New York – Christie’s is pleased to announce the sales of Asian Art Week for Fall 2014. The series of six sales, running from 16-19 September, will present over one thousand lots of exceptional quality and rarity that span centuries of Asian Art. Among the highlights of the week is Christie’s first sale in New York completely devoted to the finest examples of cloisonné enamels from private American collections. The September Asian Art Week will also feature a great deal of works with exquisite provenance, perhaps most notably the sale of Works from the Collection of Shumita and Arani Bose, featuring 26 masterpieces of contemporary Southeast Asian Art. In addition to the sales, Christie's will have on view four special exhibitions throughout the galleries, including a new category - Chinese Contemporary Design: A Dialogue Between Tradition and Modernity - to be sold in Shanghai and for Private Sale.
FINE CHINESE PAINTINGS
Christie’s sale of Fine Chinese Paintings will take place on 16 September and feature 120 traditional and modern works of art. Leading the sale is Shitao’s Plants and Calligraphy (illustrated right; estimate: $250,000-350,000), a seventeenth-century album of eight leaves, comprising four paintings and four leaves of poems. This album is one of three known works that Shitao dedicated to his contemporary Zhou Jing, a lay Buddhist with whom he had cultivated a close friendship during the 1680s. The lotus reflects Buddhist notions of transcendence and, while lotuses remain pure despite growing in muddy surroundings, and bamboo shoots flourish during the harshest periods of winter, Shitao also endured, maintaining loyalty to the Ming imperial Zhu family, into which he was born, despite the political oppression he faced with the rise of the Qing dynasty.
Xu Gu’s Squirrel (illustrated left; estimate: $50,000-60,000), a framed 19th century fan leaf will also be offered in the sale. A common theme for Xu Gu but unsual for other artists, Xu Gu’s squirrel appears electrified, with fuzzy, static fur and bulging, hungry eyes. The energetic appearance of the rodent is in noted contrast to the soft and smooth pastel surfaces of the fruit that he is about to eat.
INDIAN & SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART
Christie’s sale of Indian and Southeast Asian Art will take place on 16 September and offer 125 exquisite works of art from Gandhara, Nepal, Tibet and India.
Among the sale highlights is a 2nd/3rd century Gandharan gray schist figure of a bodhisattva (illustrated right; estimate: $250,000-350,000), one who has achieved enlightenment but has forgone nirvana (the escape from rebirth) to serve as guides for all sentient beings. The iconography, such as the topknot, rich vestments, jeweled foliate collar, and rope-work necklace, leads one to believe that this figure represents either Maitreya, the Buddha of the future, or the historical Prince Siddhartha. The naturalistic attention to drapery employed in this example is characteristic of the Gandharan period and drawn from the earlier Greco-Roman influence in the region. The figure's left knee is slightly bent, as if he has just taken a step forward, conveying a subtle yet powerful sense of moving closer to the viewer.
This sale also includes a selection of paintings highlighted by a Tibeto-Chinese painting of a Vajravarahi thirty-seven-deity mandala (illustrated left; estimate: $80,000-120,000), circa 1740-1763. An inscription at the bottom of this exquisite painting indicates that it was commissioned by Yintao, the 12th of twenty sons of the Kangxi Emperor and designed by Changkya Rolpa'I Dorje, the personal Buddhist teacher of the Qianlong Emperor and head lama in Beijing during the 18th century.
A PIONEERING VISION: WORKS FROM THE COLLECTION OF SHUMITA AND ARANI BOSE
A Pioneering Vision: Works from the Collection of Shumita and Arani Bose will be offered on 17 September in New York. In the two decades since co-founding the New York based Bose Pacia, the first gallery in the West specializing exclusively in contemporary South Asian art, Shumita and Arani Bose have nurtured, supported and promoted India’s most important avant garde artists. Carefully curated by these internationally renowned tastemakers, the Collection of Shumita and Arani Bose is one of the most comprehensive and distinguished in the West. This iconic and eclectic selection will offer 26 illustrious masterpieces by modern masters such as Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, Francis Newton Souza and Bhupen Khakhar, alongside international contemporary superstars.
Among the highlights of the sale is Vasudeo S. Gaitonde’s Untitled (illustrated right; estimate: $750,000-900,000), painted in 1971. Gaitonde is recognized as having been an innovator and stands apart from his Indian contemporaries for his espousal of a purely abstract aesthetic in art. The work to be offered in September showcases Gaitonde as a painter, philosopher and alchemist at the zenith of his career. His fully matured and resolved style creates a harmonious symphony of the abstract, minimalist and conceptual aesthetic.
This sale will also include Francis Newton Souza’s monumental masterpiece The Butcher, painted in 1962 whilst living in London, where his talent and reputation were firmly cemented. The Butcher represents the apex of the raw, expressionist style that characterized Souza’s works in this era, and is influenced by the works of El Greco and Goya as well as the Romanesque paintings and Catalonian frescos he earlier saw on a visit to Spain. Souza’s painting focuses on the agent of butchery, casting him as a symbol of the tragic destiny of man, forever damned to suffer in torment. This epic painting on black satin is one of the largest to come to auction – a seminal work that captures the shocking and powerful grotesque for which Souza is celebrated.
SOUTH ASIAN MODERN + CONTEMPORARY ART
Following the auction of A Pioneering Vision is the South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art sale, which will feature 70 lots, offering iconic works by leading modernist masters Syed Haider Raza, Maqbool Fida Husain, Manjit Bawa, and Jagdish Swaminathan. The sale will be led by Manjit Bawa’s monumental masterpiece Untitled (Durga) (illustrated right; estimate: $380,000-450,000). Bawa distilled figuration to its most elemental components, giving primacy to line by evoking elements of Kalighat painting while simultaneously exploring the saturated and gem-toned hues of miniature painting. Bawa was influenced by ancient mythology and Hindu literature, and in the present work he depicts Durga, the female supreme deity, mounted on the back of her lion. Bawa’s use of space and color creates a mesmerizing composition that conjures a window into a world of imagination, myth, mysticism and magic.
Also among the sale’s highlights is Maqbool Fida Husain’s Untitled (Elephants) (illustrated left; estimate: $100,000-150,000). Husain uses gestural brushstrokes and warm, almost fauvist, coloring to depict this tender family portrait. This painting presents three elephants as they revel in a pure and primal playfulness, surrounded by an atmospheric dense green jungle.
RIVERS OF COLOR: CLOISONNÉ ENAMELS FROM PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTIONS
On September 18, Christie's will present Rivers of Color: Cloisonné Enamels from Private American Collections, a dedicated sale of over 50 works of exceptional cloisonné enamel works from China.
Among the highlights of the sale is a superb and very rare Ming dynasty cloisonné enamel deep bowl, dating to the 15th-early 16th century (estimate: $300,000-500,000), beautifully decorated with winged mythical beasts on the exterior and interior. The sale also features a selection of outstanding works from the Collection of David B. Peck III, including a rare large cloisonné enamel ram and vase group, 18th century (estimate: $40,000-60,000) and a rare cloisonné enamel archaistic ‘wheeled’ phoenix-form vase, zun, Qianlong period (1736-1795) (estimate: $60,000-80,000).
FINE CHINESE CERAMICS AND WORKS OF ART
Christie’s sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art will be held over the course of two days, featuring over 600 lots that span over 3,000 years and numerous collecting categories, including jade and hardstone carvings, fine classical Chinese furniture, archaic bronzes, early pottery and later porcelains, gilt-bronze Buddhist figures, imperial glass, and snuff bottles.
Highlighting the sale is a magnificent pair of huanghuali square-corner cabinets, fangjiaogui, from the early 18th century (estimate: $500,000-800,000). The elegant form of these cabinets, with its attractive straight lines and pleasing aesthetic, has made it one of the most successful forms in Chinese furniture construction. Other outstanding works include a rare ‘sacrificial red’ dish, Xuande six-character incised mark within a double circle and of the period (1426-1435) (estimate: $120,000-180,000), the highlight of a selection of ceramics, jades, and other works of art collected in the US in the 1970s and 1980s by the late Dr. Peter Greiner, a noted Midwestern collector and scholar.
Additional highlights from other prominent private collections include a sancai-glazed figure of a woman holding a goose, Tang dynasty (AD 618-907) (estimate: $30,000-50,000) and other works dating from the Shang to Qing dynasties from the estate of Mrs. Yale Kneeland (1869-1955) and a superb selection of Qing mark-and-period glass from the collection of Hugh W. Greenberg. An interesting and diverse range of Song-Qing porcelains from the estate of New England collector Alfred E. Guntermann will also be on offer, including a rare large blue and white ‘fu lu shou’ jar, guan, Jiajing six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1522-1566) (estimate: $30,000-50,000).
The sale also includes a rare dated white satin imperial guardsman’s ceremonial uniform and helmet, Qianlong period (1736- 1975) (estimate: $80,000-100,000); and a rare large painted enamel double-gourd vase of the Qianlong period (1736-1795) from the Collection of Mrs. James Bishop Peabody (estimate: $80,000-120,000).
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