The continuing international appeal of Asian Art was demonstrated in the September sales in New York which realised $36.5 million; confirming Christie’s continued position as market leader for the category. This autumn, Christie’s London Asian Art Week will run from November 3 – 6, 2009, featuring further treasures of rarity, beauty and excellent provenance, with many highlights offered from superb private collections such as The Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Plesch Collection, The Clive D. Collins Collection, The Lord Blackford Collection and The Edward and Marilyn Flower Collection of Netsuke and Inro, Part I. The sales include: Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on November 3 at King Street; Japanese Art & Design on 4 November at South Kensington and Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles on November 6 at South Kensington.
Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art: November 3 at 10:30 am & 2:00 pm, Christie’s King Street
Christie’s Asian Art Week London commences with the bountiful riches offered in the Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale on November 3.
Led by four private collections, the auction as a whole comprises over 300 lots and includes superb jades, ceramics and sculptures.
Leading the works from various owner collections is a very fine famille rose imperial ‘peach’ bowl, with Yongzheng underglaze blue six-character mark within double circles and of the period (1723-35) (estimate: £300,000-500,000). Further highlights range from a rare large famille noire ‘dragon’ dish, with Kangxi underglaze blue six-character mark and of the period (1662-1722) (estimate: £80,000-120,000); the cover lot which is a rare and finely enamelled famille rose pink-ground model of a Buddhist Stupa, Qianlong period (1736-95) (estimate: £60,000-80,000); a fine Ming-style blue and white garlic-head pear-shaped vase, Qianlong seal mark and of the period (1736-95) (estimate: £30,000-50,000) and a very fine 18th century white jade ‘camel’ seal (estimate: £15,000-20,000).
Following the strength of demand for the Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections in September, Christie’s New York, which realised $3.2million, selling 99% by value and 97% sold by lot, Christie’s London are pleased to present 24 beautiful archaic jades from the revered collections. These include a greyish-green and russet jade cong, from Northwest China, 2nd -1st Millennium BC (estimate: £4,000-6,000); a Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 200) bronze sword with jade pommel and guard (estimate: £5,000-8,000) and two blackish-green jade ceremonial blades, Zhang, late Neolithic period, Northwest China, circa 2000 BC (estimate: £10,000-15,000).
Arthur M. Sackler was one of America’s foremost collectors, whose collection encompassed Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern and Pre-Columbian art as well as European ceramics, sculpture, paintings and drawings from the mediaeval to the modern periods. In 1965 he established The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation to make over a thousand works of art accessible to scholars, students and the general public. His name lives on in many art-related projects including the Sackler Wing, housing the Temple of Dendur, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology in China, which teaches museology to students in Beijing. An insightful connoisseur, he believed that “Art is a triumphant demonstration of how one people can speak to all people; how artists can speak to everyone across the void of time and the vastness of distance; and how a past civilization can relate to the present.”
Works offered from The Lord Blackford Collection of Chinese Works of Art are led by an Imperial, finely carved spinach-green jade brushpot (estimate: £300,000-400,000) from the Qianlong Period (1736-95). This refined collection also includes three further Qianlong jade artifacts and two cloisonné enamel birds with estimates ranging from £8,000 to £20,000. Offered for the first time in over fifty years, these fascinating examples are a perfect reflection of the taste in collecting Chinese Art amidst the British nobility during the 20th century.
Nineteen lots from The Plesch Collection are featured, ranging from jades and bronzes to sculptures and ceramics. Peter and Traudi Plesch came separately to Britain as refugees from Berlin and Vienna respectively, during World War II. Both from homes where art was appreciated, the collection provides insight into the couple’s shared passion which has deepened and developed during their marriage; showcasing works which they sought out and only purchased after careful consideration and mutual agreement. Key lots include an impressive 18th century large celadon jade ‘peach’ box and cover (estimate: £50,000-80,000); a finely carved jade finger citron, Qianlong Period (1736-95), which is naturalistically carved to imitate a fruit with curled finger-like tendrils (estimate:£15,000-25,000) and an attractive cloisonné enamel octagonal spittoon, with elaborate lotus flowers, Qianlong Period (1736-95) (estimate: £8,000-12,000), which is similar to an example in the Palace Museum collection, Beijing. Further works range from a finely carved 18th century lacquered-wood figure of Damo (estimate: £6,000-8,000), to a rare small guanyao vase, Song dynasty (960-1279) (estimate: £6,000-8,000).
A dynamic and varied array of 74 works from The Clive D. Collins Collection will also be offered. This collection has been formed over nearly half a century, fuelled by a passion for learning and initially with a purely aesthetic focus. It presents jade, bought from trusted London dealers in the 1970s, as well as beautiful works of art and porcelain, which Collins, now 92, increasingly concentrated on. Leading the collection are a large pale celadon jade ruyi sceptre 18th century (estimate: £30,000-50,000) and a large 18th century spinach-green jade ‘immortals’ boulder 18thcentury (estimate: £80,000-120,000). The decoration on the two sides of this finely carved jade mountain depicts contrasting landscapes, with the abode of immortals symbolized by pine trees and a peach tree which stand for longevity.
Further notable works include an attractive celadon-glazed double-gourd vase, with Qianlong underglaze blue seal mark and of the period (1736-95) (estimate: £8,000-12,000) and a finely carved cinnabar lacquer panel, Ming dynasty, 16th century (estimate: £15,000-20,000). Such panels were once the lid for large boxes, used to contain marriage documents. Several complete boxes of this type are in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing. An iron-red and underglaze blue ‘wufu’ saucer dish, with Qianlong underglaze blue seal mark and of the period (1736-95) (estimate: £4,000-6,000) will also be offered. The decoration comprises five bats which symbolize good fortune and also represent the Five Blessings: longevity, wealth, health, love of virtue and a peaceful death.
Collins increasingly fine tuned his appreciation of the purity of porcelain glazes, the skills of painting and the consistency of repeated patterns. Professing that he has learnt more from his mistakes than from purchases that have become valuable treasures, Collins’s collection reflects a collector who has followed his instincts, and built up his knowledge over decades, without regard to Chinese tastes, or the then value of what he was buying.
Japanese Art & Design: November 4 at 10:30 am and 2 pm at Christie’s South Kensington
The world of Japan is brought to London once again, as part of the Christie’s events for Asia Week in London, with estimates ranging from £500 to £50,000. The South Kensington sale on Thursday, November 4 presents a wonderful selection of over 200 lots of netsuke, which features two private collections, including “The Edward and Marilyn Flower Collection Part I” (Part 2 to be offered at Christie’s in May 2010). In addition to forming their netsuke collection, the Flowers are leading collectors of English majolica and American prints. Edward Flower is the general counsel and on the board of directors of the International Netsuke Kenkyukai Society. This superb collection was formed over a period of forty years – beginning in the 1960’s. Amongst the treasures offered is an 18th-century wood netsuke of the King of the East wearing an octopus crown, Edo Period (estimate: £4,000-6,000) and a charming wood netsuke of turtles in a bamboo basket, signed Tadakazu, Edo Period (18th – 19th century) (estimate: £4,000-6,000).
Elsewhere, there is a fine group of inro dating from the 18th to late 19th centuries, with highlights from the Meiji Period (late 19th century), such as an impressive threecase inro decorated in shibayama style (estimate: £7,000-9,000), as well as a fine four-case inro, decorated in various coloured ivory, cowhorn and mother ofpearl inlays, signed Nakayama (estimate: £3,000-5,000). A very interesting group of swords are offered from two private collections, led by a very fine handachi daisho, signed Shinpu Jonan (ni) Oite Shunkosai Yoshitaka, Edo period (19th century) (estimate: £4,000-5,000).
Amongst the wide array of wonderful prints, books and paintings are works from The Illing Collection , including the dramatic Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) print Soma no furudairi ai Masakado himegimi Takiyasha yojutsu o motte mikata o atsumuru [In the Ruined Palace at Soma…] (estimate: £4,000-6,000) and also an oban tate-e album containing the complete set of the series Ryokujuyoshu meisho zue [Pictures of Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces] by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) (estimate: £40,000-50,000). Other works of art include a rare Kakiemon figure of a bijin, Edo Period (late 17th century) (estimate: £10,000-15,000) and a magnificent, very rare ivory okimono [sculptural ornament] of a high-ranking samurai wearing an o-yoroi style armour, signed Yoshida Yoshiaki and Kao, Meiji Period (late 19th century).
Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles: November 6 at 10.30am and 2.00pm, Christie’s South Kensington
Christie’s South Kensington Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles Art sale caters for both traditional and new buyers in this vibrant category, with estimates ranging from £500 to £10,000. The sale presents an interesting array of over 400 lots of Chinese ceramics, silver, jade carvings, cloisonné, bronzes, lacquer and textiles. It includes over 40 lots of archaic jades and bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections and provides a fascinating insight into two entirely different collecting passions, from the early artifacts in The Plesch Collection to the ceramics and works of art in The Clive D. Collins Collection.
Works offered from The Plesch Collection are led by a 17th and 18th century bamboo carving of Luohai, (estimate: £5,000 – 8,000) and a beautiful 18th century double-sided carved Jichimu wood panel, depicting the “Three Friends of Winter: Bamboo, Prunes and Pine” (estimate: £4,000-6,000). Other examples include a yellow glazed dish, Hongzhi mark and of the period (1488-1505) (estimate: £1,500-2,000) and a finely carved celadon and russet jade double gourd vase, with ‘basket work’, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) (estimate: £3,000-5,000).
Further very attractive works are featured in The Clive D. Collins Collection, such as an 18th century cinnabar lacquer box and cover (estimate: £3,000-5,000) and an evocative Wucai dragon dish, Kangxi mark and of the period (1662-1722), which is painted in vibrant enamels depicting alternating scaled dragons and phoenix amidst scrolling stems of peony (estimate: £2,000-3,000). A stunning 18th century deep aubergine glazed Yuhuchunping (estimate: £1,500 – 2,500) and an early 17th century cloisonné enamelled bowl, decorated in vibrant enamels depicting four horses of Muwang galloping above foaming waves (estimate: £2,000-3,000) will also be offered.
From the sale as a whole, ceramics include a finely painted enamel bowl, Yongzheng/Qianlong period (1723/ 95), painted with dragons chasing around the interior of the bowl amongst scrolling clouds (estimate: £3,000-5,000) and a late 18th – early 19th century underglaze blue and iron-red dragon dish (estimate: £3,000-5,000). Jewellery includes an 18th century celadon and russet jade pendant (estimate: £2,000-3,000), which depicts an elegant deer, carved in high relief to the celadon and russet surface; carved and pierced with a Shuangxi (Double Happiness) character below three ruyi-head motifs. Silver is led by two silver export cups, marked Cumwo, Hong Kong (1851-1900) and Cutshing, Canton (1826-1875) (estimate: £2,000 – 3,000).
Amongst the other works of art presented is an impressive, large spinach jade table screen and wood stand, circa 1800 (estimate: £5,000-8,000) and a large 17th century bronze Gu vase, decorated in relief with many sinuous dragons (estimate: £6,000-8,000). The beauty of the textiles featured are exemplified by a stunning Chinese mid-19th century Manchu lady’s robe of turquoise satin (estimate: £3,000 – 5,000). Turquoise is a colour that was reserved in court dress for ladies of the Imperial family. This semi-formal robe would have been worn by a high-ranking lady.
Image: A very fine famille rose imperial ‘peach’ bowl, with Yongzheng underglaze blue six character mark within double circles and of the period (1723-35) estimate: £300,000-500,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd. 2009