Appraisal day discoveries head to June 15 fine art auction

PASADENA, Calif. — Following the success of their February sale, John Moran Auctioneers will once again offer an opportunity for bidders to acquire pre-1960 California and American fine art in the second of their 2010 signature fine art auctions, which will be held June 15 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center. The lineup includes a fine selection of more than 200 lots of Impressionist landscapes, still lifes, and historical subjects, as well as California Style works, at price levels beginning at $1,000.

Moran’s has been a major force in sales of California Impressionists since the 1970s, driving the market for many of the top artists in that area of collecting: Franz Bischoff, Maurice Braun, Granville Redmond, Thomas Hunt, Alfred Mitchell, Hanson Puthuff, and Paul Lauritz to name a few. All of those artists will be represented in the June sale, along with the “Dean of Southern California Artists,” William Wendt (1865-1946). A landscape with river and trees by Wendt, from the estate of his good friend and fellow artist Gardner Symons and reputedly acquired in a trade between the two, is expected to realize $30,000 to $40,000.

Fresh from another private art collection is a quiet but lyrical landscape by Emil Carlsen (1848-1932), painted in soft harmonies of grey, beige and blue reflecting the Northern California Tonalist aesthetic of the early 20th century. Though initially known for his dark still life compositions inspired by the 17th century Dutch and Spanish masters and the French artist Chardin, Carlsen later produced Impressionist style landscapes in a lighter, though muted palette, which he employed with virtuosic effect, as in this large work. Moran’s is offering the oil with an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.

The supreme floral painter of his day, the enduringly popular Paul De Longpre (1855-1911), is represented in the sale by an exquisite watercolor composition of pink LaFrance roses and bumblebees. Since the days when crowds of tourists thronged his ornate Hollywood mansion and lush gardens, the meticulously lifelike work of the French-born “King of Flowers” has demonstrated irresistible appeal nationwide. Featuring all the desirable qualities of de Longpre’s best work, and carrying a conservative estimate of $10,000 to $15,000, this painting is expected to demonstrate that appeal yet again.

Marine master Joe Duncan Gleason (1881-1959) has also long found an enthusiastic audience at John Moran Auctioneers, which has established most of his top art auction records including the world record of $161,000 for the sale of “Avalon (Catalina Harbor)” in 2007. Moran’s June sale will include two gems by Gleason. One of his highly sought-after depictions of historical vessels, “Their Last Port (Schooners: W.F. Burrows, Henry Wilson, Bark: W. B. Flint),” an oil measuring 30 inches by 34 inches, is estimated to bring $20,000 to $30,000. The other oil is one of Gleason’s endearing images of children, for which he often used his own daughters as models. The painting of a young girl on a beach is a particularly charming example, and arrives at auction through descent from the Gleason family with a presale estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.

Another work comes to the auction from a collector of items relating to California history. The scene of California placer miners sluicing for gold near a camp was painted in 1854 at the height of the Gold Rush, signed “W.F. Chadwick” (believed to be William F. Chadwick, active late 19th century), is expected to draw a great deal of interest, despite the obscurity of the artist, because of the rarity of contemporary records of this pivotal period in American history. It is expected to bring $3,000 to $4,000, but may well exceed that figure as the auction unfolds.

Two oil-and-gold leaf works by Jessie Arms Botke (1883-1971), wonderful examples of her well-known exotic bird subjects, were consigned to Moran’s after spending years in storage, forgotten but well preserved. Recently discovered, they were brought into one of Moran’s walk-in Valuation Days, an appraisal clinic held once a month at their offices in Southern California, where they were immediately recognized as treasures. They are estimated to realize $10,000 to $15,000 each.

Highlights from the carefully selected group of California Style artists include an elaborate Millard Sheets (1907-1989) watercolor, a tropical scene with figures titled “Church in Maurea,” which is expected to gather $20,000 to $30,000, and a bold, highly textured oil painted in the 1930s by Phil Dike (1906-1990), “Drying Peppers, San Fernando Valley” is estimated to bring $20,000 to $25,000. Bidders will also find works by Milford Zornes, Jade Fon Woo, and Jake Lee.

Among the East Coast and Midwest artists represented in the sale are Walter Baum (with two works), Albert Wenzell, Edward Potthast, Birger Sandzen, and Alfred Bricher. An autumn landscape by Ernest Lawson (1873-1939) depicting dense foliage in rich shades of orange, red and gold is expected to bring $15,000 to $20,000. 

Many other quality artworks will be offered. Those who are interested can view the full catalog at the John Moran Auctioneers website,

Bidding for this sale is available from the floor, by phone and absentee as well as online via For more information on this sale, call the offices of John Moran Auctioneers at 626-793-1833 or visit

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