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A RARE SMALL RHINOCEROS HORN SHALLOW BOWL
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more THE COLLECTION OF MAURICE AND MARGUERITE SULZBACH My great grandfather, Maurice Sigismund Sulzbach, was born in Frankfurt am Main, on December 19, 1853, the son of a wealthy banker, Sigismund, and his wife Henriette. He was the youngest of their two children. In 1867, when Maurice was 14, the family moved to Thun in Switzerland, where they became Swiss citizens. He moved to Paris in December 1882, when he married a French girl, Marguerite Ida Premsel. They had two children - Marcel, followed six years later in November 1890 by Marie Andrée, my grandmother. Marguerite and Maurice were both extremely artistic, each led by their own passions. He was an academic collector with extremely eclectic tastes. Visiting their various houses as a child, I remember seeing Dutch old master paintings, Italian and French 15th and 16th century sculptures and paintings, as well as objects of Islamic and oriental art. Like many artists and collectors in the latter part of the 19th century, Maurice was fascinated by all things from the Far East, Japan and China in particular, hence his important collections of carved rhinoceros horn libation cups and jade figurines. His taste is reflected in the list of items he donated to the Louvre before he died in 1922.[1] There is an interesting comment on Maurice Sulzbach as a collector in an essay entitled 'Les Collectionneurs Juifs Parisiens sous la Troisième République' by Véronique Long: 'Some collectors chose to show certain pieces in specific rooms or "galleries" where objects were presented with pride as in an exclusive museum. This was the case for Maurice Sulzbach and the historian, Gustave Dreyfus, who displayed their favourite pieces in cabinets in the privacy of their own studies.' I can easily imagine my great grandfather sitting alone in his armchair, quietly admiring his lovingly collected carved rhinoceros horn cups, jade statuettes and Islamic goblets. Marguerite was more attracted to contemporary art and befriended many painters such as Maurice Denis, Jean Louis Forain and, later on, the Japanese artist Foujita. The Sulzbachs collected paintings by these artists, as well as works by other contemporary artists such as Courbet and Monet. Marguerite was passionate about music and was also an artist in her own right. She started painting on china at an early age and later created works in pottery. After her marriage she had a kiln installed in her house. We still have many of her beautiful creations, including a charming china plate painted with a lovely self-portrait, dated on the back 1877. She was an equally talented musician, so she also had a pipe organ built into the entrance hall of their Paris townhouse on which she would play in the company of her many composer friends. She fostered a rather renowned "salon" in Paris where they received artists and writers such as Marcel Proust, as well as many of the members of the Société Nationale de Musique (SNM) which included Debussy, Gabriel Fauré, Camille Erlanger, and Ernest Chausson, among others. Marguerite was herself a member and important benefactor of the SNM. In 1889, Maurice, who was a banker like his father, bought the beautiful Château du Chesnay in Le Chesnay, a few miles outside Paris. Many of their talented friends gathered there. According to the 'Annales du Chesnay', the Sulzbachs persuaded the composer, Ernest Chausson, to buy a nearby property, 'Le Bois Bel Air' belonging to Maurice's banking partner Monsieur Rouleau. Le Chesnay thus became a favourite meeting place for many composers and artists. Marguerite, during this period, became the focal point of their group and was to some extent the muse of a number of composers. In 1888, Gabriel Fauré dedicated a piece to Marguerite entitled rather lugubriously 'Au Cimetière', Opus 51, No. 2. In March 1896, Ernest Chausson wrote three melodies at Le Chesnay one of which, 'Ballade', was dedicated to Marguerite, and shortly afterwards a second one, 'Les Couronnes' dedicated to Madame Maurice Denis, the painter's wife. In effect, the Salon migrated to the bucolic tranquillity of their château in the hot summer months and whenever there was a pause in the social and artistic whirl in Paris. My grandmother, Marie Andrée, was much inspired by the artistic atmosphere in which she was raised and obviously inherited considerable musical talent from her mother, becoming an accomplished pianist. She married my grandfather, Roger, Comte de Lapeyrouse Vaucresson in November 1913, and they had two daughters, then my father, Arnaud. They lived in Paris, in the building built for my grandmother as a wedding present, and where my father remained after his marriage to my mother Simone in 1946. I was also brought up there with my brother and two sisters. My father, Arnaud, who inherited some of my great grandfather's collections was considerably interested in the carved rhinoceros horns and jade, which he had always greatly admired in his mother's house, where they were also kept in special cabinets. Indeed, in the 1970's he himself added a few pieces to the collection. Jean, Comte de Lapeyrouse-Vaucresson Paris, September 2011 [1] Some of these are recorded in the Donors Listing of the Louvre for the year 1919.
A RARE SMALL RHINOCEROS HORN SHALLOW BOWL

17TH CENTURY

Details
A RARE SMALL RHINOCEROS HORN SHALLOW BOWL
17TH CENTURY
Of circular form, with shallow, rounded sides rising to an everted rim, finely carved to the centre of the exterior with a band comprising pairs of stylised phoenix confronting small floral medallions, interspersed with monster-masks, all on a leiwen ground with ruyi-shaped motifs above, the sides with a pair of stylised archaistic animal-mask handles, all between a key-fret band to the rim and a lotus lappet band encircling the base, the semi-transluscent horn of light honey-brown tones darkening towards the base
3¼ in. (8.3 cm.) diam.
Special Notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

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Caroline Allen

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Lot Essay

This bowl, based on Tang dynasty (618-907) metalwork, takes after a group of shallow silver bowls without footrims. Such bowls were adopted from central Asian prototypes which were brought into China from the silk road trade routes. See a Tang dynasty silver bowl of similar form, formerly in the George Eumorfopoulos collection in the British Museum, London, AN988251001. Compare also another similar shallow silver bowl in the Kempe collection, illustrated in Bo Gyllensvärd, Chinese Gold, Silver and Porcelain, The Kempe Collection, The Asia Society, New York, 1971, p. 51, no.45.

In addition to the bowl's tribute to antiquity as a Tang dynasty metalwork form, the incorporation of more contemporaneous details, such as the monster-mask handles and lotus lappet band, makes the present lot particularly interesting and highlights the incredibly high level of artistry and skill possessed by the carver.

Please note this lot is accompanied by a letter from Animal Health agreeing that Christie's may sell it without further CITES certification and confirming that they would be likely to grant an export permit for it to leave the EU post-sale.

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