John Moran Auctioneers announces its California Living post-sale results

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John Moran Auctioneers announces its California Living post-sale results
A Large Kay Bojesen Carved Teak Articulating Monkey, Mid-20th century; Denmark. Designed 1951, the mid-century modern large, carved teak monkey with moveable arms and legs. Estimated at $300-500. Price realized: $2,000.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- On May 17, 2022, the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and it was the perfect California day for John Moran Auctioneers to host their California Living sale. This finely curated selection offered a treasure trove of fine art and accessories in the California aesthetic everyone knows and loves.

Major interest was given to paintings that illustrate the various breathtaking scenes the Golden State is known for. The luscious valley and mountain view depicted in the work of Marion Kavanagh Wachtel, View Down the Valley (lot 1094) had estimate of $3,000-5,000 but realized at $5,625 (including buyer’s premium). Lot 1134 was a calm capture of an ocean setting in Beach Houses, Belgium, by Armin Carl Hansen that was all in at $3750 (including buyer’s premium)— blowing the estimate of $1,200-1,800 out of the water! Then, there was a San Francisco-esque harbor view from Richard Whorf (lot 1150) in his painting, New England Harbor Scene. With an estimate of $1,000-1,500, this maritime masterpiece brought in a boatload at $5,625 (including buyer’s premium).

For those that wanted to really enjoy the outdoor California style, the sale included some casual-chic patio furniture. The best being lot 1164— A Brown Jordan “Day Lily” wrought iron nine-piece garden dining set, with a stylized day lily motif. This backyard beauty had an estimate of $1,500-2,000, but a bidder ready for BBQs whisked it away at $5,000 (including buyer’s premium.

Along with outside furniture, this auction rendered an array of indoor statement pieces. Some being a coveted collection of tansu chests, and the most unique, lot 1062, was a Japanese Kiri Wood Stepped Tansu Chest. Estimated at $800-1,200, this large-stepped antiquity was crafted with seven tiers of drawers, tiny cabinets, and fitted with iron hardware and handles. The word tansu is made up of two Japanese characters embodying two distinct functions: food storage and carrying firewood, and above both characters is the symbol for bamboo. Designed to be more functional than decorative, tansu production can be divided into two eras linked to Japanese history: the Edo period (1603-1868) and the Meiji period (1868-1912). This mobile marvel is a testament to the ingenuity of Japanese joinery and was shown the recognition it deserves— bringing in $2,000 (including buyer’s premium).

Representing the Spanish California genre is Theodore Jackman’s, Spanish Woman, (with an estimate of $600-800). Born in 1878 in Bloomington, IL, Jackson was an established illustrator and portraitist in NYC before settling in Southern California in 1914. In the 1920s, he had a studio-home in Laguna Beach where he produced works that would eventually be exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. This stunning oil on canvas, lot 1176, had a price realized of $2,813 (including buyer’s premium).

Lot 1001 represented the sale’s works on paper with, “Jacob’s Ladder,” made in 1960 by Sister Mary Corita Kent. She was born Frances Elizabeth Kent in Fort Dodge, Iowa, then, at the age of 18 entered the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart. This institution was known to be very progressive and welcomed creativity, so Kent joined the teaching order, taking the name Sister Mary Corita. Kent’s primary medium was silk screen, also known as serigraphy (“seri” is Latin for silk). This screenprint, created with a message of love and peace, was estimated at $300-500, but due to her increased recognition for her role in the pop art movement, brought in an enthusiastic bid of $1,500 (including buyer’s premium).

When lot 1061 reached the auction block, everyone went bananas! A large Kay Bojesen Carved Teak Articulating Monkey, with an estimate of $300-500, sits about a foot tall and stretches over 17 inches wide. Bojesen was born in 1886 and became known as one of Denmark’s most prolific artisans in the 20th century. It was after his son Otto was born that Bojesen became fascinated with children, toys, and wood— Because it reminded him of his own childhood when his father would cut wooden figures for him with the intention it would encourage his creativity and imagination. These events lead Bojesen to bring wood to life, thus becoming world-famous for designing wooden toys that had soul and a sense of humor. There was no monkeying around as the bids came in, one after the other, finally landing on a strong offer of $2,000 (including buyer’s premium).

“Our auction highlights reflect all aspects of the California Lifestyle from the outside patio set that will allow the new buyers to entertain all year long, to the Large Kay Bojesen Teak Monkey which will undoubtedly bring levity to his new home and even the bright colors and complexity that is Corita Kent’s prints.  Each statement piece becomes a focal point for the interior and adds personality to their new home.” –Maranda Moran, Head of Sale and Furniture and Decorative Arts Specialist at John Moran Auctioneers.

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