, CA collection did particularly well. The first, a photogravure portrait of a young woman by Carl (Karl) Moon (1879-1948 San Francisco, CA) titled “Loti-kee-yah-tede, The Chief’s Daughter” earned a price squarely within estimate, bringing $488 (estimate: $300/500). The second, titled “First Kill”, a rather solemn platinum print portrait of a young man by photographer Gertrude Stanton Kasebier (1852-1934 New York, NY), realized $1342, well over the $300 to $500 estimate.

On the more contemporary end of the spectrum, a number of lots of surrealist tableaux- vivant photographs by multi-talented protégé of Salvador Dalí Steven F. Arnold (1943-1994 Los Angeles, CA) achieved solid prices within or above estimate throughout the evening. Collectors competed on the floor, via phone and online for the lots, which comprised black and white gelatin prints of Arnold’s highly complex figural scenes consigned from a private collection. The most appealing lot of the evening turned out to be a group of surrealist figural works which included the scenes “Marie Sez Let Em Eat Cake”, “Dressed for Dali” and “The Advantages of Modern Marriage” among others; the group lot brought $3355, going to a private collector bidding online (estimate: $500 to $700).

John Moran will host their next Studio Auction on January 24th; consignments are now invited. To speak to a specialist regarding consignment to this or any of Moran’s other upcoming auctions, 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..

Moran’s next auction is the California and American Fine Art Auction, scheduled for October 25th. Featuring more than 250 exceptional works of art by important California and American artists from estates and collections such as the Estate of Phoebe Hearst Cooke, the Estate of Margaret Eaton Brown Fleming, and the University Club of Pasadena, Moran’s October sale is surely an event no to be missed. The catalogue is online now; to order your full-color catalogue book, contact John Moran Auctioneers directly. All of Moran’s auction events are free, open to the public and held at: 145 E. Walnut Ave., Monrovia, CA 91016.

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