Category Archives: Buzzworthy Items

Items worth mentioning

De Wain Valentine

Two polyester resin works by De Wain Valentine are coming up for auction on the 9th of October, as part of the auction of The Collection of Richard Dorso, one-owner auction with no reserves.


Minimalist artist De Wain Valentine (born 1936) draws inspiration from the Southern California landscape to create translucent glass, acrylic, and polyester resin sculptures. During his childhood in Colorado, Valentine was introduced to various industrial processes including mining, car repair, and fiberglass molding. His fascination with the interplay of color and light progressed under the instruction of Richard Diebenkorn at the University of Colorado. After he completed his studies at the Yale School of Art, Valentine moved to Los Angeles to teach Plastics at UCLA. Beginning in 1965, he achieved considerable success at gallery shows around Los Angeles with his precise forms created using highly toxic industrial materials. In addition to an upcoming show at the Getty Museum, Valentine’s work is displayed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


The Pacific Standard Time exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum, From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentine’s Gray Column is NOW OPEN through March 11, 2012.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

Lot Information

Lot 220
De Wain Valentine
c. 1970  
Polyester resin    
17.25″ diameter x 1.75″ width
Estimate $3,000 – 5,000
To be offered in the October 9, 2011
Auction of The Collection of Richard Dorso

Lot 221
De Wain Valentine
Irregular Shape    
c. 1970-80  
Polyester resin    
18″ x 14″ x 3.5″  
Estimate $3,000 – 5,000
To be offered in the October 9, 2011
Auction of The Collection of Richard Dorso


William Theophilus Brown – Bay Area Figurative Artist

In 1952, San Francisco artist William Theophilus Brown (born 1919) left New York, where he was experimenting with Abstract Expressionism, to develop a more personal style of painting. A graduate of Yale’s art school, Brown studied at the University of California, Berkeley where he met fellow Bay Area Figurative painters, including Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, and his future partner, Paul Wonner. In 1956, his “Football” paintings were featured in Life magazine and two years later he had his first solo exhibition at the Felix Landau Gallery in Los Angeles. Bathed in vibrant color and rich landscapes, the human figure became the primary subject matter of his paintings. These seminal works such as Untitled (Nude with trellis & landscape) (1961), evocative of the French Impressionists in subject matter and abstraction yet distinctly Bay Area Figurative in color and style, contributed to this pivotal West Coast art movement. An experiment in mixed media, his Untitled (Portrait Study) (circa 1960) combines the restrained detail of drawing with vigorous and sweeping strokes of paint to depict a moment of strained concentration. Brown has taught at various institutions, including the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco and the University of California, Davis. Currently, Brown creates abstract mixed media collages out of his studio in San Francisco.

– Paul DesMarais, Contributing Writer 

Literature: “William Theophilus Brown.” Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery, 2011. Web. 27 Aug. 2011.

“William Theophilus Brown.” Hackett-Freedman Gallery, 2011. Web. 27 Aug. 2011.

Lot Information

Lot 56
William Theophilus Brown
Untitled (Figure on lounge chair)
Oil on board
Signed and dated lower right
Image: 10″ x 13.5″; Frame: 13.5″ x 17.25″
Estimate $3,000 – 5,000

Lot 57
William Theophilus Brown
Untitled (Nude with trellis and landscape)
Oil on masonite
Initialed and dated lower left, signed and dated verso
Board: 11.75″ x 15.5″; Frame: 12.5″ x 16.25″
Sold with 1967 exhibition catalog from Felix Landau Gallery.
Estimate $3,000 – 5,000

Lot 58
William Theophilus Brown
Untitled (Portrait study)
c. 1960
Mixed media on paper
Signed “William Brown” lower right
Image: 13.5″ x 10.5″; Frame: 19″ x 15.75″
Estimate $1,500 – 2,000

Modern Pottery for All

Last week saw the passing of Barbara Willis, the influential California modernist potter who created some of the most admired ceramics of the mid-century. A resident of Malibu, she died at the age of 94.

While studying at UCLA in the late 1930s, she honed her command of the crackle-glaze under the direction of potter Laura Andreson. After graduating in 1941, Willis established a tiny studio in the back of her parents’ LA home where she produced pieces glazed in brilliant colors: “intense turquoise, citron/chartreuse, and deep Chinese red, colors that seem to have been made to order for today’s Modernist Revival sensibility.”

Willis made her flower vases and bowls for local florists, usually crackle-glazed at the top with exposed, unfinished clay towards the bottom. As she honed her bright glazes and simple forms, she expanded to a North Hollywood studio with fifteen employees. With the ability to mass-produce her forms using molds, Willis was able to offer attractive and modern pottery to the general public at reasonable prices. She created a variety of forms, including candle holders, cigarette boxes, and other household items, yet she is most famous for her utilitarian and radiant plates and bowls.

Check out the Autry Museum’s California Pottery: From Missions to Modernism webpage for more information.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer 

“Barbara Willis Pottery.” California Pottery Index, 2011. Web. 13 Sept. 2011.

“Barbara Willis: A Modernist for the Masses.” California Pottery: From Missions to Modernism. Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage, 2004. Web. 13 Sept. 2011.

Happy Birthday Alexander Calder

Today, we would like to celebrate the birthday of Alexander Calder. He would have turned 113 years old.

Alexander Calder (1898-1976) was one of the most prolific and influential artists of the 20th century, and he achieved international acclaim through his abstract paintings, mobiles, stabiles, lithographs, and jewelry. After graduating from engineering school, Calder worked a multitude of jobs, including a crew member on a boat, where on a voyage from San Francisco to New York he was startled awake by a sunset opposite a full moon, simultaneously hovering on the horizon. He moved to New York and became an artist shortly after this profound experience. By creating his own three-dimensional forms – known as mobiles, some of his most famous creations – Calder redefined sculpture through wire twisted into abstract arrangements that float in accordance with the wind.

Some Calder highlights in LAMA’s history are:

Lot 10
Alexander Calder
Butterfly and Spiral, 1970
Gouache on paper
June 26, 2011 Auction
Estimate $35,000 – $45,000
Realized $75,000

Lot 25
Alexander Calder, Untitled
, 1953
Gouache on paper
Provenance:  From the collection of James Byrnes, Los Angeles
March 6, 2011 Auction
Estimate $15,000-20,000
Realized $25,000

Lot 31
Alexander Calder
Hand wrought hair comb

December 2006
Estimate $10,000 – 12,000
Realized $36,000

Lot 30
Alexander Calder
, 1975, Edition of 100
Hand woven maguey jute fiber
June 2008 Auction
Estimate $1,500 – 2,000
Realized $1,837.50

Lot 445
Alexander Calder
Untitled (LACMA exhibition poster)

Color Lithograph, 1965
October 2010 Auction
Estimate $1,500 – 2,000
Realized $1,837.50


LAMA goes to Foundation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.
(Images by Shannon Loughrey on her June 2010 trip to the South of France.)

PS. Don’t know if you’ve seen Google’s homepage yet. Definitely worth checking out! Calder Foundation, 2011. Web. 24 May 2011.

All Aboard!

LAMA has been busy cataloguing the over 300 works of art from Mr. Richard Dorso to be offered in our October 9th auction.

We came across this work and thought it was appropriate for the lucky travelers about to embark on their summer vacation.

Roy Lichtenstein Shipboard Girl 1965

Roy Lichtenstein
Shipboard Girl

Offset lithograph in red, blue, yellow and black
Signed lower right; unnumbered edition
Published by Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
Catalogue raisonne # 12
Estimated at $15,000-20,000

Roy Lichtenstein: Drawings and Prints
, Waldman, Chelsea House Publishers, New York, 1969, pg 221

Peter’s Auction Picks of the Day: June 23rd

Let’s Face It

In Jerome Simon’s “Design in Time and Light” (Lot 321), the imposing brass base sprouts a lighter-than-air glowing circle that is the translucent face. Featured in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), this piece resembles a 19th century telescope reconfigured into a modern timepiece. Its intricately automated mirrors split a beam of light into three glowing projections of minute, hour, and second – and is the movement of the second-hand” that gives the piece a subtle, constant orbit of light. This is a sculpture first, timepiece second – if Jack Bauer had only this to find out how long ’til  the bomb goes off, he would not be happy. But for everyone else, this is a dream in solid metal.

Lot 320, the Mid-Century Modern General Electric clock is another large, heavy object that finds a way to soar effortlessly. With its imposing industrial face delicately balanced by the sculptural wood a steel counterweight, this American sophisticate evokes the ring-a-ding-ding, chroma and mahogany corner of the jet age: feet on desk, third Scotch neat in hand, here is the clock to tell you it’s time to leave the office and start the real drinking. If only this dispensed cigarettes we’d have known what to get Don Draper for Father’s Day.

Lot Information:

Lot 320
Mid Century Modern

General Electric  designed circa 1960    
Retains General Electric label  
With stand 15.25″h x 13″ x 10.5″diameter  
Estimate $800 – 1,200
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 321
Jerome Simon  
Design in Time & Light    
designed 1981  
Conceptual lighted clock  
Retains a label verso  
14.5″h x 12″diameter x 9″d
Estimate $2,000 – 3,000 
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Peter’s Auction Picks of the Day: June 22nd

The 80’s: Breakin’ Again

Recently we have been seeing a strong interest in works from the 1980s.  I mean, 1980 was over 30 years ago, so it’s only natural that the vintage market would start seriously considering the works as important artistic statements and not simply funny, retro kitsch. Although to be sure, there are some works from the 80’s that are still too young to expect serious contemplation (I am looking at you Leroy Neiman).

In this sale there are some highlights by already world-famous artists that have transcended the 80’s decade. For example, Andy Warhol’s The Marx Brothers (Lot 166), originally created for the suite “Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century 1980”.  However, other lesser known artists are fast becoming classic modern staples, for example Robert Longo’s Rick (Lot 33) and Raphael (Lot 34) .  These works are among the most viewed works on our website. When people come in to preview they ask “Are they dancing or dying?”. Whatever the artist’s intent the imagery is iconic and a typical of the strong graphic nature of the 1980s (these works were created in 1994 and 1998, but the series “Men in the Cities” was conceived in 1987).

Tom Holland’s  Platt (Lot 438) is immediately recognizable as the exuberant colorful mid-80’s artwork that was co-opted for album covers, MTV graphics, as well as, for advertising and fashion graphics.  This example is not only exceptionally large, but also exhibits Holland’s typical three dimensionally of brush strokes literally coming off the surface and curving or bending beneath other elements.

Andres Serrano’s Female Bust (Lot 230), is one of the few images from his infamous “Immersions” series where the artist was making statements about classicism and modernism by using iconic classical imagery and submerging them in a tank of urine. With such a shocking concept, the beauty of the finished works are even more startling.

Raymond Pettibon’s  I Want the Girl in the Wig Commercial  (Lot 302) is typical of the artist’s illustrations accompanied by text. While some of his works echo elements of Pop artists of an older generation, Pettibon finds his own distinct vocabulary. His works first came into the public awareness as album cover art of 80’s bands such as Sonic Youth and Black Flag. This early screenprint is from a small edition of 30.

All these works are bold, graphic, and full of references to Pop Culture, but not in an obvious way like the original Pop artists did. As time passes, more and more work from the 80s will be seen as classic and timeless, and will not be an obvious reminder of  the moment, eventually transcending your own ideas of what the 80s were.

Lot Information:

Lot 166
Andy Warhol  
The Marx Brothers (from Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century 1980)
#124 of 200
Screenprint on Lenox Museum Board  Signed and dated lower left
Sheet 40″ x 32″; Frame 40.5″ x 32.5″
Catalogue Raisonne F/S #11.232
Estimate $45,000 – 55,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 33
Robert Longo  
Rick (from Men in the Cities)  
HC 13 of 18; aside from the edition of 170
Lithograph on Arches Cover paper  Signed and dated lower right; edition lower left
Sheet 45.875″ x 30″; frame 52″ x 36″
Estimate $5,000 – 8,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 34
Robert Longo

Raphael (from Men in the Cities)
#13 of 120
Lithograph on Rives BFK paper
Signed and dated lower right; edition lower left
Sheet 45.875″ x 30″; frame 52″ x 36″
Estimate $5,000 – 8,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 438
Tom Holland  
Circa 1980
Epoxy on fiberglass
Signature, date and title verso
88″ x 63″ x 4″
Estimate $2,000 – 3,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 230
Andres Serrano  
Female Bust (From Immersions)    
#6 of 10
Cibachrome  Signature, title and edition verso
40″ x 30″
Provenance: Stefan Stux Gallery; Private Collection, Los Angeles (Acquired from above on September 14, 1991)
Estimate $20,000 – 25,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 302
Raymond Pettibon

I Want the Girl in the Wig Commercial
#18 of 30
Signed lower right; edition lower left
Sheet 22.25″ x 15″; Frame 26″ x 18.75″
Estimate $2,000 – 3,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction