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Asia Week, Fall 2008

Christie's, Rockefeller Plaza, New York

Masterpieces from the Zimmerman Family Collection

5 PM, Lots 1-9, September 15, 2008

Sale 2126

Masterpieces of Himalayan Bronzes

Lots 11-18, September 15, 2008

Sale 2248

South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art

10 AM, Lots 101-228, September 16, 2008

Sale 2025

Indian and Southeast Asian Art

September 16, 2008

Sale

Important Chinese Snuff Bottles from The J & J Collection, Part V

September 17, 2008

Sale 2026

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

Lots1-560, September 17, 2008

Sale 2037

Masterworks of Ancient and Imperial China

6:30 PM, Lots 550-602, September 17, 2008

Sale 2238

Japanese and Korean Art

10 AM. Lots 1-353, September 18, 2008

Sale 2028

All photos by Michele Leight except where noted


Masterpieces of Himallayan Bronzes from Zimmerman collection


Masterpieces of Himalayan Bronzes from The Zimmerman Family Collection and a Graceful Khmer sculpture in Christies Rockefeller Plaza galleries

By Michele Leight

Amidst a blaze of glorious Himalayan art and bronzes from Tibet, Nepal and Kashmir that will launch Christie's Asian Art Week in New York, Christie's Senior Specialist and International Head of Asian Art Dr. Hugo Weihe stressed the extremely high quality of works offered at this sale, which is expected to reach in excess of $60 million. Christie's Asia Week sale in March was hugely successful, far exceeding its pre-sale estimate.

The auctions achieved a total of $51.1 million, including the buyer's premiums, the second highest total ever for Asian Art Week at Christie's New York, "a testament," according to Theow H. Tow, deputy chairman, Christie's Americas and Asia, "to the underlying strength of the Asian art market and the sales put together by Christie's specialists. Asian art is truly an international collecting area. This season saw Asians in particular participating strongly in all collecting categories, both classical and contemporary. That supreme quality, exceptional provenance and excellent condiion is much sought after was exemplified by the results of he superb early Ming white glazed vase, meiping, from the Property of the Ping Y. Tai Foundation, which achieved a world auction record for a Ming Dynasty monochrome porcelain at $2,770,500." The vase had an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000 and was Lot 245 in the Chinese snuff bottle auction in which 354 of 560 offered lots sold for $19,342,550.

The auctions in general did not fare too well with high percentages of unsold items. The Zimmerman Family Collection, Himalayan Bronzes and Indian and Southeast Asian Art auctions September 15 and 16 sold only 54 percent of the offered lots for a total of $14,146,688. The South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art auction September 16 sold 67 percent by lot for $12,634,375. The Japanese and Korean Art auction September 18 sold 59 percent by lot for $5,018,925.

Dr. Hugo Weihe, Christie's International head of Asian Art

Dr. Hugo Weihe, Christie's International Head of Asian Art, with Himalayan Masterpieces from The Zimmerman Family Collection

"These masterpieces from the Zimmerman Family Collection are of the highest quality. The collection began in the 60s when Jack and Muriel Zimmerman saw Stella Kamrishs' exhibition The Art of Nepal at The Asia House Gallery, featuring Nepalese bronzes and thankas. This was the hippie generation, and a time when people traveled to India frequently; the Dalai Lama also settled there. These are iconic works that have been widely exhibited," said Dr. Weihe.

Bodhisattva Avolokiteshvara

Lot 1, gilt copper figure of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Nepal, 14th Century

Amongst the beautiful artworks offered from this collection is Lot 1, a 14th century gilt copper figure of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara from Nepal. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $242,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article. Lot 5, "A Highly Important Thangka With Scenes From The Life of The Buddha Shakyamuni," from Central Tibet, superbly rendered in opaque pigments and gold on textile in the 12th century. It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $662,500.

Paubha of Chanda Maharoshana and Marnaki

Lot 3, "An Important Paubha of Chanda Maharoshana and Marnaki," Nepal, circa 1525-50

The winsome and energized "An Important Paubha of Chanda Maharoshana and Marnaki," circa 1525-50, from Nepal, Lot 3, has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. Lot 6, an "Important Thangka of the Akshobya Vajra Guhyasamaja Mandala, a 36-by 32 3/4-inch textilefrom Central Tibet in the late 14th Century, had an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $242,500.

Avalokiteshvara

Lot 13, "An Important and Large Gilt Bronze Figure of Avalokiteshvara, Kashmir School in Western Tibet, 9th-10th Century.

In a statement included in the catalog for this sale, the Zimmerman family wrote:

"Since we began collecting in 1964, we have had the pleasure of finding many wonderful pieces and of making new friends around the world. We are happy to have been able to play a small part in preserving this great art, some of which is representative of a Tibetan culture whose survival is increasingly threatened. We hope that these objects continue to be shared, through exhibitions, scholarly study and loans, with as many people as possible." Lot 3 has an estimate of $1,250,000 to $1,750,000. It sold for $1,538,500.

That these rare works of art have survived so many centuries, and remain in such pristine condition - and despite the circumstances in Tibet - is nothing short of miraculous.

Buddha

Lot 18, "An Important and Monumental Gilt Bronze Figure of Buddha," Tibet, 14th Century."

In the Masterpieces of Himalayan Bronzes sale featuring eight sculptures from Nepal, Tibet and Kashmir (in the context of Western Tibet) is Lot 13, "A Large and Important Figure of Avalokiteshvara," created in the 9th-10th century, an exquisitely cast gilt bronze showing fine detailing of jewelry and drapery from the Kashmir School in Western Tibet, with an estimate of $1,200,000-1,800,000.
From the same sale and illustrated above is Lot 18, "An Important and Monumental Gilt Bronze Figure of Buddha," Tibet, 14th century, an imposing presence with a compelling smile, which has an estimate upon request.After the same, Dr. Weihe said that the afternoon sesion of Indian and Southeast Asian art and yesterday's Masterpieces sale inspired bidding from an international audience. We were gratified to see quality works performing well and delighted to find classical Indian Art as a continuing trend for collectors worldwide. Highlights spanned a broad range of interest, including Himalayan bronzes, minatures and picchavias including the gilt bronze Tibetan figure of Buddha which realized $3,666,500, achieving a world auction record."

Standing Buddha

Lot 321, A Large Gray Schist Figure of a Standing Buddha," Gandhara, 2nd-3rd Century

The quality continues in the Indian and Southeast Asian Art sale from The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul E. Manheim, which leads the sale together with artworks from other private collections. Paul Manheim was a former partner at Lehman Brothers and trustee of The Brooklyn Museum, and he shared a passion for Asian art with his sister, Alice Kaplan, from whose own collection two sculptures and one thanka achieved world auction records at Christie's record breaking Asian Art sale in March. Lot 321, a large gray schist figure of a standing buddha from the 2nd to 3rd Century had an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $602,500.

Seated Buddha

Lot 30, "A Gray Schist Figure of a Seated Buddha," Gandhara, 2nd-3rd Century.

Leading us to a another serene sculpture, Lot 30 from The Manheim Collection, a large "Gray Schist Figure of a Standing Buddha," from Gandhara, 2nd-3rd century, (estimate $400,000 to $600,000), Dr. Weihe pointed out remnants of gilt still visible on the head (originally it would have been entirely gilded), and the strong Greco-Roman influence in the draping especially: "This is one of the finest examples ever to come to market. Even though there are works of exceptionally high quality at auction today, never have I come across this level," said Dr. Weihe.

South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art

"Yellow Heads" by Mehta, left, and "Ritual" by Hussein, right

Lot 121, "Untitled (Yellow Heads), by Tyeb Mehta, 1979, oil on canvas, 59 x 41 inches, left; Lot 150, "Ritual," by Maqbool Fida Hussein, 1968, oil on canvas, 48 x 72 inches, right

Tyeb Mehta (b. 1925) has achieved the highest price for a work by an Indian artist at auction, while Maqbool Hida Husseinb (b. 1915) is the most famous and recognized artist in India, a man of the people, and entirely self-taught. I found an early painting by him in a dhaba in Kolkata this summer, (the equivalent of an American coffee shop), a Picasso-esque interpretation of a traditional Indian woman that hung unobtrusively above the cash register. A young man who is clearly used to scores of people like myself enquiring after "the Hussein" told me it had been there "since his father's time," when Hussein used to eat there as a struggling artist "and he continued to come here after he was famous' he said with evident pride. It came to mind as I viewed an exquisite gem by Hussein in Christie's galleries, Lot 125, "Village Woman," painted in 1954, with an estimate of $100,000-150,000. It sold for $182,500.

Lot 121, "Untitled (Yellow Heads), is a strong oil on canvas by Mehta that measures 59 by 41 and a quarter inches and was executged i 1979. It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $902,500.

Mehta lived in New York during the late 1960s, where he was exposed to minimalist art, especially Barnet Newman, which had an enormous influence on his artistic career. Although close in age, Mehta's canvasses could not be more different from Hussein's organic fusion of Cubism, Expressionism and Abstraction incorporating traditional Indian subject matter.

Lot 150 is a very good oil on canvas by Hussein that is entitled "Ritual" and measures 48 1/4 by 72 1/4 inches and was executed in 1968. It yhas an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $1,022,500.

"Steal 2," by Gupta

Lot 112, "Steal 2," by Subodh Gupta, oil on canvas, 66 x 90 inches, 2007

Subodh Gupta (b. 1964), whose every day subject-matter - kitchen utensils, Indian idols, taxis, bicycles, or baggage stacked on trolleys at airports and railway stations - are contemporary icons, staples of modern Indian life, re-worked these utensils in his painting "Steal 2," Lot 112. It has an estimate of $800,000-1,000,000. It sold for $1,116,500. Mr. Weihe noted that this auction totaled $12,634,375 with 84 of the offered 126 lots selling, adding that the sale "offered a selective group of exceptional works that stimulated lively interest" and "confirmed the strength of the growing Indian art market." "Many prices," he continued, "exceeded pre-sale estimates and established six new world auction records for artists...including Jyothi Basu, Riyas Komu, Manjit Bawa, Chitra Ganesh, Mohammad Zeeshan, and Zainul Abedin."

Dr. Hugo Weihe with Lot 123, "Miter," by Subodh Gupta, stainless steel, stainless steel utensils, 84 x 60 x 24 inches, number three from and edition of three, 2007

Lot 123, "Miter," by Gupta is a 2007 work that is number three from an edition of three and consists of shimmering assemblages of traditional stainless steel pots, canisters and thalis used in millions of Indian homes and temples today is far from mundane in Gupta's hands, just as his painterly Pop and photo-realist versions of them morph into compelling abstractions that are garnering the interest of serious collectors worldwide. The "heart" shape is a nod to fellow artist Jeff Koons.

In the sale catalogue, the artist explains:

"I am the idol thief. I steal from the drama of Hindu life. And from the kitchen - these pots, they are like stolen gods, smuggled out of the country. Hindu kitchens are as important as prayer rooms. These pots are like something sacred, part of important rituals, and I buy them in a market. They think I have a shop, and I let them think it. I get them wholesale." (C. Mooney, 'Subodh Gupta: Idol Thief,' Artreview, 17 December 2007, p.57.) The lot was an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $1,022,500.

"Man" by Brootha

Lot 122, "Man," by Rameshwar Brootha, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches, 1991

The gravity of Rameshwar Brootha's (b. 1941) "Man," Lot 122, is reflected in the younger artist Riyas Komu's (b. 1972) anxious Afghan woman in the politically charged "Designated March of a Petro-Angel (or Desert March). "Man is an oil on canvas that measures 36 by 48 inches and was painted in 1991. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $506,500.

"Desert March" by Komu

Lot 120, "Designated March of a Petro-Angel (or Desert March), by Riyas Komu, oil on canvas, 71 x 72 inches, 2006

Painted in 2006, Christie's catalog states that "Komu's portraits are comprised of randomly chosen images from the media and are intended to convey the angst and frustration felt by the common man in regions experiencing strife and unrest. Although his paintings are disquieting and draw the viewer into a miasma of desolation, the final and underlying current is one which celebrates the resilience of the common man."

"Two Dimensions" by Rana, left; detail, rightDetail of lot 101

Lot 101, "Two Dimensions," by Rashid Rana, 2007, chromogenic print and diasec mounted, 76 x 45 inches, from an edition of five, photos by Carter B. Horsley

Lot 101, "Two Dimensions," by Rashid Rana (b. 1972) depicts a monolithic skyscraper and is also a composite image made from "pixels" of Pakistani street scenes. It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $146,500.

"He is Not My Enemy" by Purkayastha"

Lot 181, "He Is Not My Enemy," by Ashim Purkayastha, acrylic on canvas, 65 x 59 inches, 2004

Ashim Purkayastha, (b. 1967) whose work is often infused with images of Gandhi, takes an ironic jab at Indian government policies. In "He Is Not My Enemy," Lot 181, the artist juxtaposes his own self-portrait with Gandhi, the father of the nation, without either engaging each other or the viewer. It is a stalemate reflecting the tension between the individual and the state. It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $134,500.

"Three Women" by Roy

Lot 140, "Untitled (Three Women)," by Jamini Roy, gouache on cardboard, 25 x 15 inches,

Several wonderful paintings by the Bengali artist Jamini Roy, (1887-1972), are an inspired addition to this sale. While his cats, horses and village scenes are traditionally Indian and charmingly reminiscent of sophisticated folk art, his women are strikingly modern, recalling Rashid Rana's gigantic heads of goddesses. "Untitled (Three Women)," Lot 140, packs a visual punch and was purchased in the 1940s by Mr. Lyon who was living in India at the time. After India's Independence from Britain, he brought the painting back to Dumfries, Scotland. His niece was the last owner. A gouache on cardboard, it measures 25 and a half by 15 inches and has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $58,750.

Dr. Weihe remarked it was an exciting time to be working in this field: "For Post War art clients across the world, Indian art is coming into its own, and there is so much more interest in it."


Chinese Art

Lot 558, "A Magnificent and Very Rare Painted Bronze Goose-Form Lamp, Western Han Dynasty, 2nd Century B.C.

Chinese works of art from the Ping Tai Foundation include a delectable "goose" lamp from the 2nd century B.C., Lot 558, and a pair of magnificent 18th century bronze vases weighing eighty pounds each from the Imperial workshops, which "also produced Imperial canons and weapons, and used lavish amounts of metals as a tribute to the emperor, and were used in specific palaces or Imperial temples," said Joe Hynn-Yang, Head of Department.

Lot 558 dates from the Western Han Dynasty and is about 21 3/4 inches high and has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. "A Magnificent and Very Rare Painted Bronze Goose-Form Lamp," the catalogue said it was "especially prized because its pigment is still preserved, and it was technologically innovative in its day, offering 360-degree illumination. Its design was also safety conscious because the gooses' belly held water that absorbed smoke from the oil that kept the wick enflamed, lessening the risk of fire at a time when all houses were constructed of wood." It failed to sell.

Dragon gilt plaque

Lot 579, important and very rare, large gilt-copper dragon plaque, Liao Dynasty, 907-1125, 6 feet long, photo by Carter B. Horsley

Perhaps the most spectacular work in all of Christie's Asian Week offerings was Lot 579, an important and very rare large gilt-copper draogn plaque, Liao dnasty (907-1125). The six-foot-long plaque has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $272,500. The catalogue noted that "this magnificent, lavishly gidled copper plaque likely represents theAzure Dragon of the East, one of the animal symbols of the four directions....The other animals are the White Tiger of the East, the Vermillion Bird of the South and the Dark Warrior of the North. This animal symbolism originated in Central China and was well established by the Han dynasty, when images of the four direction animals were frequently represented in tombs."

Lot 601, "An Important and Very Rare Pair of Imperial Bronze Alter Vases," Qianlong Six-Character Cast Marks In a Line Within a Panel, and Of The Period. 19n7/8 inches high (1736-1795), photo by Carter B. Horsley

Lot 601 has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It did not sell.



Lot 569, "A Very Rare Red Sandstone Wall-Fragment of an Apsara," Northern Wei Dynasty, (386-534), Yungang Caves, Shaanxi Province, photo by Carter B. Horsley

Lot 569, "A Very Rare Red Sandstone Wall-Fragment of an Apsara" dates from 386-534 and depicts a graceful yet animated celestial female drummer, one of many musicians that once decorated the walls of the Yungang Caves. The 15 1/8-inch long sculpture has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It did not sell.

The stunningly modern green glazed vase illustrated below is one of the great treasures of this sale, with its trumpet neck and luscious leafy peonies rendered in black. It was created in the 12th century, using cutting edge technology. It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $722,500. A highlight of the sale is an early Ming "sweet white" vase of divine proportions, with a "rippling water" effect that cannot be captured effectively in a photograph, that was first used on fine Imperial porcelains of the Yongle reign (1403-1425).

Cihon Green-Glazed Paiinted Baluster Vase, Song/Jin Dynasty

Lot 583 "An Outstanding Cizhou Green-Glazed Painted Baluster Vase," Song/Jin Dynasty, 12th Century, 9 13/16th inches high, photo by Carter B. Horsley

Changing scale dramatically with no loss of technical and artistic virtuosity are two delightful snuff bottles, one a diminutive, double-gourd enamel on pale yellow glass painted with flowers, the other a strikingly modern composition of a bird and mysterious dots, both illustrated below.



Lot 56, a superb head of mottled buff grainy sandstone is sparingly carved and, once again, compellingly modern, considering it was created in the late 5th century (estimate $250,000-350,000), also from the Yungang Caves.



Lot 568, "A Magnificent and Rare Sandstone Head of Buddha," Northern Wei Dynasty, late 5th century, Yungang Caves, Shaanxi Province, photo by Carter B. Horsley

One of the finest items in the auction was Lot 568, "a magnificent and rare sandstone head of Buddha," from the Northern Wei Dynasty, late 5th Century, Yungang Caves, Shaanxi Province. The 14-inch high head has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It failed to sell.

Bodhisattva

Lot 577, "A Large Well-Carved Stone Head of a Bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara

From a private Michigan collection is Lot 577, an ethereal Bodhisattva with an elaborate foliate crown carved with a central figure of Amitabha Buddha surrounded by clouds and flowers, with traces of colored pigments. The 18 7/8-inch-high statue has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It failed to sell.



Detail of Classical Chinese Painting from The Ping Y Tai Foundation that will be auctioned in Hong Kong

Proceeds from the three single-owner sales (one in New York and two in Hong Kong) comprising 151 Chinese classical paintings, ceramics and works of art that are expected to fetch $22-28 million dollars will benefit The Ping Y Tai Foundation that donates to American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, American Heart Association, UNICEF, City Meals on Wheels and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital.

Japanese And Korean Art


Foreground: Lot 95, "A Wood Figure of Gundari Myo-o (Kundali), Edo Period (18th Century), and Lot 244, "Anonymous (17th Century), In and around the capital (Rakuchu rakugai)," Pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, gold and gold leaf on paper, 59 7/8 by 140 inches.

Japanese and Korean artists were well represented by luscious artworks, from sublime kimonos dripping with embroidered flowers, to elaborate and minutely detailed screens, (Lot 244, illustrated above, estimate $800,000 to $1,200,000), sculpture, (Lot 95, illustrated above, estimate $8,000 to $12,000) arms and armor, lacquer ware and exquisite paintings and prints.



Detail of Lot 244, "In and Around the Capital."

A fantastic mid-late 16th century screen, Lot 144, "In and Around the Capital," displaying panoramic views of Kyoto set the pace in the Japanese Galleries. The anonymous work measures 59 7/8 by 140 1/2 inches and has an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000.



Full View of 16th Century Screen, "In and Around the Capital," With Scenes of Kyoto, photo by Carter B. Horsley

"Many of the places depicted in this screen still exist in Kyoto, like Nijo Castle," said Katsura Yamaguchi, Christie's International Head, Japanese and Korean Art, "and today there are many eateries around the Shijo Bridge, shown here."

Not illustrated here because it was too fragile and valuable to remove from its protective folder except for a few moments at the press preview was a world-class print by Kitagawa Utamaro, a revered Japanese print maker, and an artist whose impact on Western art was enormous. The Impressionists, Van Gogh and Gauguin and many other famous artists were deeply influenced by Japanese prints, especially Ukiyo-E, of which Utamaro and Hiroshige were supreme masters. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to see it.

Karaori Noh costume

Lot 83, "A Karaori Noh Costume," Edo Period, (19th Century), Depicting leaf and arabesques on bamboo blind design against red and white ground: silk with supplementary brocading weft patterning, 63 3/8 x 57 and 7/8 inches.

Lot 83 is a lovely Karaori Noh costume from the Edo Period that has an estimate $4,000 to $5,000. It failed to sell.

One of the highlights of the Japanese Art auction was a print by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753?-1806) entitled "Mono omu koi (Reflections of Love)," depicting a dreamy beauty. Katsura Yamaguchi, Christie's International Director, Japanese and Korean Art, said that "Utmaro really loved women, and it shows in his work. He knew the women he painted, so the prints are extraordinarily beautiful. "Reflections of Love" is considered a masterpiece among his prints. With an estimate of $1-1.5 million, it may be the most expensive print so far." It failed to sell.

"A Picasso print made over a million, so why not Utamaro? French painters loved Ukiyo E prints. I cannot believe it was made over 200 years ago. I think it should be the same level as a Picasso print," he said.

Gold-lacquer armor
Detail of Lot 352, "A Gold-Lacquer Armor With Shamazu Family Crests," Edo Period (19th Century).

The spectacular suits of armor illustrated here conjure up images from legendary Japanese films by Kurosawa, and no doubt inspired the attire of more recent masked Hollywood villains like Darth Vader, who is recognized across the globe. Lot 352, for example, is a gold-lacquer Armor with Shamazu family crests from the Edo Period and it has an estimate of $30,000 to $35,000.

Edo armor

Lot 351, A Suit of Armor With a Byotoji Yoko-Hagi Okegawa Do, Edo Period (18th-19th Century)

Lot 351 is a Edo suit of armorwith a Byotoji Yoko-Hagi Okegaqwa Do. It has an estimate of $25,000-30,000.



Lot 42, "A Painted Wood Inro Box (Inro Dansu), 20th Century, photo by Carter B. Horsley

Flora and fauna abound in Japanese art, and to great effect on Lot 42, a devastatingly simple rectangular inro box, painted in Rinpa style, where blossoming flowers, plants and grasses roam on an undecorated ground, to reveal the natural wood grain. It is a "keeper," with a reasonable estimate of $4,000-6,000. One of the most beautiful objects in all the Asian Art auctions at Christie's this fall, it sold for $4.350.

Lot 401, "Figures in a Landscape," by Park Sookeun, signed in hangul, Sookeum, inscribed on verso in Roman letters, Park Sookeun, 6 x 13 inches.

The paintings of Korean artist Park Sookeun, (1914-1965), are instantly recognizable because they are usually small, monochromatic, roughly textured, and depict simple subject matter, like this charming "Figures in a Landscape," painted in 1964, with people coming home from market, dressed in traditional clothes.

Christie's catalog states:

"Sookeun's work was widely appreciated by Americans stationed in Seoul during the 1960s. Now it is prized by Korean collectors and museums as well. The Bando Gallery in the Choson Hotel began exhibiting his paintings in 1965, selling them for a nominal sum to clients who were predominantly American."

Those who were fortunate enough to carry a painting away with them made a good investment. Heakyum Kim, Christie's Specialist, Korean Art, said "Figures in a Landscape" originally sold for $20. Its pre-sale estimate is $400,000 to $500,000."

Lot 395, "Happy Buddha," by Kang Ik-Joong, mixed media on wood, 30 x 30 inches.

The inspiration for a more recent painting by the Korean artist Kang Ik-Joong, (b. 1960), entitled "Happy Buddha," is fascinating, as described in Christies sale catalog:

"I developed the 3 by 3 inch format during my days as an art student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn - but outside the classroom, in response to practical necessity. As an impoverished student, I worked a total of twelve hours a day at a Korean grocery store in Manhattan, and as a watchman at the flea market at Far Rockaway, Queens. Looking for ways to effectively utilize time of long subway rides, I discovered that 3-inch-square canvases fit easily into my pocket and into the palm of my hand. My lengthy commute became transformed into work time in a mobile studio." (See "Dreams and Reality: Korean American Contemporary Art; http://www.koamart2003.com/Artist06.html). The lot has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000

Walker Evans, who took a series of iconic photos - clandestinely - on the New York Subway, would heartily approve of painting on the move.

 

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