Christie’s is pleased to announce the sale of Property from the Bequest of Adrienne Minassian sold to benefit Brown University in the Arts of Islam sale on 26 April 2013. A further 17 lots will be offered in Interiors at Christie’s New York on 18 & 19 June 2013.
“Brown is grateful to the late Adrienne Minassian for honoring the University with a bequest of Islamic art and artifacts, said Provost Mark Schlissel. Having received more than 1,300 works of art and manuscripts, we are choosing to auction a relatively small group of objects from the bequest that were never accessioned into the University’s collection. The funds raised from sales at Christie’s, made possible by Ms. Minassian’s generosity, will allow for continued growth of the University's teaching and research on the Middle East, advancing understanding and knowledge of this politically, historically and culturally significant part of the world.”
Adrienne Minassian (1913-1994) was the daughter of Kirkor Minassian (1874-1944), a dealer in Islamic and Near-Eastern antiquities with galleries in New York and Paris. Though the Minassian family closed its New York gallery in 1923, Mr. Minassian remained an active dealer in the New York art market until the end of the decade. He was part of a group of prominent collectors and dealers of Armenian origin such as Hagop Kevorkian or Dikran Kelekian who had emigrated to New York in the early 20th century. Kirkor Minassian held several public auctions in New York in the 1920s and maintained an extensive personal art collection which focused upon Islamic ceramics, sculptural objects, textiles, and manuscripts. Adrienne Minassian continued her father’s legacy as a premier collector and dealer of Islamic antiquities for the latter half of the twentieth century. Ms. Minassian was one of the few dealers of Islamic art in America and her personal collection also followed the form of her father’s: manuscripts, miniature painting, and ceramics were her major areas of interest. Brown University was fortunate to be one of the beneficiaries of her extensive family art collection when she passed away in 1994.
Highlights of the 65 lots to be offered at South Kensington include a group “Kubachi ware” Safavid pottery dishes, which date to 16th and 17th century Iran. Most of these dishes are characterised by their black geometric decoration under a deep turquoise blue glaze. Rarer examples of “Kubachi ware” have figural or polychrome decoration on white ground, such as the polychrome “Kubachi” pottery dish, which is estimated to realise between £700 and £1,000.
Earlier examples of Persian and Eastern-Mediterranean ceramics, include a large post-Sassanian blue-glazed pottery jar which is estimated at £3,000 to £4,000. A selection of Kashan lustreware from the 12th and 13th century includes a lustre pottery rectangular vessel (estimate: £2,000 – 3,000) and a small lustre pottery jug (estimate: £600 – 900) which was exhibited at the Persian Exhibition of 1940 in New York.
A group of fine Ottoman tiles from the mid-16th century to the early 17th century includes two Iznik pottery border tiles, circa 1550-70 (estimate: £3,500 – 4,500), and an Iznik calligraphic pottery tile, circa 1580-90 (estimate: £3,500 – 4,500).
Metalwork is represented, by a large engraved copper bottle which dates from 18th century India (estimate: £1,200 – 1,800), and a silver-inlaid brass candlestick, dating to 14th century Fars in southwest Iran (estimate: £2,000 – 3,000), amongst many other examples.
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