By Michele Leight
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
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
catalogue entry for
the lot, Davod Weldon provides the following commentary:
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."
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.
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.
Lot 217 is a "magnificent" pair
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.
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,
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.
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."
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
(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
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
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
work by Zao Wou-Ki (b. 1921) that recalls the gorgeous Chinese
ink painting of the past with waterfalls gushing down misty
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, (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
Lot 50, "Heaven," is a large
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
including the buyer's premium.
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.
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
auction had a total
of $3,300,876, which was its high estimate.
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.
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.
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
about Husain and horses:
"His horses are wild, symbolsof
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."
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.
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
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.
Lot 48 is a brightly colored
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.
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.
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
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
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.