Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

John Moran Auctioneers California and American Fine Art Auction

John Moran Auctioneers is delighted to announce the third of their 2009 California and American Art Auctions, to be held Tuesday, October 13th. Showcasing a spectacular selection of pre-1945 California plein air landscapes, California Style watercolors, and Western art drawn from private collections across the country, including definitive works by pre-eminent California Impressionists such as William Wendt, Granville Redmond, Maurice Braun and Paul Lauritz, as well as several unusual and historical pieces, this well-rounded sale promises to mark an exciting chapter in the 40-year history of the family-owned company.

Leading the selections from top California plein air painters is one of the most important works by the celebrated Granville Redmond (1871-1935) to arrive on the market in recent years, a magnificent 30″ x 40″ landscape with oaks, poppies & lupine. In this classic, exquisitely composed example of Redmond’s exuberant Impressionist style, the artist’s mastery of color and technique are fully evident, as is the pure joy inspired by nature. This painting has remained in the same family since about 1930, when the original owner, who worked in the film industry and became acquainted with Redmond during visits to Charlie Chaplin’s studio, purchased it directly from the artist. Moran’s is thrilled to offer it on behalf of the family with an estimate of $500,000/700,000.

In a more rugged style, but equally stunning, is a mountain landscape by Paul Lauritz (1889-1975) depicting Nine Lakes Basin, High Sierras . Lauritz’s robust technique reflects the rockiness of the snow-capped peaks in this sweeping 28″ x 32″ view. The oil is offered at $10,000/15,000, and is one of five Lauritz paintings slated for the sale. Moran’s set the current record auction price for Lauritz in October 2008 with a view of Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island that realized $74,750.

Spring by William Wendt (1865-1946) captures a different kind of grandeur. Wendt’s signature combination of rich greens and browns, deep shadows, bold, interlocking shapes, and broad brushstrokes to imbue a gentle landscape of rolling hills with a monumental sense of space and a deep spirituality is displayed in all its glory in this work, which Wendt exhibited several times between 1916 – 1919. Spring is expected to realize between $50,000 and $70,000.

Moran’s is offering no fewer than six paintings by another top name in California Impressionism: Maurice Braun (1877-1941). Holding the current auction high record price for Braun, Moran’s expects to continue their success with these five landscapes and a coastal ranging in estimates from $4000 up to $50,000 at the high end. Two of these highly desirable oils depict that iconic California art subject, the eucalyptus tree, with the larger (34.25″ x 30.25″) estimated at $30,000/50,000 and the 24″ x 20″ estimated at $25,000/35,000.

Another important San Diego artist, Charles Reiffel (1862-1942), is known for his highly textured paint surfaces and unusual use of color. Moran’s will offer two impressive works by Reiffel: Huckleberry Hill, estimated at $20,000/30,000, revels in a riot of bright greens and yellows, while 30’’ x 36’’ scene of houses in a winter landscape , estimated at $30,000/50,000, captures the delicate tones of snow drifts patterned with the shadows of tree branches.

Pasadena’s landmark Colorado Street Bridge, with its massive arches spanning the Arroyo Seco, has been a favorite subject of artists since it was built in 1913, and is featured in a lovely, expansive view by Austrian-born California artist Henry Richter (1870 – 1960) . The twilight depiction of the Beaux Arts structure surrounded by trees and rocks and the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains carries an estimate of $4,000/6,000.

Among the California Style selections are watercolors by Emil Kosa, Jr., Millard Sheets, and Rex Brandt, as well as a large oil by Lee Everett Blair (1911-1993), titled Griffith Park, c.1937 , estimated at $5,000/7,000. Blair, who worked in film production for most of his life, displays a keen dramatic sense in this striking work, with an unusual aerial viewpoint through treetops and a brightly lit foreground sprinkled with highlighted figures set against misty grey hills receding into the distance. Moran’s holds the record for Blair’s work sold at auction, achieved in February 2009, with a watercolor view of the Brooklyn docks.

Peter Ellenshaw (1913-2007), another movie industry artist whose work can be seen in classics such as Mary Poppins, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Spartacus, produced landscapes and coastals that sparkle with clear light and crisp, almost photorealistic detail. Aspen Grove , an oil on canvas measuring 24″ x 48.25″, is a meditative work of harmonized pattern and color. Moran’s has an excellent track record for sales of Ellenshaw’s work, and Aspen Grove is expected to realize between $10,000 and $15,000.

Modernism is well represented in the October sale, by a 24’’ x 20’’ abstract oil by the Synchronist Stanton MacDonald-Wright (1890 – 1973). “Metaphysical Landscape,” offered for $20,000 – $30,000, was painted in 1962.

At the opposite end of the timeline of California’s art history, one of the state’s earliest artists, Norton Bush (1834 – 1894), is famed for his lush South and Central American tropical landscapes inspired by a sea voyage he took around Cape Horn. One such work, a scene of a punt on a lake surrounded by dense foliage, glows with a pristine, clear light, and is offered for $10,000 – 15,000.

East Coast selections include two works depicting their artists’ trademark subjects: a snowy New York street scene by Guy Carleton Wiggins (1883 – 1962) and a scene of cows grazing by Edward Volkert (1871 – 1935). Wiggins’ ‘Mid-Town Storm’ is offered for $15,000 – 20,000 while Volkert’s “New England Pasture” should bring $3,000 – 5,000. Other non-California artists in the sale include William Aiken Walker, Karl Buehr, Bruce Crane, Albert Beck Wenzell, Walter Ufer, Leonard Howard Reedy and Frederick Remington.

Additional sale highlights, from a total of 180 lots, are a nocturne by Charles Rollo Peters, three watercolor florals by Paul de Longpre, an Emil Carlsen still life, two Joseph Raphael oils, five sculptures by Robert Merrell Gage, several Bunker Hill scenes by Ben Abril, multiple works by Jack Wilkinson Smith, Alson Clark, and Joe Duncan Gleason, and Franz Bischoff. An enchanting, highly detailed small work by Jessie Arms Botke, ‘Fairy Tale Reflection,’ offered for $2,500 – 3,500, is also not to be missed.

John Moran Auctioneer’s October 13th sale will begin promptly at 6:30pm on Tuesday, October 13th at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA. Previewing will begin at 12 noon. Bidding for this sale is available from the floor, by phone and absentee as well as online via A fully illustrated catalog of this sale will be available on Moran’s website prior to the auction. For more information on this important sale, or to order a printed catalogue, please call the offices of John Moran Auctioneers at (626) 793-1833 or visit their website at