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Fine Chinese Classical Paintings

Sotheby's New York

10 A.M., September 13, 2012

Sale 8874

Iris Miao discussing painting at press preview

Iris Miao, head of the department of Chinese Classical Paintings, pointed to a section of Lot 636, "Landscape After Wu Zhen," by Lan Ying, ink on paper, handscroll, 18 7/8 y 402 3/8 inches that she said is missing the artist's inscription


By Carter B. Horsley

The September 13, 2012 auction of Classical Chinese Paintings at Christie's New York contains a good section of hanging scrolls, album leaves and fans.

Section of scroll missing inscription

Detail of Lot 636, "Landscape After Wu Zhen," by Lan Ying, ink on paper, handscroll, 18 7/8 by 402 3/8 inches, showing blank area to the left of painting that Iris Miao said is missing the artist's inscription

Lot 636, "Landscape After Wu Zhen," by Lan Ying (1585-1666) is an ink on paper handscroll that measures 18 7/8 by 402 3/8 inches.  It has an estimate of $1,200,000 to $2,200,000.  It sold for $1,762,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.  At  a press review, Iris Miao, the head of Christie's New York department of Chinese Classical Paintings, indicated a blank section of the handscroll that she said was missing the artist's inscription.

The auction total was $16,527,314 with 77.3 percent of the 150 offered lots selling.  The pre-sale estimate was $7,400,000 to $11,800,000.


Iris Miao discussing scroll


Lot 645, "Seclusion amid Mountains and Streams," by Hongren, handscroll, 5 3/4 by 136 5/8 inches

Lot 645 is a handscroll by Hongren (1610-1664) that measures 5 3/4 by 136 5/8 inches.  It is entitled "Seclusion amid Mountains and Streams."  At a press preview, Iris Miao said that Hongren is now believed to have only painted the right end of the scroll.  It is illustrated in "The Jade Studio: Masterpieces of Ming and Qing Painting and Calligraphy fro the Wang Nan-Ping Collection," written by Richard Barnhardt and published in 1994.  It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.  It sold for $3,218,500.

The catalogue provided the following commentary about this lot:

"The artist known as Hongren was one of four great monk painters active during the early Qing dynasty.  He was the leading artist of the Huangshan or Anhui School of painting.  This small handscoll is a superb example of Hongren's painting style.  The artist employs his hallmark brushwork technique - elegant, refined, dry, and angular - to depict crystalline rock structures, animated tree shapes, and simplified architectural forms, which he deftly juxtaposes to crate a minimalist composition that is at once intimate and monumental.  He employs an array of velvety black dots, applied both horizontally and vertically, to enhance surface interest and to enliven the otherwise sparse landscape scene.  A two-characer signature and one seal of the artist appear midway through the handscroll.  While the first half of the scroll (the portion before and just after the signature) displays all of the characteristics of Hongren's style the second half of the painting is almost certainly the work of a different artist, presumably a pupil or follower of Hongren.  Although in the second half of the painting, the brushwork is quite refined, the composition is les dynamic., the rock forms more static, the placement of the dots more haphazard, and the trees and architectural elements stiffer than in the first section.  Having acknowledged that Hongren did not paint the entire image, rather than detracting from the value of the scroll, it is perhaps better to view this painting as a rare collaboration between Hongren and a skilled follower, whose identify awaits further study."


Large painting 2

Lot 631, "Summer Reverie by the Lotus Pond," by Qiu Ying, ink and color on silk, hanging scroll, 45 3/4 by 23 inches


Lot 631 is an impressive hanging scroll entitled "Summer Reverie by the Lotus Pond" by Qiu Ying (1494-1552).  An ink and color on silk, it measures 45 3/4 by 23 inches.  It has an estimate of $750,000 to $1,500,000.  It sold for $842,500.

Detail of large painting

Detail of Lot 631, "Summer Reverie by the Lotus Pond" by Qiu Ying

The lot has an estimate of $750,000 to $1,500,000.  It sold for $842,500.

Large painting

Lot 716, "Landscape," by Wan Shanglin, hanging scroll, 59 by 17 1/2 inches

Lot 716 is a nice landscape hanging scroll by Wan Shanglin (1739-1813) that measures 59 by 17 1/2 inches.  It has an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000.  It failed to sell.


Two flower hanging


Lot 618, "Cypress and Ganoderma" attributed to Yun Shouping, hanging scroll, 44 1/8 by 19 3/4 inches, left; Lot 612, "Riches of Jade Hall," by Jiang Pu, ink and color on satin, hanging scroll, 87 1/2 by 19 5/8 inches, 1736

Lot 618 is a very lovely hanging scroll attributed to Yun Shouping (1633-1690) entitled "Cypress and Ganoderma."  It measures 44 1/8 by 19 3/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $9,000 to $12,000.  It sold for $25,000.

Lot 612 is a lovely hanging scroll by Jiang Pu (1708-1761) entitled "Riches of Jade Hall."  It measures 87 1/2 by 19 5/8 inches and is dated 1736.  It has an estimate of $20,000 to $40,000.  It failed to sell.


One flower hanging

Lot 745, "Peonies," by Chen Banding, ink and color on paper, 40 3/8 by 13 5/8 inches

Lot 745 is a very attractive ink and color on paper of "Peonies" by Chen Banding (1877-1970).  It measures 40 3/8 by 13 5/8 inches.  It has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $15,000.


Ghost lion

Lot 613, "Animals," by Hua Yan, ink and color on silk, one of 10 leaves in an album, 9 1/2 by 6 1/2 inches

Lot 613 is an album of 10 leaves entitled "Animals" by Hua Yan (1682-1756).  Each leaf is an ink and color on silk and measures 9 1/2 by 6 1/2 inches.  The album has 9 collectors' seals including one by Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-chien). The lot has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.  It sold for $206,500.


Figures standing

Lot 635, "Heroes of the Water Margin," attributed to Chen Hongshou, ink and color on silk, album of twenty leaves each 9 5/8 by 6 3/8 inches

Lot 635 is a very attractive album of 20 leaves of "Heroes of the Water Margin" that is attributed to Chen Hongshou (1598-1652).  Each leaf measures 9 5/8 by 6 3/8 inches.  The lot has an estimate of $18,000 to $25,000.  It sold for $22,500.


Album leaf

Lot 648, one of 8 album double leaves by Ye Xin, each 9 5/8 by 7 1/8 inches

Lot 648 is an album of eight double leaves by Ye Xin (circa 1597-1673), each measuring 9 5/8 by 7 1/8 inches..  The lot has an estimate of $45,000 to $60,000.  It sold for $60,000.

Ding painting

Lot 654, "Miraculous Peaks of Ten Thousand Tress," by Huang Ding, ink on paper, hanging scroll, 54 1/8 by 21 78 inches

Lot 654 is an impressive ink on paper on a hanging scroll entitled "Miraculous Peaks of Ten Thousand Tress" by Huang Ding (circa 1660-1730).  It measures 54 1/8 by 21 7/8 inches.   It was painted in 1727 and is based on a work by Dong Beiyuan. It has an estimate of $180,000 to $250,000.  It sold for $218,500.

Recent painting

Lot 741, "Within The Cloud-Shrouded South Mountain The Blue Dragon Hides," by Wu Hufan, ink and color on paper, hanging scroll, 43 1/2 by 18 7/8 inches

Lot 741 in an impressive hanging scroll by Wu Hufan (1894-1968) entitled "Within The Cloud-Shrouded South Mountain The Blue Dragon Hides."  An ink and color on paper, it measures 43 1/2 by 18 7/8 inches.  It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.  It sold for $1,370,500!

One fan

Lot 695, "A Woodcutter Returning Home on a Snowy Pathway," by Lu Zhi, ink and color on paper, fan leaf, dated 1531, 7 1/8 by 21 3/8 inches

Lot 695 is a fine fan leaf by Lu Zhi (1496-1575) entitled "A Woodcutter Returning Home on a Snowy Pathway."  An ink and color on paper, it measures 7 1/8 by 21 3/8 inches.  It is dated 1531.  It has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.  It sold for $98,500.

Two fans

Lot 706, "White Lotus," byu Pan Gongshou, ink and color on gold paper, 7 by 20 5/8 inches, top; Lot 707, "Peonies," by Zhu Qi, ink on gold-dusted paper, fan leaf, 6 7/8 by 20 1/2 inches, bottom

Lot 706 is a lovely fan leaf by Pan Gongshou (1741-1794) that is entitled "White Lotus."  An ink and color on gold paper, it measures 7 by 20 5/8 inches.  It has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000.  It failed to sell.

Lot 707, is a very nice ink on gold dusted paper fan leaf by Zhu Qi (probably 19th Century) that is entitled "Peonies."  It measures 6 7/8 by 20 1/2 inches.  It has an estimate of $3,000 to $5.000.  It failed to sell.



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