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Asia Week, Sotheby's, Fall 2008

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art including Chinese and Japanese Art from The Collection of Frieda and Milton Rosenthal

10 AM, September 16, 2008

Sale 8464

Contemporary Art Asia: China, Korea, Japan

10 AM, September 17, 2008

Sale 8465

Modern & Contemporary Art South Asia: India, Pakistan

10 AM, September 19, 2008

Sale 8466

Indian & Southeast Asian Works of Art

10 AM, September 19, 2008

Sale 8499

All photos by Michele Leight

Sculpture of Guhyasadhana Avalokitesvara

Lot 175, "Magnificent and extremely rare polychrome wood and gesso sculpture of Guhyasadhana Avalokitesvara, Ming
Dynasty, Xuande Period, 22 inches high

By Michele Leight

The September 16, 2008 auction at Sotheby's opf Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Chinese and Japanese Art from the Collection of Frieda and Milton Rosenthal is highlighted by Lot 175, a "magnificent and extremely rare polychrome wood and gesso sculpture of Guhyasadhana Avalokitesvara, Ming Dynasty, Xuande Period, 22 inches high, that is property of an American private collector. It has an estimate of $1,400,000 to $1,600,000. It sold for $1,202,500 including the buyer's premium. Of the 312 offered lots in the auction, 176 sold for $6,348,432.

In his catalogue entry for the lot, Davod Weldon provides the following commentary:

Like its predecessors from the Song dynasty the Guhyasadhana Avalokitesvara is imbued with grace and spirituality and offers a glimpse of retrained splendour wthin the Xuande emperor's Buddhist temples. Avalokitesvara's intense and compassionate gaze into the eyes of his prajna embodies the essence of the bodhisattva, those enlightened beings who chose not to take their places in nirvana but remain to watch over samsara's sentient beings. Avalokitesvara, the Compassionate One, the Lord of the World, embraces his prajna to consummate the ultimate union of Wisdom and Compassion."

Dragon dish

Lot 113, rare large blue and white dragon dish, Yongzheng mark and period, 17 3/4 inches in diameter

Lot 113 is a fine, rare blue and white "dragon" dish with a Yongzheng mark and period. It is 17 3/4 inches in diameter and was once in the collection of Mathias Komor and Evelyn Annenberg. It has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for $134,500.

Rare lacquer box

Lot 279, rare inlaid square lacquer box and cover, late 19th Century, 9 by 9 by 4 1/4 inches

The auction has numerous fine examples of lacquer work including Lot 279. a rare inlaid square lacquer fox and cover, late 19th Century. It measures 9 by 9 by 4 1/4 inches and has an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $13,750.

Sancai-glazed earth spirits

Lot 217, "Magnificent" pair of Sancai-glazed earth spirits, Tang Dynasty, 37 1/2 inches high

Lot 217 is a "magnificent" pair of Sancai-glazed earth spirits from the Tang Dynasty. They are 37 1/2 inches high and have an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. The lot sold for $62,500.

Lot 164, fine and rare embroidered five-panel throne-back screen, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period, 111 1/2 inches long

Lot 165 is a nice embroidered, five-panel, throne-back screen from the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period. It is 111 1/2 inches long and has an estimate of $180,000 to $220,000. It failed to sell.

Nicholas Chow, worldwide head of Sotheby's Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Department, and Mee-Seeen Loong, senior specialist overseeing the auction in New York, said after the auction that the "sale proved once again that objects of high quality and art historical significance, with great provenance, prove irresistible to buyers. We saw strong prices for our early sculpture and pottery, fine classical furniture, and exquisite Japanese lacquer. It is not surprising in these challenging times that items of a more decorative nature did not find buyers, and this impacted our morning session."

 

 

Contemporary Art Asia: China, Korea, Japan

Marion Bertagna standing next to Yang Jiechang's"Eye of the Storm"

Lot 77, Marion Bertagna, Sotheby's specialist in charge, standing next to "Eye of the Storm, by Yang Jiechang, 8 by 16 by 26 feet, 2000, artificial grass. tree trunks, branches and six panels of ink and color on xuan paper

The Contemporary Art Asia: China Korea Japan auction at Sotheby's September 17, 2008 included a broad sampling of artists including a very impressive by Yang Jiechang (b. ) entitled "Eye of the Storm." The 2000 work consists of artificial grass, tree trunks, branches and six panels of ink and colon on xuan paper. It measures 8 by 16 by 26 feet and has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It failed to sell. The auction totaled $8,513,288 but less than two-thirds of the offered lots sold. The auction house noted that "this was the final dedicated Contemporary Art Asia sale to be heldin New York - all future such sales will be held in Hong Kong, as previously announced."

Lot 2, rear, "China 2005 No. 61," by Feng Zhengjie, oil on canvas, 82 5/8 by 118 1/8 inches, 2005

Lot 2 is a large, stark portrait of a woman with blue-green hair by Feng Zhengjie (b. 1968). An oil on canvas, it measures 82 5/8 inches by 118 1/8 inches and was executed in 2005. It has an estimate of $180,000 to $250,000. It sold for $242,500.

"Mask Series" by Zeng Fanzhi

Lot 7, "Mask Series," by Zeng Fanzhi, oil on canvas, 39 3/8 by 31 1/2 inches, 1997

Lot 7 is a large oil on canvas of a bespectacled young man in a suit with a dog by a body of water. It is entitled 'Mask series." It is by Zeng Fanzhi (b. 1964) and was executed in 1997. An oil on canvas, it measures 39 3/8 by 31 1/2 inches and has an estimated of $900,000 to $1,200,000. It sold for $1,082,500. Fanzhi is perhaps the most recognizable Chinese artist today whose "Mask Series" often features a financially successful, urbane and sophisticated young man who looks immaculate but who is not comfortable with himself, lost and unable to connect with anything even his winsome doggy. The polish and gloss is a veneer unsuccesfully masking his underklying tension.

Another master satirist is Wang Guangyi, whose"Great Criticism Serie: Kodak," Lot 26, takes a direct hit at political propagandaand Western consumerism, which contemporary China has swallowed whole. By combining cliched, Cultural Revolution imagery with "brand-name" advertising Guangyi's attention-grabbing, graphic imagery suggests it is the same game, whoever plays it. Its intent is manipulation and control of the individual. Lot 26 has an estimate of $280,000 to $480,000. It sold for $314,500.

"Les Oiseaux Volants" by Whanki

Lot 63, "Les Oiseaux Volants," by Kim Whanki, oil on canvas, 19 5/8 by 24 inches, 1957

Lot 63 is a pleasant oil on canvas by Kim Whanki (1913-1974) that is entitled "Les Oiseaux Volants." An oil on canvas, it measures 19 5/8 by 24 inches and was painted in 1957. It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $434,500.

Huang Gang (b. 1961) is one of the best artists in the auction with three superb works, Lots 51, 52, and 53 that sold, respectively for $20,000, $230,500 and $15,000. They are richly texture abstractions.

"Children Meeting in Hong Kong" by Zhigang

Lot 22, "Children Meeting in Hong Kong No. 3," by Tang Zhigang, oil on cancas, 50 3/4 by 63 3/8 inches, 1999

Not all Chinese contemporary painting is satiric, goofy, bombastic and unattractive. Lot 22 is a very humorous work by Tang Zhigang (b. 1959). Entitled "Children Meeting in Hong Kong No. 3," it is an oil on canvas that measures 50 3/4 by 63 3/8 inches. It was painted in 1999 and has an estimate of $400,000 to $500,000. It failed to sell.

Many modern and contemporary Chinese artists allude to stolenor misappropriated innocence in their work, especially those that grew up during the Cultural Revolution., when being a child was probably not much fun, because individuality and self-expression had to be sacrificed for the greater good of the whole. Lot 22 is a bizarre, satirical and unsettling painting. The artist was born into a military family, and grew up at the Kungyang Labor Farm which was run by his mother, who was a prison warden there. He then spent the next twenty years in the army where he was the art teacher of children from millitary families. In this painting, small children are portrayed in the role of adults at a military meeting with toys strewn across the floor.

Lot 45, "Two Eagles," by Cai Guo-Qiang (b. 1957) is gunpowder on paper and measures 96 1/2 by 72 7/8 inches. It was created in 2005. The artist is famous for his monumental, pyrotechnical artworks and most recently as the director of visual and special effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, which were very spectacular. The artist was also the subject of a retrospective at the Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum in New York recently. The Chinese invented gunpowder and fireworks and they are woven into the fabric of Chinese history and contemporary life, which is not lost on Cai Guo-Qiang, who incorporates it into paintings like "Two Eagles," a beautiful work created by the effects of gunpowder on paper. It has an estimate of $480,000 to $550,000. It sold for $422,500.

Sotheby's galleries were dominated by art works by contemporary Chinese artists such as Zeng Fanzhi, Cai Guo-Qiang and Ai Weiwei who is best known perhaps as as the expert consultant to Herzog and de Meuron's stunning design of the Bird's Nest Stadium at the Beijing Olympics. Those who are famiiliar with Al Weiwei's work known that "thinking big" comes naturally to him. Lot 58, "Table with Two Legs on the Wall," is a sculpture Ai Weiwei made from Qing dynasty yu wood and created this year. It measures 43 1/4 by 43 1/4 by 36 1/4 inches. It has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for $158,000, a tongue-in-cheek conceptual work that derices from Chinese culture. While this one is "high-brow, alluding to fine furniture witgh historical significance, Ai Weiwei has also created conceptual works featuring the banal and everyday, like coal hives and bicycles.

Lot 43, "16.5.1959," is a poetic work by Zao Wou-Ki (b. 1921) that recalls the gorgeous Chinese ink painting of the past with waterfalls gushing down misty mountainsides. It is new and exiciting when rendered in oil on canvas. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It failed to sell.

"Angel No. 9" by Cui Xiuwen

Lot 99, "Angel No. 9," by Cui Xiuwen, chromogenic print in 3 parts, each 70 7/8 by 36 5/8 inches, numbered 4 of 8, 2006

Lot 99, "Angel No. 9," by Cui Xiuwen, (b. 1970), is a chromogenic print in 3 parts, each 70 7/8 by 36 5/8 inches, numbered 4 of 8. It was created in 2006 and has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $25,000.

"Heaven" by Yao Jui-chung

Lot 50, "Heaven," by Yao Jui-chung, black and white photographs on fiber base paper with gold leaf laid on board with guilded artist frames, in 15 parts, copper tubing, LCD monitor, gilded fiberglass and wood, 141 3.4 by 354 3/8 by 196 7/8 inches, 2001

Lot 50, "Heaven," is a large work in 15 parts by Yao Jui-chung (b. 1969). It was created in 2001 and has an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It sold for $25,000 including the buyer's premium.

Indian & Southeast Asian Works of Art

Lot 292, Male Deity, Probably Vishnu, sandstone, Khmer, style of the Bakong, 9th Century, 46 inches high, left; and Lot 293, right, head of Buddha, Andesite, Java, Central Javanese Period, 9th Century, 13 3/4 inches high

Lot 292 is a Male Deity, probably Vishnu, sandstone, Khmer, style of the Bakong, 9th Century, 46 inches high. It has an estimate of $220,000 to $250,000. It sold for $266,500 including the buyer's premium.

Lot 293, shown ar the rear right in the above photograph, is a head of Buddha, Andesite, Java, Central Javanese Period, 9th Century, 13 3/4 inches high. It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It failed to sell.

The auction had a total of $3,300,876, which was its high estimate.

Buddha head, Gandhara, Kushan Period

Lot 263, Buddha head, gray schist, ancient region of Gandhara, Kushan period, 2nd to 3rd Century, 11 3/4 inches high

Lot 263 is a gray schist Buddha head from the ancient region of Gandhara, Hushan period, 2nd to 3rd Century. It is 11 3/4 inches high and has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $74,500.

Modelofmonument by Herbert Haseltine to Jam Shri Rawalji

Lot 256, A model of the Monument to Jam Shri Rawalji, by Herbert Haseltine, plaster with gilding and polychrome, 5 feet three inches high, 1933

Lot 256 is a gilded model of the monument to Jam Shri Rawalji by Herbert Haseltine. It is 5 feet 3 inches high and was created in 1933. It has an estimate of $120,000 to $180,000. It failed to sell.

Modern & Contemporary Art South Asia: India, Pakistan

"Untitled" by Hussein

Lot 17, "Untitled," by Maqbool Fida Husain, oil on canvas, 36 by 79 1/2 inches, 1950

Lot 17 is a good untitled early oil on canvas by Maqbool Fida Husain. An oil on canvas, it measures 36 by 79 1/2 inches and was executed in 1950. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $338,500.

The catalogue provides the following commentary about Husain and horses:

"His horses are wild, symbolsof immense raw power, the raised hooves and heaving flank all suggestive of their pent up primal energy....In classical Indian at and myth seven horses draw the chariot of the sun god Surya, they are symbols of the sun itself, of time and of knowledge. In certain Puranic myths horses are said to have emerged from the sea from the ether and during the pre-vedic period horse sacrifice was widely prevalaent. In the Indian epics and religious treatises there are illuminating references to the horses sacrafice."

Untitled work by Husain

Lot 14, "Untitled," by Maqbool Fida Husain, oil on canvas, 36 by 18 inches, 1968

Lot 14 is a strong, untitled oil on canvas by Maqbool Fida Husain (b. 1915). It was painted in 1968 and measures 36 by 18 inches. It has an estimate of $70,000 to $100,000. It failed to sell.

"Falling Figure with Bird" by Mehta

Lot 32, "Falling Figure with Bird," by Tyeb Mehta, acrylic on canvas, 71 5/8 by 58 5/8 inches, 2003

Lot 32 is a strong acrylic on canvas by Tyeb Mehta (b. 1925) that is entitled "Falling Figure with Bird." It was executed in 2003 and is reminiscent of much of the work of Wilfredo Lam. It measures 71 5/8 by 58 5/8 inches. The catalogue notes that the artist's first "foray into the art world was in 1944 a a cinematographer, and almost three years later when due to re-parition riots it become difficult for him to travel to his work, tht he deied to enrol at the J.. J. School of Art. There S. H. Raza introduced him to M. F. Husain and Krishen Khanna, and and though he was never a member he became loosely associated with the Progressive Artists' Group....Mehta, like many artists of his generation, had been witness to the tragic events that took place in India during and after partition and his memories of this period clearly had an immense impact on him and the vocabulary of his art. The lot has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It sold to a private American collector for $1,538,500.

Lot 47, "Untitled," is a good oil on canvas by Khrishen Khanna (b. 1925) that depicts four businessmen at a table drinking. The men, according to the catalogue entry, as "the archetypal representation of the establishment. They are metaphors of authority." The lot has an estimate of $100,000 to $120,000. It sold for $206,500.

"Prakriti" by Raza

Lot 48, "Prakriti," by Syed Haider Raza,. acrylic on canvas, 47 1/4 inches square, 1991

Lot 48 is a brightly colored abstraction of nine squares by Syed Haider Raza (b. 1922). Painted in 1991, it is an acrylic on canvas that measures 47 1/4 inches square and is titled "Prakriti." It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold $242,500.

"The Last Supper" by Souza

Lot 56, "The Last Supper," by Francis Newton Souza," oil on canvas, 48 by 72 inches, 1989

Lot 56 is a version of The Last Supper by Francis Newton Souza (1924-2002). An oil on canvas, it measures 48 by 72 inches and was painted in 1989. It has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. It failed to sell,, but two other works by the artist sold well in the same auction.

"One Cow" by Gupta

Lot 121, "One Cow," by Subodh Gupta, oil on canvas, 66 by 90 inches, 2003

Lot 121 is a large oil on canvas by Subodh Gupta (b. 1964) entitled "One Cow." It was painted in 2003 and has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $866,500.

"Portuguese School" by Bhattacharjee

Lot 70, "Portuguese School," by Bikash Bhattacharjee, oil on canvas, 40 by 64inches, 1972

Lot 70 is a finely done realistic oil on canvas by Bikash Bhattacharjee (1940-2006). Entitled "Portuguese School," it measures 40 by 64 inches and was painted in 1972. It has an estimate of $160,000 to $220,000. It sold for $182,500.

Untitled by Krishnamachari

Lot 104, "Untitled," by Bose Krishnamachari, acrylic on canvas, 36 by 48 inches, 2005

Lot 104 is a large untitled acrylic on canvas by Bose Krishnamachari (b. 1962). It measures 36 by 48 inches and was executed in 2005. It has a estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $27,500.

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