News-Antique.com - Nov 19,2015 - FOREST HILLS, N.Y. – Kyo Wu, the trusted art historian who founded Lester Ramsey Auctions in 2010, said his team left no stone unturned in preparing for the company’s Dec. 6 Fine Chinese Works of Art Auction. “We went off the beaten path to track down exciting discoveries that would be fresh to the marketplace,” Wu said.
The top-tier 260-lot selection prepared for the Dec. 6 sale is the tangible reflection of Wu’s perseverance. “More than half of the goods came directly from American collections with noteworthy provenance,” Wu said.
Wu said he has opted to keep the estimates “humble,” promising consignors he would promote their pieces vigorously. “If you offer quality Chinese art to bidders, it will find its correct price through auction competition.”
Important jades include examples from the Yuan Dynasty (1160-1368) all the way through to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). “Using large, beautifully carved Chinese jades as lamp bases was a practice made popular by Bensebott’s in Chicago as well as Yamanaka and Edward I. Farmer (1872-1942) of New York City. These lamps were popular among America’s elite industrialist families from around 1900 through the Art Deco period,” Wu noted.
Lot 75 is just such a piece and can be traced to the estate of Senator William Andrews Clark (1839-1925) of the immensely wealthy Clark family, which earned its fortune from mining and banking and was on par with the Vanderbilts and Morgans. The white jade carving turned lamp base depicts an immortal carrying a branch of peaches, a flywhisk and a gourd. It stands an impressive 11½ inches tall and is attributed to the Qianlong period (1735-1796).
“We’ve seen interior pictures of Senator Clark’s 100-room Fifth Avenue mansion. It was filled with extraordinary Chinese and European art. This jade came from the senator’s collection, which passed by descent through the Clark family and previously was auctioned at Christie’s in a sale titled ‘The Clark Family, An American Dynasty,’” Wu said. The venerable jade is estimated at $25,000-$35,000.
Like the Clark family jade, Lot 57, an intricately carved soapstone tableau depicting eight Chinese immortals, was mounted to a lamp base attributed to eminent Chinese art collector and silversmith Edward I. Farmer. The 14-inch landscape carving comes with provenance from an important Cape Cod collection and is modestly estimated at $2,000-$3,000. “Lamps with bases quite similar to this one have sold very well in the past, so we are pleased to offer this piece for such an attractive estimate,” Wu said.
Lot 69 meets all the criteria for a genuine Chinese jade from the Yuan Dynasty (1160-1368). The celadon jade carving, which comes from a Texas private collection, depicts the mythological winged beast “Chimera” and exhibits distinctive Yuan characteristics. “The style of ears, the upward-turning nose, and the subject matter itself are all evocative of carvings from the very desirable Yuan period,” Wu said. Estimate: $7,000-$9,000.
Several particularly fine gilt-bronze Ming Dynasty Buddhas will take the auction spotlight. Three of the finest will be offered