PASADENA, Calif. — John Moran Auctioneers offered an eclectic selection of 20th century design, Continental furnishings and European and American fine arts at their May 25 Antiques and Decorative Arts Auction. Sale result highlights demonstrate increasing market interest across a broad spectrum of collecting areas, including those in which John Moran is currently expanding their presence.
One such area is Asian furniture and works of art. Over the past two years John Moran has seen steadily increasing prices for older Chinese pieces, as in March when they sold a 19th century Chinese altar table for $7,050 (estimate $1,000-$2,000). The May sale continued this momentum, with an elaborately carved hardwood Chinese cabinet, offered with an estimate of $2,000 to $3,000, realizing $9,200 (all prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium).
Though perhaps better known for their exclusive tri-annual sales of California and American Impressionist paintings, John Moran also has a strong track record for European paintings and is actively seeking to increase consignments of these, as well as of modern works. Two classic Paris street scenes by Antoine Blanchard (1910-1988), “Boulevard des Capucines” and “Rue Royale,” were offered with estimates of $3,000 to $5,000 each. They realized $10,350 and $9,775 respectively. A striking gelatin silver print by American photographer Brett Weston (1911-1993), the abstract “Franklin Car Vents,” sold for $4,887 (estimate $1,000-$1,500), while another modern work, a 1952 color woodblock print depicting two cats, by Kiyoshi Saito (1907-1992), numbered 34 in an edition of 200, brought $1,092 (estimate $500-$700).
In addition to offering California paintings at their tri-annual art auctions, Moran’s also offers them at their monthly antiques auctions, and the May sale, replete with desirable works at attractive price levels ranging from $200 to $2000, offered many wonderful buying opportunities. A landscape by Harry Linder (1886-1931) depicting a classic early 20th century California poppy field sold for $1,265 (estimate $500-$700). Collectors also vied for a prized Edward Borein print, “Reps,” only letting the hammer fall at $1,150 (estimate $400-$600).
Results for Continental bronzes, silver, and porcelain were also strong, in keeping with John Moran’s long history of success in these areas. Four different lots of Austrian and German cold-painted figural bronzes were offered, with each selling over the high estimate. A 33-inch high cold-painted metal jardinière modeled as a woman in Oriental costume leaning against an urn, which was expected to bring $1,000 to $1,500, realized $2,587. A late 19th century patinated bronze from the Barbedienne Foundry, “Le Chanteur Florentin,” signed Paul Dubois and bearing the Achille Collas “Reduction Mechanique” pastille, realized $4,600 (estimate $1,500-$2,000).
As usual numerous silver items were offered, including a small, intriguing George W. Shiebler & Co hammered sterling silver bowl, circa 1900, decorated with Classical cameos and false cracks to resemble an ancient piece. It found a buyer at $1,380 (estimate $400-$600). A Victorian sterling four-piece coffee and tea service featuring strapwork reserves, made in London by William Hunter between 1877 and 1879, offered together with a Hobson & Son Sheffield plate galleried tray, realized $1,955 (estimate $800-$1,200). Offered at $600 to $900 was a Peruvian sterling tray with scalloped edges. This impressive piece of workmanship doubled its low estimate, realizing $1,380.
Porcelain highlights included a pair of late 19th century French gilt-bronze-mounted urns decorated with figures in landscapes that sold for $1,955 (estimate $1,000-$1,500) and a Royal Copenhagen figural group with a nymph and faun bearing the mark of Gerhard Henning (1880-1967) that brought $920 (estimate $500-$700).
Among the many items of 20th century design were several lots of art glass from top makers. A lot of two acid-cut Gallé cameo glass vases, one with purple peonies and the other with brown orchids, sold for $1,380 (estimate $700-$900). A large collection of L.C. Tiffany Favrile glass articles, including candlesticks, vases and bowls, was offered in several lots, many of which well exceeded their estimates. Mid-century furniture was led by a set of 12 low-back dining chairs by renowned wood worker Sam Maloof, which sold for $17,250.
John Moran’s next antiques auction is scheduled for July 20, 2010, and their next California and American Art Auction is Oct. 19, 2010. They are currently taking consignments for both sales. All sales are held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Calif., and full catalogs are posted at www.johnmoran.com two to three weeks prior to each sale.
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