DEEMS ART NOUVEAU COLLECTION HELPS TO ACHIEVE SECOND-LARGEST MIXED-ESTATE AUCTION MORAN’S HISTORY Pasadena, CA – At 6:30 p.m. on the warm and sultry evening of July 24th, John Moran casually took the podium to begin what would be one of the highest grossing antique auctions in the 35+ year history
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DEEMS ART NOUVEAU COLLECTION HELPS TO ACHIEVE SECOND-LARGEST MIXED-ESTATE AUCTION MORAN’S HISTORY
Pasadena, CA – At 6:30 p.m. on the warm and sultry evening of July 24th, John Moran casually took the podium to begin what would be one of the highest grossing antique auctions in the 35+ year history of John Moran Auctioneers. The auction, bolstered by the Paul and Alice Deems Collection of Art Nouveau design, exceeded forecasts and sold over ninety-three percent by lot and grossed nearly $750,000. One hundred percent of the Deems Collection sold. Moran’s overwhelming success was amplified by the fact that the sale occurred during the traditionally quiet summer season, when many in the art world are thought to be vacationing.
Unprecedented international interest suggested this sale would have great potential. Nearly one thousand bidders registered in person, by telephone and via the internet to compete for just 219 lots. East coast buyers flew out for the sale and hundreds were in attendance. Extra telephone agents had to be added during the event. The company’s illustrated on-line catalogue achieved almost 40,000 hits and over a quarter of all items sold went to on-line buyers.
Moran set the tone early in the sale when a beautiful oil-on-panel by the Belgian artist Jean Francois Portaels titled “The Gypsy Dancer” sold for nearly ten times its opening bid to realize $74,750. The painting, consigned from a private California collection, brought the highest auction price ever for the artist outside of Europe. Offered from another private collection was a Tiffany Studios gilt-bronze twelve-light Lily lamp which soared past its enticingly conservative estimate of $12,000-$18,000 to realize $40,250.
The Deems Collection, which included several other Tiffany lamps, provided several more highlights throughout the evening, the most significant being a Tiffany Studios “Black-eyed Susan” lamp which sold confidently for $34,500. A second Tiffany table lamp with a foliate-pattern shade achieved $13,800, and another lamp with a green geometric shade brought $10,925, followed by a yellow geometric table lamp that earned $11,500.
Other diverse and esoteric objects from the Deems Collection brought notable results, including a Majorelle walnut dining suite that collectively sold for $66,125. A pair of Gaillard upholstered walnut bergeres sold to an east coast collector for just under $15,000, and an easel in the manner of Majorelle was bought for $11,500. A beautiful pair of lithographs by Alphonse Mucha (Czechoslovakia 1860 – 1939) made a total $13,800. Great prices were also achieved for lesser known and obscure artists and craftsmen such as Ludwig Kainer, Peter Hertz, and Samuel Schellink whose design of a diminutive eggshell porcelain vase for Rozenburg was sold for $5,462.
Some fun and unusual items also resonated with the audience. One absolutely delightful piece, a Columbia Hi-Wheel “Light Roadster” bicycle, circa 1885, made