Moran’s Modern & Contemporary auction exceeds $1,000,000 with Baber, Takis, and Picelj leading the pack!

Moran’s Modern & Contemporary auction exceeds $1,000,000 with Baber, Takis, and Picelj leading the pack!

Moran’s Modern & Contemporary auction exceeds ,000,000 with Baber, Takis, and Picelj leading the pack!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023 | 12:00pm PDT

LOS ANGELES, June 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On Tuesday, June 13th at noon PDT, John Moran Auctioneers presented their bi-annual Modern & Contemporary Fine Art auction. It was filled with phenomenal work by many important arts of the 20th and 21st centuries and included paintings, prints and multiples, photography, and sculpture. Headlining the sale were outstanding results achieved by Alice Baber, Panayiotis “Takis” Vassilakis, and multiple new world auction records, the highest being Ivan Picelj! This sale also featured an impressive capsule collection of works from the estate of the esteemed New York gallerist, Howard Wise.

Howard Wise (1903-1989) was an important American art patron and gallerist who left an indelible mark on the American art scene. He is most known for his gallery on 57th Street in New York City. From 1960-1971, the Howard Wise Gallery became a hub for the international avant-garde art scene. Moran’s was pleased to offer these incredible works and collectors from all over the world turned out for this fresh-to-market, twelve-piece collection. Having an estimate of $130,000-139,200, the collection brought in $279,062*, nearly 150% of the high estimate!

Leading the auction were two works by one of the major female figures of the Abstract Expressionist movement, Alice Baber (1928-1982). Coming into the sale, Moran’s held the top-two world auction records for the artist. Lot 142, having an estimate of $50,000-70,000, “The Sound of the Summer Hermit,” 1976, hammered in a staggering $150,000* — securing them the third slot! Then, lot 143, “Light Ladder,” 1966, sold for $75,000*, more than doubling its $20,000-30,000 estimate.

Coming from the Howard Wise collection, lot 69 presented Ivan Picelj’s work, “Mithos I,” 1960, estimated $3,000-5,000. Known for his specific style of reducing shapes to geometric elements, this example from the Croatian painter sold for a whopping $68,750*, achieving a new world auction record for the artist.

Lots 74-77 presented four examples from the Greek artist, Panayiotis “Takis” Vassilakis. The four works brought in an impressive $138,750*. Estimates for these pieces ranged from $6,000 to $20,000. Lot 90 was by the SoCal native with a fun mid-century style, Josh (SHAG) Agle. Collectors took notice of “L.A. Modern (Day),” 2005 (estimated $5,000-7,000) with bids going all the way up to $20,000* — giving the artist a new world auction record!

To learn more, or to request a complimentary valuation, please visit    

(* – price includes buyer’s premium)

Brenda Smith, John Moran Auctioneers    
[email protected]

SOURCE John Moran Auctioneers

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