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Fine Chinese Classical Paintings

Sotheby's New York

10 A.M., March 22, 2012

Sale 8835

Tall hanging scroll

Lot 644, "Landscape by Lu Guang," by Hongren, hanging scroll, 34 by 13 7/8 inches

By Carter B. Horsley

The March 22, 2012 auction of Fine Chinese Classical Paintings has a very good selection of hanging scrolls, scrolls and fans highlighted by works by Qi Baishi, Hongren, Wen Jia, Shi Tao, Chen Hongshou, and one that is attributed to Ni Zan and one that is attributed  to Zhao Mengfu.

Lot 644 is a good hanging scroll by Hongren (1610-1663) entitled "Landscape after Lu Guang" (circa 1300-after 1371).  It measures 34 by 13 7/8 inches.  It has been in the Ching-Yuan Chai Collection of James Cahill and widely exhibited and published. The catalogue observes that "Hongren's chief stylistic sources at the two great Yuan dynasty masters, Ni Zan and Huang Gongwang, adding that "Hongren's dry, angular brushwork, as well as the stark, unadorned simplicity of his tree and rock forms, are certainly reminiscent of the detaced purity evoked by Nic Zan's landscapes.  The neat compositional logic, based on the artful juxtaposition and overlapping of angular and rounded forms is derived from the landscapes of Huang Gongwang."  The lot has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,200,000.  It sold for $1,874,500 includng the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.


Colorful hanging scroll

Lot 643, "Temples on Mountains of the Immortals,' by Wen Jia, ink and color on paper, hanging scroll, 40 1/8 by 11 1/8 inches

Lot 643 is a good hanging scroll by Wen Jia (1501-1583) entitled "Temples on Mountains of the Immortals."  It measures 40 1/8 by 11 1/8 inches.  It is from the Ching Yuan Chai Collection of James Cahill. The catalogue notes that the composition is one of the artist's finest works and is bisected along a diagonal with the top half depicting a Daoist temple situated high atop treacherous mountain peaks,and the lower half focusing on a stalactite grotto - seen as a gateway to paradise in Daoist lore - from which a cascading stream flows.  In the foregound of the painting, in front of the grotto, the scholars and their attendants are engaging in conversation.  Wen Jia was the seccond son of Wen Zhengming (1470-1559).  The lot has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $1,314,500.


High scroll

Lot 748, "The Forest Grotto at Juchu, after Wang Meng,"by Song Xu, ink and color on paper, hanging scroll, 105 3/4 by 21 7/8 inches

Lot 748 is an impressive hanging scroll by Song Xu (1525-1617) entitled "The Forest Grotto at Juchu, after Wang Meng."  It measures 105 3/4 by 21 7/8 inches.  It is based loosely on a painting of the same title by Wang Meng (1308-1385) in the collection of the National Palace Museum in Taipei.  It has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000.  It sold for $242,500.


Valley scroll

Lot 646, "Autumn Landscape with Figure,"  by Zhang Feng, hanging scroll, 35 1/4 by 16 5/8 inches

Lot 646 is a hanging scroll by Zhang Feng (active circa 1628-1668) that is entitled "Autumn Landscape with Figure."  It measures 35 1/8 by 16 5/8 inches.  It was  in the Chin Yuan Chai Collection of James Cahill.  It has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $542,500.


Eagle

Lot 700, "Eagle Perching on the Pine," by Qi Bashi, 53 3/8 by 25 1/4 inches, hanging scroll

Lot 700 is a dramatic hanging scroll by Qi Bashi (1864-1957) of an "Eagle Perching on the Pine."  It measures 53 3/8 by 25 1/4 inches.  It has an estimate of  $1,200,000 to $1,500,000.  It sold for $1,986,500.


Green hanging scroll

Lot 656, "Landscape in the Blue and Green Manner," by Ni Can, ink and color on paper, hanging school, 72 1/2 by 38 1/2 inches


Lot 656 is a nice hanging scroll by Ni Can  (1765-1841) entitled "Landscape in the Blue and Green Manner."  An ink and color on paper it measures 72 1/2 by 38 1/2 inches,.  It has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.  It failed to sell.


The auction contains numerous examples of superb calligraphy.  Lot 686, calligraphy of Emperors of the Southern Song, 12th to 13th Century, consists of three fan leaves and one album leaf now mounted as a handscroll.  It has an estimate of $750,000 to $1,000,000. It sold for $5,682,500.

Of 163 offered lots, 119, or 71 percent, sold for $35,162,938, dramatically over the pre-sale high estimate of $13.7 million.  The sale brought the overall total for this week's Asian Art sales at Sotheby' to $61,802,816,  well over the pre-sale high estimate of $41.3 million.

Old man scroll

Lot 653, "Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, after Chen Hongshou," by Bao Dong, 8 3/4 by 81 3/8 inches, left, and Lot 652, "Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove," by Chen Hongshou, 7 3/4 by 76 1/2 inches, right

The auction is offering separately "Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove" by Chen Hongshou (1598-1652), Lot 652, shown at the right in the photograph above, and a slightly larger copy of it by Bao Dong, Lot 653, shown at the left in the photograph above.  The Hongshou has been reproduced in two important books by James Cahill and was property at one time of the estate of Walter Hochstadter. It bears a 1867 colophon  by Bao Dong that states that "Laolian relied totally on the methods of the Tang dynasty painters, which in turn had their origins in the portrait paintings of the Han period.  By following these lofty standards he attained a firm fountation that most people throughout history could only dream of.  His figures are lofty and archaic, as if they are wearing the hat and clothes of the Jin period and their liveliness stems from something beyond brushwork.  When rendering trees, rocks, and background elements, his lines are fine like gossamer [firm] like seal-script [natural] like the marks made by water leaking down a wall, truly marvelous!  Moreover the landscape elements in this long handscoll flow together as if drawn together from a single breath.  It is as if his soul and brush have been fused together in a furnace."  The lot has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. It sold for $1,650,500.

Bao Dong, who signed Lot 652, Bao Ziliang, was active in the middle of the 19th Century.  His copy of Lot 652 has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $122,500.
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Tree scroll

Lot 754, "The Quiet Studio," attributed to Ni Zan, ink on paper, handscroll, 11 by 47 1/2 inches

Lot 754 is a work attributed to Ni Zan (1301-1374) entitled "The Quiet Studio."  A handscroll, it measures 11 by 47 1/2 inches.  It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  It sold for $506,500.

Another large work is Lot 755, "Essay o Aspiration (Lezhi Lun)," which is attributed to Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322).  The ink and color on paper handscroll measures 10 1/2 by 63 3/8 inches for the painting and 10 1/2 by 39 inches for the calligraphy.  It bears the artist's seal and and 38 Emperor's seals.  The catalogue notes that the "superb quality of the painting especially the masterful use of color...have led some scholars to propose that this painting may be a copy produced by Ming dynasty master Chu Ying.  It has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It sold for $2,658,500.

The Metropolitan  Museum of Art bought Zheng Min's "Eight Views of Huangshan," Lot 752, for $2,322,500, dramatically over it pre-sale high estimate of $250,000. Zheng Min was born in 1920.

Tree album

Lot 647, "Seeking Inspiration," by Shi Tao, ink on paper, hanging scroll, 7 3/8 by 5 5/8 inches

Lot 647 is a small hanging scroll by Shi Tao (1642-1718) entitled "Seeking Inspiration.  An ink on paper, it measures 7 3/8 by 5 5/8 inches.  It has two seals of the artist and a collector's seal of Zhang Daqian and it was included in Zhang Daqian's 1978 book, "The Chronography of Shih-Tao."  It has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $146,500.


Boat album

Lot 632, "Landscape after Zhao Boju (1120-1182)" by Shen Hengi, ink and color on paper, 9 by 12 7/8 inches


Lot 632 is a very nice ink and color on paper by Shen Hengi (1409-1477) that is a "Landscape after Zhao Boju (1120-1182).  It measures 9 by 12 7/8 inches and has three seals of the artist, colophons of Du Qiong and three seals of Zhang Daqan.  It has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000.  It failed to sell.


Two men fan

Lot 683, "Chatting by the Spring Along the Willow Bank," by Qiu Zhu, Wen Zhengming, folding fan, 7 7/8 by 22 5/8 inches

Lot 683 is a folding fan by Qiu Zhu (active early 16th Century) and Wen Zhengming (1470-1559), that is entitled "Chatting by the Spring Along the Willow Bank.  It measures 7 7/8 by 22 5/8 inches.  Ir has an estimate of $55,000 to $75,000. It failed to sell.

Bird fan

Lot 690, "Flowers and Butterflies" by Jiang Tingzi, ink and color on gold paper, fan leaf, framed, 7 5/8 by 21 5/8 inches

Lot 690 is a lovely fan leaf by Jiang Tingzi (1669-1732).  "Entitled "Flowers and Butterflies," it meausres 7 5/8 by 21 5/8 inches.  It is ink and  and color on gold paper.  It has a modest estimate of $7,500 to $10,000. It sold for $10,625.


Yellow man fan

Lot 715, "Pine Tree and Figure," by Qiu Zhu, ink and color on gold paper, fan  leaf, framed, 5 3/4 by 18 1/2 inches

Lot 715 is a very nice fan leaf by Qiu Zhu (early 16th Century) of "Pine Tree and Figure."  The ink and color on gold paper measures 5 3/4 by 18 1/2 inches.  It has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000.  It sold for $37,500.

 



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