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Walnut vitrine may see $20,000 to top 220-lot sale

John Moran Auctioneers will host its first auction of the year Feb. 18, with an Antique and Fine Art Sale featuring 220-lots of silver, fine art, Asian artifacts, bronzes, silver, and furniture, including a walnut and parquetry vitrine with gilt bronze cherubs, which may see $20,000.

PASADENA, Calif. — Following a record year of sales with growth across a variety of categories, John Moran Auctioneers is delighted to stage their first Antiques and Decorative Arts Auction of 2014 on Tuesday, February 18. The 220 lots of Continental, English and American furnishings, silver, porcelain and fine art from the early 19th century

Walnut and parquetry vitrine

Gilt bronze cherubs perch atop this walnut and parquetry vitrine by the important Paris maker Paul Sormani, offered for $15,000 – $20,000. (Photo courtesy John Moran Auctioneers)

to the late 20th century will take their places alongside a large group of Asian artifacts, bronzes, clocks, and a variety of eclectic items.

A highly desirable group of Amphora art pottery made circa 1900 by the Bohemian factory Reissner, Stellmacher and Kessel brighten the sale with jewel tones and gilt highlights. All consigned from a single private collection, the four vases comprise three with portraits of mythic women framed with golden halos and wearing elaborate costumes and jewelry, painted on backgrounds of lavender forests and Macintosh style roses. One depicts ‘’Aurora’’ (estimate: $1,000 – $2,000), one the ‘’Summer Queen’’ wearing a falcon headdress (estimate: $6,000 – $9,000), and the third the ‘’Renaissance Princess’’ (estimate: $5,000 – $7,000). The fourth vase is decorated in the ‘’Wasp’’ motif, with the wasps hovering above pink and white blossoms ($1,000 – $2,000).

Several lots of Tiffany Favrile glass stemware and a ‘’Jack in the Pulpit’’ vase, as well as pair of Imperial ‘’Free Hand’’ vases will appeal to art glass collectors, with estimates ranging from $500 up to $5,500.

In keeping with the Art Nouveau aesthetic is a .950-standard silver center bowl from Gorhams’s ‘’Martele’’ line. Decorated with sinuous blossoms on the ruffled rim, the large (18.5’’ x 14.5’’) bowl was made in 1899. According to Gorham archives it required 40 hours to raise, and it was chased by G.A. Achillertem, who worked on it for an additional 108 hours. Moran’s is offering this exceptional work of art with an estimate of $15,000 – $20,000.

Amphora Pottery vase

This Amphora Pottery vase, decorated with a portrait of the ‘’Summer Queen’’, is one of four vases in Moran’s sale by the Bohemian factory Reissner, Stellmacher and Kessel (estimate: $6,000 – $9,000). (Photo courtesy John Moran Auctioneers)

The sale is heavily weighted with silver of all types, including figures, a large model of a galleon, Victorian serving pieces, candelabra, numerous tea services and flatware sets by Tiffany, Gorham, Shreve, and others, and some magnificent centerpieces. A late 19th or early 20th century Christofle silverplated mirror plateau designed in Neoclassical style with a balustrade rim and dolphin terminals is estimated to realize $6,000 – $8,000, while another large piece by Christofle from the late 19th century, a silver-plated and crystal center bowl with a tripartite base of three monopodia, is also expected to win hearts, with an estimate of $3,000 – $4,000.

Continental furnishings are highlighted by a signed Paul Sormani gilt bronze-mounted walnut and parquetry vitrine, offered for $15,000 – $20,000. Paul Sormani (1817 - 1877) was one of the most renowned French furniture makers of the 19th century, rivaling Francois Linke. He produced elegant Louis XV and Louis XVI style pieces with finely executed inlay and gilt bronze mounts. Setting up shop in Paris by the middle of the 19th century, he won medals at the Exposition Universelle and at the 1862 London Exhibition. From 1867 until his death he was established in the Rue Charlot, which is the address inscribed alongside the Sormani signature on the lockplate of the vitrine Moran’s is offering.

Another finely crafted piece, a ‘’Boulle’’ brass and tortoiseshell marquetry tall case clock, features an elaborate cast gilt bronze dial and pendulum. Moran’s expects it to sell for $12,000 – $18,000.

Fine art highlights include six color lithographs by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo (1899 – 1991), and a group of Russian oil paintings, including a still life of chrysanthemums by Alexandre Altmann (1885 – 1950) and a plate design of dancing figures by Rudolf Fedorovich Frenz (1831 – 1918). A watercolor by the French painter Jean Dufy (1888 – 1964), titled ‘’Port de Honfleur’’, offers a rare opportunity to acquire a work by the Post-Impressionist, brother of Raoul Dufy. Estimated to realize $6000 – 8000, the painting will be included in the catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by Jacques Bailly, who has also confirmed its authenticity. Bidders will also find photographic works by Ansel Adams (1902 - 1984), and Edward Weston (1886 – 1958).

Ruyi scepter

Asian works of art in Moran’s sale include this carved hardwood and colored stone-inset ruyi scepter (estimate: $3,000 – $5,000). (Photo courtesy John Moran Auctioneers)

A large number of Chinese and Japanese works of art will be making an appearance in the sale. Among these are an intricately carved hardwood and colored stone-inset ruyi scepter, the nephrite head carved with two bats and a peach. Dating from the 18th century, the ceremonial scepter is expected to realize $3,000 – $5,000. A Chinese carved jade bowl, the thin walls carved with birds perched on flowering branches, exhibits very good translucency and a delicate green color. Bearing a Qianlong mark, it carries an estimate of $1,000 – $1,500.

Additional information and highlights, as well as the fully illustrated sale catalog, are available online at, or by calling 626-793-1833. Printed catalog are available at the door.

John Moran Auctioneers’ sales are conducted at the Pasadena Center, 300 East Green Street, Pasadena, CA 91001, USA. Bidding is available from the floor, or via telephone, absentee, or online at,, or The sale begins at 3 pm PST. Preview starts at 12 pm PST.


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