California Impressionists Weather the Storm at John Moran’s October 13, 2009 California and American Pasadena, CA - While a rare, heavy rainstorm pounded outside, all was sunshine and roses inside the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA on the evening of October 13th, 2009, as John Moran Aucti
News-Antique.com - Oct 21,2009 - Some of the most hotly contested bidding was generated by Lot 58, a depiction of a view well loved by Pasadena residents and artists since the early 20th century, that of the landmark Colorado Bridge from the edge of the Arroyo Seco canyon (photo 1). This large (28”x38”), panoramic scene of the Beaux Arts structure set against the San Gabriel mountains, bathed in a gorgeous sunset glow, was painted by Howard R. Butler (1856 – 1934), a member of the National Academy who is primarily associated with New York and New Jersey, but who spent several years in California and is known as a specialist in landscapes and paintings of solar eclipses. With dueling phone bidders opening the bidding, the battle was eventually won by a floor bidder who held out to a final price of $14,950, on a presale estimate of $4,000-6,000.
Another top performer by a Pasadena artist was a lyrical foothill landscape, lush with wildflowers and a misty atmosphere, painted by John Frost (1880 – 1937) in 1929. Displaying the influence of the artist’s sojourn in Giverny and of his friendship with pre-eminent California Impressionist Guy Rose, the 18”x22” work, Lot 51, carried a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-40,000. The winning bid came in over the phone lines, at $54,625.
The Norwegian-born California landscape specialist, Paul Lauritz (1889 – 1975), was well represented in the sale with six works. John Moran holds ten of the top twelve auction records for this individualistic and highly respected artist, including the top two, so it was no surprise that his works performed well on Tuesday. Lot 84, Nine Lake Basin, High Sierras, a grand 28”x32” view of snowy peaks displaying Lauritz’s signature bold textures, solid forms and confident brushwork, brought $19,550 (pre-sale estimate $10,000-15,000), while Lot 48, the exquisitely colored “Old Road” (also known as “Road to Laguna”), a 32”x36” oil estimated at $15,000-20,000 realized $23,000.
Leading artist Franz Bischoff (1864 – 1929) was also featured with multiple works, including a last-minute sale addition, Lot 145A, a signed ceramic vase painted with roses. Bischoff, known as the “King of Rose Painters”, began his artistic career as a ceramics painter, eventually founding his own ceramic art school. After settling in Pasadena he included a ceramic workshop in his Arroyo Seco studio. The vase offered at John Moran’s on Tuesday was a prime example of his fine work in this medium, and the buyers seemed to appreciate this, bidding it up to a final price of $16,100, the second highest price on record for a Bischoff ceramic.
Among the many California Regionalist works in the sale, including watercolors by Emil Kosa, Jr., Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Rex Brandt and Milford Zornes, was a remarkable 1937 oil by Lee Everett Blair (1911 – 1993). With an unusual aerial viewpoint, looking down over the treetops on picnickers in Los Angeles’s Griffith Park, the 30”x34” painting attracted many bids, and in the end realized a new world record for the artist of $9,775, almost double the