San Francisco — The Asian art market continues to enjoy an upbeat demand, particularly in the Chinese art sector, when fresh properties are offered at reasonable prices. Amidst collectors’ expectations, Bonhams will kick off the fall season with one of its important Asian Decorative Art sales in San Francisco on Tuesday, October 2 at 10 am.
The sale, featuring 680-plus lots of fine Asian decorative arts from more than 50 estates and private collections, is designed to meet collectors’ diversified tastes. It is also comprised of properties from non-profit institutions, including the Harvard Art Museums, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty and the Conner Prairie Museum. Proceeds from this sale will assist the foregoing organizations in their academic endeavors and future acquisitions.
Chinese works of art constitute more than 500 lots in the sale, covering a broad array of materials set at conservative estimates, to invite participation from all interested collectors. The more than 160 lots of Chinese decorative ceramics in the sale focus on monochrome, blue and white and polychrome-enameled wares. Notable lots amongst this ever-popular category include a very attractive famille rose enameled porcelain stick-neck vase with Qianlong mark, from the Republic period (est. $6,000-8,000) and two large Kangxi period blue and white porcelain deep dishes with classic peony design (est. $2,500-4,000). To collectors who appreciate the austere beauty often found in early Chinese ceramics, an unusual Tang dynasty bird-shaped stoneware jar with suffused brown glaze is one of a number on offer in the sale (est. $8,000-12,000).
Following ceramics is a rich variety of Chinese paintings and calligraphy, ranging from classic 19th century examples to artworks by celebrated 20th century artists. Highlights include two hanging scrolls by Ding Yanyong (1902-1978), one featuring ‘Frog and Lotus,’ the other ‘Bird and Pine’ (est. $3,000-5,000, each); an assortment of 11 fan paintings by various artists from the late 19th-20th centuries (est. $1,200-1,800); and a large, graceful scroll painting by an anonymous 19th/20th century artist, executed with ink and color on silk (est. $1,200-1,800). The section also includes a painting by Pu Zuo, an artist who hails from the imperial family (1918-2003), and works by the artist and collector Wang Jiqian (C.C. Wang: 1907-2003).
Despite the world record prices Bonhams has created for snuff bottle sales in recent years, snuff bottles remain an area where new collectors and bargain hunting collectors can always find their jewels at acceptable prices. The October sale has more than 80 lots of snuff bottles on offer. Notable lots include a group of four late 18th-19th century overlay glass snuff bottles from a West Coast Collection (est. $1,500-2,000), a white nephrite snuff bottle (est. $800-$1200) and an excellent group of nine 19th century porcelain snuff bottles (est. 2,000-3,000).
Also available in the sale is a fine selection of 74 lots of decorative jades, including a carved white jade standing figure of a Buddhist deity (est. $4,000-6,000), a finely carved 17th/18th nephrite dragon belt hook (est. $3,000-5,000) and a small inscribed russet jade brushwash (est. $2,000-3,000).
The nearly 40 lots of fine Chinese furniture include two pairs of late Qing/Republic lacquer and gilt-decorated dragon form lantern stands from the prestigious Estate of Elinor Majors Carlisle, San Francisco (est. $2,500-3,500), a pair of huanghuali square stools (est. $2,000-3,000) and a fine hongmu game table carved with bamboo (est. $800-1,200).
Important highlights among the excellent Chinese works of art are a fine 17th/18th century cloisonné enameled metal vase from an East Coast Private Collection ($15,000-25,000); a 19th century blue ground embroidered silk dragon robe (est. $2,500-4,000); an unsual pair of translucent peacock blue glass stick-neck vases with Kangxi marks, from the Alan E. Feen Collection (est. $800-1,200); and a ‘chicken-blood’ stone seal (est. $1,000-1,500).
The sale will also offer more than 120 lots of Japanese, Korean, South and Southeast Asian arts, covering a good representation of metalwork, ceramics, woodblock prints, miniature paintings and spiritually-inspiring Buddhist art. One example of the latter is a 16th century gilt copper alloy figure of Syamatara, from a Distinguished California Estate (est. $6,000-7,000).
The sale’s illustrated catalog will be available online in the preceding weeks, for review and purchase at www.bonhams.com.
Auction Preview: September 29-October 1, San Francisco
Auction: October 2, San Francisco