Andrew Kahane, Ltd., New York, 5 December 1988.
THE WALTER AND PHYLLIS SHORENSTEIN COLLECTION OF CHINESE ART (LOTS 1289-1296)
The Chinese works of art in the collection of Walter and Phyllis Shorenstein are spectacular in their beauty, technical excellence and historical importance. Following the recent and immense success of Treasures From the Shorenstein Collection, including important glass, imperial porcelain and fine jades sold in our Hong Kong rooms, Christie's New York is pleased to offer ancient bronzes, early ceramics and sculpture, jade carvings, and the very rare and important 12th century Yunnanese gilt-bronze figure of Acouye Guanyin (lot 1294) from this most prestigious collection.
Both Walter and Phyllis Shorenstein will be remembered for their immense contribution to the city of San Francisco's cultural, educational and social life, as well as for their generous and thoughtful charitable works. This was eloquently described by Mayor Frank Jordan in a tribute to the Shorenstein's when he said that they: 'consistently helped make this city a better place for all of us'. One of the beneficiaries of their financial and personal support was the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Phyllis Shorenstein was one of the founders of the museum, which opened in Golden Gate Park in 1966, serving as a board member for many years, and being a commissioner right up to the time of her death in 1994. Over a 20-year period the Shorenstein family donated many fine examples of art from China, Japan, Korea, India, and other Asian countries, to the museum. In recognition of all the Shorenstein's had done for the Asian Art Museum, in May 1994 one of its galleries was named in honor of the family.
The Shorenstein's home was a testament to their passion for beautiful and rare objects, where, in addition to the works of art on the walls and display shelves, guests would encounter the world-record setting exquisite porcelain moonflask with underglaze-blue and overglaze-rose enamel decoration next to a superb pink glass vase, or the magnificent molded and carved ruby glass ewer next to the rare Yunnanese gilt-bronze figure of Acouye Guanyin, placed on pieces of fine European furniture. Christie's colleagues also recall a delightful dinner in the garden of the Shorenstein's Portola Valley home during which Mr. Shorenstein had to excuse himself to take a telephone call from former president Jimmy Carter, and on returning to the table immediately rejoined the lively conversation on Chinese art.
Phyllis Shorenstein was a passionate collector of Chinese glass, and amassed a superb collection with the scholarly help of the late Dr. Clarence Shangraw. Mrs. Shorenstein once mentioned to Dr. Shangraw that the glass in her cabinets reminded her of 'a chorus line of color' - a wonderfully evocative phrase, which was adapted to provide the name for an exhibition of glass, from three of America's top collections, held at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco in 1995. The catalogue of this exhibition was dedicated to Phyllis Shorenstein's memory, and the dedication noted that: 'She championed excellence in Asian Art'. This pursuit of excellence shines through in Walter and Phyllis Shorenstein's collection of Chinese Art.