MBA Seattle Auction House will host an online-only modernism auction…


Renton, WA, USA, September 3, 2022 — An original acrylic by Andy Warhol and silkscreen on canvas titled Flowers (1965), along with vibrant original artwork by Alden Mason, Morris Graves, Dale Chihuly , ZZ Wei, Kenjiro Nomura and other art world notables will participate in an online-only Modernism: Art and Object auction scheduled for Thursday, September 29 by MBA Seattle Auction House.

“This is one of the finest groupings of modern art, artefacts and Northwest modernism we’ve had to date,” said MBA auctioneer Michael Mroczek. Seattle Auction House.

Warhol’s Flowers is the undisputed headliner of the auction, with a robust but appropriate presale estimate of $200,000 to $400,000. The artwork, in excellent original condition, has a 14 inch by 14 inch canvas and is signed and dated on the superimposed reverse. It is also noted “Andy Warhol / 65 Billy” on the reverse (with “Billy” assumed to be Warhol’s boyfriend at the time, Billy Name).

“It is a dream to find an original Andy Warhol on canvas locally, especially one that has been in a private collection since its original purchase,” Mr. Mroczek said. “His market is as strong as it has ever been with the recent sale of Shot Blue Sage Blue Marilyn (1964), which set an all-time record selling $195 million at auction.

Flowers was originally purchased from Gordon Locksley of the Locksley/Shea Gallery in Minneapolis for $250. The buyer was Dr. Herbert W. Johnson of St. Paul, Minn. Dr. Walker also purchased ten of Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can serigraphs for $675 which he then donated to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1993. The flowers, however, remained in the family.

The painting was kept at the home of Dr and Mrs Johnson until their death in 2008. It was then passed on to a daughter, who kept it until 2017 when it went to another member of the family who serves as the sender of the family for the auction. A 1970s color photograph of a family member seated at a piano with one of the soup can prints behind him is included for provenance.

A museum-quality abstract oil on canvas painting by Alden Mason (Wash., 1919-2013), titled Orange Goofer, from the artist’s coveted Burpee Garden series (1972-1977), 90 inches tall on 75 inches (canvas, minus frame), should fetch between $50,000 and $70,000. The signed and titled work (on the reverse) features a dazzling array of colors and is in excellent original condition.

“We are very pleased to manage one of the finest Alden Mason Burpee Garden Series paintings that has ever been offered,” Mr. Mroczek said. “The Burpee Garden series is so coveted because Alden diluted his oils in paint thinner and turpentine. It became a poisonous mixture, a mixture that Alden would inhale for hours while painting on large canvases. He was forced out of the show, as the toxins were killing him, ending those beautiful colorful translucent abstractions.

Lots 30-32 are tondo (circular) tempera on paper compositions of mystical birds by Morris Graves (Wash., 1910-2001), all three dated 1979, signed, with a 13-inch image area on 13 inches (minus frames) and each with an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. The titles are Hen Blue Jay with Pomegranate, Young Blue Jay with Persimmon and Cock Blue Jay Wrecking an Apple.

A large and impressive blown glass creation in the shape of a deep blue sea by Dale Chihuly (Washington, b. 1941), titled Ultramarine Blue Seaform with Red Orange Lip Wrap (1995), is expected to change hands for $6,000 to $9,000 . The artwork, signed and dated at the bottom, measures 11 inches by 21 inches by 12 inches and comes with a copy of the original receipt from Chihuly Studio, dated 1995.

Lots 44 and 45 are original paintings by Kenjiro Nomura (Wash., 1896-1956). Both are rare and feature in a recently published book on the artist. One is a 1952 gouache on cardboard titled City Lights (estimated at $5,000-$7,000). The 19-inch by 24-inch (image area, minus frame), museum-quality, Mark Tobey-style white writing abstraction is unsigned but verified by Nomura’s son.

The other is an oil on Masonite, also from 1952, titled Fish Market, a rare still-life abstraction of Northwest seafood with price tags reminiscent of Pike Place Market (est. 3,000 $ to $5,000). The framed gallery (25 inches by 30 inches) is signed and dated lower right. Nomura entered the painting into the Tupperware Art Fund, an art competition sponsored by the Tupperware Company.

The auction will begin at 5 p.m. PT with online bidding available on the MBA Seattle Auction House website ( as well as and Telephone and correspondence offers will also be taken. Previews will take place Monday-Wednesday, September 26-28, 10am-5pm PST; and Thursday, September 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or by appointment.

To learn more about MBA Seattle Auction House and the Modernism: Art and Object online auction scheduled for Thursday, September 29, please visit

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