Moran's Postwar & Contemporary Art + Design Sale is full of modern marvels

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Moran's Postwar & Contemporary Art + Design Sale is full of modern marvels
The Apple-1 computer has a $400,000-600,000 estimate.

MONROVIA, CA.- John Moran Auctioneer’s Postwar & Contemporary Art + Design Sale is dynamic in every way! The sale will offer an Apple-1 computer in this sale alongside notable modern furniture by makers like Philips and Kelvin LaVerne, Hans Wegner, Peter Hvidt, and Erik Kirkegaard for Hong Stoiefabrik. Several works from California Enamellist June Schwarcz will also be presented, as well as a plethora of fine art including A-lister offerings by Man Ray, Miro, Picasso, Robert Motherwell, Nan Goldin, Rita McBride, Lara Schnitger, and Parker Ito.


There are many stars in this sale but the one that shines brightest is the Apple-1 computer heading to block with a $400,000-600,000 estimate. The year 2021 marks the 45th birthday for Apple. The world’s largest technology company is currently valued in the trillion-dollar range, and it all began with two Steve’s, one garage, and Apple Computer 1, more commonly referred to as Apple-1. 200 Apple-1 computers were hand-built by Wozniak, Jobs, and a skeleton crew in the garage that belonged to Jobs’ parents.

The company was created in 1976 when electronic engineer Steve Wozniak (b. 1950) teamed up with marketing guru and industrial designer Steve Jobs (1955-2011). John Moran Auctioneers is thrilled to give tech lovers the opportunity to own one of the few remaining Apple-1 Computers in existence. This fascinating piece of technological history is in mint condition, contains all period-appropriate and original parts, and it is in working order!

Moran’s flew in the foremost expert in his field to conduct an extensive authentication, restoration, and evaluation process so that buyers can bid with confidence. In addition to the motherboard, monitor, and keyboard, this lot is equipped with 2 cassette tapes, 3 wires, and a period xerox-copy of the original owner’s manual.

There are so many remarkable traits on this Apple-1 but the most notable may be the Koa wood case. In the 1970s Koa wood was abundant and easily accessible, especially on the west coast where the computers were produced, because the tree was native to Hawaii. Due to cattle grazing and extensive logging, Koa is now considered much rarer and more expensive. There are only six known examples of Apple-1 computers in a Koa wooden case, and this unit is one of them.

The sleek lines of the Koa wood case speak to the mid-century design spirit, likewise palpable in examples such as those by Danish furniture designer, Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007) who gave birth to a plethora of iconic modern pieces. Chairs were his particular specialty, as Wegner designed upwards of 500 chairs in his lifetime, giving him the well-deserved title, “King of chairs”. Functionality had an integral part in his creative approach, proving that the future, as sleek as it was imagined, could also be comfortable. The 1950 Papa Bear Chair and Ottoman acquired its name from a critic who referenced its armrests as “Great bear paws embracing you from behind.” This modern classic is going to auction with an estimate of $6,000-8,000.

Another Mid-Century modern standout is a Circular Glass Dining Table with tubular chrome and brass bars that radiate from top to bottom in a sunburst design. But wait! There’s more! The glass table has a center mounted removeable brass and chrome champagne bucket (or planter)! Add the 9 matching tubular chrome chairs with fabric upholstered seats and this set is basically a party waiting to happen. The Willy Rizzo-style table has a 63” diameter and is estimated at $5,000-7,000.

The party continues with a Vasa Lucite Multi-toned Sphere sculpture. Yugoslavian born, Vasa Velizar Mihich (American, B. 1933) has been making his colorful sculptures in modern materials like plastic and acrylic for over 50 years. The retired UCLA professor has exhibited his work at numerous museums and completed commissions for several high-profile clients including NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Goggle. Vasa’s sphere is 11” in diameter and perched on a fitted clear Lucite base. Estimated at $3,000-4,000, this statement piece is sure to grab buyers’ attention.

Another important work for sale is Russian born American artist, Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957). He was well-traveled and spent time in the Odessa, Berlin, and Paris before moving to New York City with his then new, but ultimately long-time partner, poet Charles Henri Ford. Tchelitchew was associated with several movements including Neo-Romanticism, Surrealism, Futurism, and Constructivism but his artistic career also encompassed ballet, set design and costume design. Regardless of the movement, Tchelitchew’s work tends to find its roots in Surrealism and hover in a ghostly dream state. Those attributes are seen clearly in the piece on offer Jesus Visiting Souls in Purgatory, heading to the block with a $20,000-30,000 estimate.

Surrealism was not only a foundation for Tchelitchew, but also one of the major influences in the abstract expressionist movement that originated in New York City in the 1940s. It embodied several subsets like action painting and color field painting, and one of the best artists to represent color field painting is Helen Frankenthaler. Her process was a layered one. She began her paintings with poured pigment that she allowed to absorb into raw canvas rather than the conventional approach with a primed canvas where all marks would situate themselves properly on top of the picture plane. Frankenthaler is a legend within the painting community exhibiting for more than six decades and moving painting forward with each new body of work. The work on offer, West Wind, made around 1997 demonstrates her signature wash and impeccable composition. It’s heading to the block with a $15,000-20,000 estimate.

There are also several contemporary pieces on offer to round out this statement sale. Among them are Jim Shaw (American, B. 1952) and Marisa Takal (American, B. 1991) who both deal with narratives within their work. Cake (Blake) by Jim Shaw is one of several in his series of men in a seemingly tortured mental state and set against an abstract background. It’s a dual painting moment with a second canvas (identical to the blank shape found in the larger canvas) depicting cake icing in grayscale color. Marisa Takal’s narrative is revealed in her titles that seem to pull disparate excerpts of conversation from everyday life. Her vivid paintings respond in kind to the non-liner narrative as the fragmented stories converge on one surface. In Asiram Lakat Cool Story, Hansel I’m Gay an interior space is inhabited by a deep violet torso interrupted with an orange sphere that is also fragmented with bits of a prairie landscape scene peeking through. Cake (Blake) is estimated at $20,000-30,000 and there is an $8,000-10,000 estimate on Asiram Lakat Cool Story, Hansel I’m Gay.

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