PASADENA, Calif. – John Moran Auctioneers will begin the 2010 auction season with a sale of California and American Art distinguished by extraordinary quality throughout. The Feb. 16 event is one of Moran’s signature tri-annual art auctions, which are 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, Calif., 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 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 1/2-inch by 38-inch 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, N.M., 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 Auctioneers’ Feb. 16 sale will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Calif. Previewing will begin at noon. Bidding for this sale is available from the floor, by phone and absentee as well as online via ArtFact.com. A fully illustrated catalog of this sale will be available on Moran’s Web site prior to the auction. For more information on this important sale, or to order a printed catalog, or for information about their monthly Antiques and Jewelry Auctions, call the offices of John Moran Auctioneers at 626-793-1833 or visit their Web site at www.johnmoran.com.
Photos courtesy John Moran Auctioneers.
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