Know your tobacco: Chinese snuffboxes are among the highlights of Asia Week New York
In the auction, art and antiques calendar March in the Big Apple is a month when the spotlight is traditionally on Asian art.
It’s the time of year when major international companies hold the first of their series of semi-annual Asian auctions in New York and, since 2009, it’s the time when specialist dealers in this field collectively hold a series of selling exhibits in Manhattan galleries. .
Everything falls under the aegis of Asia Week in New York (DAWN), an annual celebration of Asian art encompassing auctions and dealer shows alongside museum exhibits.
For this year DAWN, from March 16 to 25, six auction companies are participating: Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Doyle, Heritage and iGavel. There are 26 participating dealers, with more in-person attendance than last year when covid meant many dealers opted for a virtual presence.
Over the next five pages we give a taste of what will be on offer in auction rooms and dealer galleries and as always much more information can be found on the DAWN website.
Heritage is hosting an Asian Art auction in Dallas on March 22 and will preview highlights from the sale in New York City March 16-21.
Doyle is hosting a live auction of Asian Art in New York on March 21 as well as a timed auction titled Asian Art: Session II that will end on March 25.
Christie’s auction calendar for Asia Week in New York includes a mix of direct and online sales, various owners and sole proprietors in a wide range of Asian, vintage and contemporary art categories.
Offered in two sessions – one online March 15-29, the other live March 24 – will be Rivers and Mountains Far from the World: Important Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Rachelle R Holden Collection.
The sales take their title from the scholarly catalog published in 1994 by the late collector who bought her first snuffbox in 1974. The two sales between them offer more than 220 bottles in various materials: glass, porcelain, hard stones and enamelled metal.
One of the highlights of the collection is a Qianlong brand famille rose enameled glass bottle from the time of the Imperial Palace workshops, estimated at $400,000 to $600,000.
Christie’s Japanese and Korean Art auction on March 22 will feature 20 lots of Buddhist paintings from the collection of David and Nayda Utterberg, while the South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art sale on March 23 will feature works from the collection of Mahinder and Sharad Tak, long-time patrons of the arts.
Among the paintings from the Mahinder and Sharad Tak Collection that will feature in Christie’s South Asian, Modern and Contemporary Art auction on March 23 is this monumental oil on canvas The Banyan Tree by Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003) . The square
canvas measuring 5ft 9in x 5ft 9in (1.75m x 1.75m), incorporating a series of vignettes in a rolling landscape, was painted in 1994 and acquired directly from the artist. It is signed and dated in Gujarati on the lower right and titled and signed The Banyan Tree/Bhupen Khakhar on the reverse and has an estimate of $1.8-2.5 million.
Image: Christie’s Images Ltd 2022
Works offered in this latter collection include paintings by Bhupen Khakhar, Manjit Bawa, Arpita Singh and Sayed Haider Raza as well as works by Maqbool Fida Husain, Rameshwar Broota, Jogen Chowdhury and Jagdish Swaminathan, all close friends of the collectors.
Bonhams’ auction program for Asia Week in New York includes live and online-only sales of Chinese artwork, including the Richard Milhender Export Furniture Collection; Japanese and Korean art; a sole proprietor sale of Chinese paintings and calligraphy; Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian art and Burmese silverware.
The auction house’s flagship lot is a gilt copper alloy figure of the Buddhist savior goddess Tara of Nepal from the early Malla period (13th century) that will feature in the March 22 sale of Indian art, Himalayan and Southeast Asian.
The figure comes from the collection of Michael Henss, a famous scholar of Himalayan art, and retains remnants of cold gold and blue pigment on the face and hair indicating his earlier worship in Tibet. The estimate is $500,000 to $700,000.
On March 21, Bonhams will offer the fourth installment of paintings and calligraphic works from the collection of the Reverend Richard Fabian. Founder and rector of St Gregory Nyssen Episcopal Ecumenical Church in San Francisco, he first discovered Chinese painting while majoring in Chinese art at Yale University in the 1960s and spent more than three decades to build up a panoramic collection covering the 200 years of development of modern Chinese painting. Part 5 of the Fabian Collection will go on sale online March 14-24.
Bonhams’ online component Asia Week the sales also include the March 14-24 sale of the Noble Silver Collection: Treasures from Burma’s Silver Age – works produced by Burmese master silversmiths between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.
Burmese silver largely catered to a domestic market producing items designed for traditional Southeast Asian customs such as betel cultivation and temple offerings, including a dated silver betel box of 1909 from Lower Burma (Myanmar).
Sotheby’s Asia Week The auctions will include the first of a series of four sole proprietor sales of the Dr Wou Kiuan collection that will take place around the world until 2022.
It covers 4,000 years of Chinese culture and art history with over 1,000 works including pottery, porcelain, jades, bronzes, paintings and calligraphy, and is estimated to be over 40 millions of dollars.
Wou Kiuan, the son of Wou Lien-Pai, a prominent politician who was instrumental in reforming China during the Republic era, moved to London after his retirement, devoting his time to the study of Chinese archeology and art. From the mid-1950s to the 1960s, he built up a collection representing all categories of Chinese art. In 1968, he established a private gallery in his home titled the Wou Lien Pai Museum in honor of his father.
This first sale of the collection takes place in New York on March 22 under the title A Journey through China’s History: The Dr Wou Kiuan Collection Part I.
Highlights include the 14th-century carved cinnabar lacquer “hibiscus” dish shown here. Dating to the peak period of Chinese lacquer craftsmanship, the late Yuan/early Ming dynasty, its decoration is unusual in that it is limited to three flowers among the foliage, a design more commonly seen on paintings. much smaller parts.
Sotheby’s Asia Week The program also includes a live auction of modern and contemporary South Asian art on March 21 and an online auction, China/5000 years, from March 16 to 29.