This catalogue marks the 20th anniversary of Korean art sales at Christie's New York which began with the sale of The Robert Moore Collection of Fine and Important Korean Ceramics in October 1986.
Mr. Moore prefaces this second sale with a few reminiscences:
My first Korean pot was purchased inexpensively from Cost Plus in San Francisco. It was 500 years old! The hunt was on, and for the past 40 years I have been in and out of every antique store, auction, gallery, missionary's attic, G.I.'s trunk and collector's cellar on the West Coast and beyond.
Most of the Korean art works surviving today, except paintings, have been preserved underground, either by accidental burial or by entombment with the deceased. Thus our collections are limited to ceramics, metal or stone pieces. The 18th and 19th centuries yield more perishable items of wood, paper and fabric. Korean pots, being the most plentiful, have been my focus.
William B. Honey describes Korean wares as unaffected. Soetsu Yanagi writes that "the Korean craftsmen are quite free from the conflict of the beautiful and the ugly, they just make what they make without pretension." Robert P. Griffing Jr. states that Korean ceramics are "sturdy, straightforward and unassuming. They have neither China's supremely rational classicism nor any of Japan's studied artifice." For myself, Korean pots are quiet and directly satisfying wares from the land of the morning calm.
Collecting--and particularly on a budget--requires discipline, scholarship, connoisseurship and resourcefulness.The joy of bringing home a treasure wrapped in old newspaper is indeed an adventure.