Sotheby's Asian Art Auction in Paris June 14th On June 14 Sotheby’s will stage their first-ever sale in Paris devoted exclusively to Asian art, featuring 182 lots from (mainly European) private collections
News-Antique.com - Jun 07,2007 - This inaugural sale will begin with 33 lots comprising over 200 prints by the greatest artists of the 18th and 19th centuries. Highlights include portraits of Kabuki actors by Katsukawa Sunsho (1725-92), notably Otani Hiroemon III (1726-90), estimate €2000/3000* (lot 14); and portraits of courtesans by the celebrated Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), one showing Kasugano (Seiro series) with the fan painted with one of her poems (lot 14, estimate €5000/7000).
There will also be a number of prints by Japanese landscape masters, notably the iconic Great Wave at Kanagawa from the famous Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), shown in Paris at Galerie Berès in 1974 and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 1912 (lot 22, estimate €15,000/20,00 – see illustration); and an album containing 62 prints from the Hundred Famous Provincial Views (1859-60) by Hiroshige II, that has remained in the same French collection since the end of the 19th century (lot 33, estimate €30,000/40,000).
One of the most popular Japanese lots should be a pair of 17th/18th century six-fold screens whose beautifully preserved decoration, inspired by the famous 11th century tale by Lady Murasaki, shows bijin engaged in a variety of activities amidst trees, rocks and houses (lot 41, estimate €80,000/100,000).
The second part of the sale will be devoted to Chinese and Sino-Tibetan art (140 lots), starting with a fine array of Qing and Ming jades. The most in-demand will probably be the rust-toned celadon jade Ming crested bird (1368-1644) with its head on its wing and a peach-tree twig in its beak (lot 45, estimate €8000/12,000 - see illustration).
Several cloisonné enamel pieces are sure to attract the interest of international collectors. A Ming ‘Champion Vase’ formed by two adjoined tubular vases, connected by fantasy creatures in gilt-bronze, has decoration of remarkable quality (lot 55, estimate €8000/12,000).
A rare Ming Zun vase (Xuande Period, 1426-35), based on the form of archaic bronzes (estimate €150,000/200,000, lot 58 - see illustration), has naturalistic décor and is the sort of piece keenly sought-after by collectors. Just four similar examples are known today, one in the Palace Museum in Beijing.
A monumental Qing incense-burner with cover (Qianlong Period, 1736-95), on four feet with carved chimera heads, reflects the mastery of the cloisonné enamel technique attained by 18th century Chinese artists (lot 88, estimate €80,000/100,000). Despite the absence of a hallmark, this is unquestionably an imperial commission.
* estimates do not include buyer’s premium
The sale will also offer a rich panorama of 16th-18th century Chinese imperial porcelain. Outstanding examples include a Qing falangcai glazed bowl on a ruby ground, bearing the Yuzhi hallmark (Kangxi Period, 1662-1722), consigned by a Japanese private collector. This was doubtless a prototype made in the imperial Beijing workshops, and combines subtle colouring with a free-flowing peony pattern (lot 161, estimate €150,000/200,000 – see illustration on first page).
Other major pieces include a Ming 16th century blue-and-white porcelain ewer, with dragon and phoenix decoration, featuring the chang sheng bu lao symbol of