The Marie Theresa L. Virata Collection of Asian Art: A Family Legacy
16 March 2017
Christie’s is pleased to announce the sale of The Marie Theresa L. Virata Collection of Asian Art: A Family Legacy, which will be offered on March 16, 2017 during Christie’s Asian Art Week. This collection is most famous for its classical Chinese furniture of exceptional examples in huanghuali and zitan, and also includes ceramics, Japanese screens, and Chinese carpets. Collected over three generations, the Virata family focused on works with distinguished provenance, superior condition and esteemed publication history.
Proceeds from this auction will be donated to charitable organizations benefiting impoverished children in the Philippines and cancer research, and will also fund a museum housing Bebe Virata’s Philippine Art collection which includes sculpture, furniture, ceramics and indigenous gold ornaments.
Highlights include a pair of very rare 17th-century huanghuali ‘Southern official’s hat’ armchairs from the Gustav Ecke collection, published in his seminal book Chinese Domestic Furniture, and a very rare huanghuali kang table dating to the Wanli period (1572-1620). Highlights constructed from zitan include a very rare pair of zitan ‘official’s hat’ armchairs published in C.Y. Tsai’s Zitan: the Most Notable Hardwood, and a spectacular and very rare zitan luohan bed from the 18th century.
Acquired over a fifty year period, the Marie Theresa L. Virata Collection of Asian Art represents a joint collecting effort that spans three generations of the distinguished Virata family of the Phillipines. Leonides Sarao Virata (1918-1976), was a prominent economist in the Philippines who helped to rebuild the country after World War II as Secretary of Department of Commerce and Industry and as a founder of various corporations in the private sector. His wife Marie Theresa (1923-2015), known to friends as Bebe, became interested in art and antiques in the 1960s. Her collecting legacy continued with her children Luis and Giovanna, as well as with her daughter-in-law Elizabeth. In the late 1970s, the collection was expanded to include classical Chinese furniture dating to the Ming and Qing dynasties, and other Chinese and European works of art. Bebe became a close personal friend of the preeminent New York dealer Robert Ellsworth, who provided advice and guidance from the late 1970s until his passing in 2014.
The catalogue for the sale will be available February 2017.
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