Chiswick eagerly anticipate Huang Binhong sale

Paintings by the Chinese Modernist master Huang Binhong are rarely offered at auction in London and fierce bidding is expected for a work to be offered at Chiswick Auctions on November 13 during Asian Art in London..

Included in the top 10 ranking artists sold at auction internationally, alongside Picasso, Warhol and Monet, for the first half of 2017; his painting Yellow Mountain sold for a record 345 million yuan (US$50.5 million) at China Guardian Auctions’ sale in Beijing (Artprice.com, Aug 2017).

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Ink and wash painting by Huang Binhong to be offered at Chiswick Auctions

Of course, if Chiswick were to knock down their offering, entitled simply Landscape, for a price in ths range then the sale would fit very nicely into their current expansion programme, which includes the estabishment of a central London showroom in the wake of the sudden closure of Chrsties South Kensington.

An internationally recognised master of 20th Century Chinese ink painting, prices for works by Huang Binhong have sky-rocketed in recent years and his reputation as a world-class modernist artist has been truly cemented.

His work innovatively combines Eastern traditions with influences from Impressionist and Modernist art, visible in his use of light and free brushwork.

The painting offered at Chiswick Auctions depicts the landscape of Xuancheng (宣城), a city in North East Anhui Province in China. The work was acquired by the present owner from the successful Chinese businessman Mr. David Lau (Lau Chi Man).

Chiswick Auctions is the only London saleroom to offer dedicated sales of Chinese Paintings.

Head of Asian Art, Lazarus Halstead, commented: “Since opening our Fine Chinese Paintings department there has been an overwhelming response from collectors wishing to consign and buy fine and rare works by Chinese artists.”

The November sale also includes works by 20th Century masters Qi Baishi, Pu Ru and the female artist Fang Zhaoling, as well as classical works attributed to Wang Jian and Ba Da Shan Ren.

Hide away your ivory! Beleagurerd British government announces U-turn ban on historic ivory

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The beleagured British government in the person of Environment Secretary Michael Gove, hardly the sharpest knife in the drawer of a decidedly dim and declining political regime, has today announced it will imminently ban all trading in virtually all antique ivory.

This incredible U-turn in policy has been made by a government quite possibly on its last legs before it is forced to face the electorate. Apparently, government advisers have told it that if it wishes to pander to the younger members of the electrorate it must proceed with a number of palliative meeasures, including a vifrtually total ban on the sale of historic worked ivory previously regarded as part of the national heiitage of Britain.

Worse still, it is tonight rumoured that private collections of beautiful historic ivory pieces may be seized for salutary public destruction. Tbis appalling prospect means that private owners may be best advised to hide away some of their most treasured possessions before the political police arrive at their door at the dead of night.

Apparently Gove himself possesses a piano with ivory keys and the Minister may have to allow in the piano smashers! Shame on the UK government!

Bonhams appoints Jessica Zhang as China representative

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Jessica Zhang, just appointed Bonhams China representative.                                 Photo courtesy Bonhams

Bonhams, the international auction house, has announced the appointment of Jessica Zhang as its representative in mainland China, with immediate effect. She will be based in Beijing with a brief to build the Bonhams brand throughout the country.

Bonhams is, of course, on of the ‘Big Three’ auction houses in the UK and, alongside rivals Sotheby’s and Christie’s, is seeking to make inroads into the China market which enjoys tremendous untapped potential. All the auction houses are adopting different strategies and Bonhams has clearly decided to identify itself as using Chinese talent as opposed to entering into occasional sales and ‘tax free’ deals.

Bonhams Executive Director in Asia, Edward Wilkinson, said, “I am delighted to welcome Jessica to the Bonhams team. Her impressive experience in luxury brand building signals our commitment to expand the Bonhams brand throughout China. This important role requires a mould-breaker and I believe we have found that in Jessica.”

Jessica Zhang commented, “I am very excited by this new challenge. The Bonhams name is respected throughout the world and I am looking forward to using my knowledge and experience to build its profile in China and enable new and existing Chinese collectors to become better acquainted with the wide range of services offered by Bonhams around the world.”

Jessica has a strong background in brand management and the marketing of luxury lifestyle. As managing director of Quintessentially China – a provider of tailored luxury services for high net-worth individuals – she established the business in China and was responsible for its branding, marketing and strategic planning. Jessica graduated in International Trade, is a native Mandarin speaker and fluent in English.

 

Is Chinese furniture taking off in the regions?

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There have been some interesting results for Chinese furniture sold in the regions over the last few weeks. Generally recognised as being something of a slow market, furniture is maybe about to take off in a big way.

We wrote last week about an undistinguished and damaged 19th century marble-topped console table which, inclusive of premium, got almost £25,000 at Lindsay Burns in Perth.

Also last week, we ourselves decided to bid on a rather nice padouk ‘throne chair’ (i.e. it was big, big enough for two Chinamen, as the auctioneers, Hartleys of Ilkley in Yorkshire pointed out). It wasn’t actually a throne but it had some agreeable features and we thought we would go into the low thousands for it. It was estimated at £400-600.

We entered the bidding online at £700; the next bid came up and, as I had anticipated, it looked like £800. Only after I had pressed the BID button did I realise, somewhat belatedly, that I had bid £8,000! Somehow the bidding had increased with one bid from £700 to £8,000! I heard the auctioneer, who was clearly as surprised as I was, saying ‘What’s going on?’.

Fortuitously, because I did not really want it enough to pay that sort of money, a bid rapidly came in at £8,500; then another and it was quickly knocked down at £9,500 . . . A lot of money, old boy, for something that was nice but far from unique. A pity, I really fliked that red cushion so redolent of the former owner’s many hours of seated pleasure! A case of On Ilkla Moor Ba’tat . . .

And a lesson to be rather more careful with that internet bidding.

Hartleys chair with cushion

Knocked down at Hartleys, Ilkley, for £9,500 hammer including the red cushion

 

19th century Chinese console table flies high in Perth saleroom

Lindsay Burns lot 81

A 19th century Chinese console table substantially exceeded expectations September 5 in Perth, Scotland, at Lindsay Burns’ Antiques and Fine Art Sale. It was one of a large number of lots of Chinese furniture: estimated at £4-6,000 (which seemed rather  optimistic to us), it was knocked down, after a long contest between two telephone bidders, at £19,500 hammer. Lindsay Burns were tight lipped on the matter of the successful purchaser apart from saying it went to ‘a private buyer’ and not to the trade.

At 152 x 76.5 x 63cm. it was certainly a substantial piece of heavy furniture and was intricately carved in dark wood and with a mottled red and white marble insert (typical of all those ubiquitous 19th century low urn stands and jardiniere stands). Otherwise, it was fairly undistinguished, there was some small damage to the wood and serious damage to the marble top in the form of a couple of cracks running through its entire width.

It emanated most probably from central/Highland Scotland and it is, of course, entirely possible that it enjoyed some previous outstanding provenance identified by the bidders. Otherwise, the reasoning behind an inclusive cost of £25,000 is puzzling . . .

Lindsay Burns lot 81a

Christies sale features nine decades of dealing in Chinese art across four generations

The Marchant dynasty: Four generations in Chinese art

Richard Marchant reflects on his family’s extraordinary 92-year connection with porcelain and jade ahead of Christie’s important New York Sale Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September.

‘It’s quite remarkable that we’ve been going for four generations,’ observes Richard Marchant, sitting in the office of the gallery opened by his father in the early 1950s. Samuel Sydney Marchant opened his first antiques shop on Cursitor Street, near Chancery Lane in London, in 1925, with a mission to trade in only the finest and rarest objects with impeccable provenance. In 1952 the shop moved to new premises on Kensington Church Street and, with Richard joining the business a year later, the firm began to specialise in Ming and Qing dynasty works of art, particularly porcelain and jade.

‘I was 17,’ Richard Marchant recalls. ‘My father took me into the business with him, and after one year he said, “You can go out buying”. You have to remember that at that time, antiques were everywhere. My father would send me to auctions at Christie’s, and it meant that I had to touch, and feel, every lot in the sale. It was a fantastic time to learn.’

A superb large Longquan celadon bracket-lobed dish, early Ming dynasty, late 14th-early 15th century. 19 in (48.2 cm) high. Estimate $300,000-400,000. This lot is offered in Marchant Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York

A superb large Longquan celadon bracket-lobed dish, early Ming dynasty, late 14th-early 15th century. 19 in (48.2 cm) high. Estimate: $300,000-400,000. This lot is offered in Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York

In 1985 Richard’s own son, Stuart, joined the family business, and in 2011 and 2015 Stuart’s two children, Natalie and Samuel, also came on board, establishing an art-dealing dynasty that spans almost a century. On 14 September in New York, collectors will have the opportunity to be a part of the remarkable Marchant family story with the sale of just over 50 bronzes, jades and ceramics in the sale Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art.

An exceptional large parcel-gilt-bronze tripod censer, Xuande Yuannian mark corresponding to 1426, Ming Dynasty, 15th-17th century. 12 in. (30.5 cm.) diam. Estimate $70,000-90,000. This lot is offered in Marchant Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York
An exceptional large parcel-gilt-bronze tripod censer, Xuande Yuannian mark corresponding to 1426, Ming Dynasty, 15th-17th century. 12 in. (30.5 cm.) diam. Estimate: $70,000-90,000. This lot is offered in Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York

 

Across the decades, Marchant has observed radical changes in the nature of collecting Asian works. Where once clients were mostly European and American private collectors, today a large proportion of the business comes from the Far East, with clients keen to acquire works of art from their own heritage.

‘At the moment the main collectors, there’s no question, are from China,’ the dealer says, before offering advice to those setting out on their collecting journey. ‘Young collectors have to concentrate in a specific area. And there are areas that can be neglected by the market. We’ve seen this over the years — pieces that weren’t very popular, all of a sudden, become  popular.’

A Dehua figure of Guanyin with a scroll, Ming dynasty, early 17th century, impressed He Chaozong mark within a double gourd. 7¼ in (18.4 cm) high. Estimate $50,000-70,000. This lot is offered in Marchant Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York
A Dehua figure of Guanyin with a scroll, Ming dynasty, early 17th century, impressed He Chaozong mark within a double gourd. 7¼ in (18.4 cm) high. Estimate: $50,000-70,000. This lot is offered in Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York
A massive and superbly-decorated famille rose baluster jar and cover, Yongzheng period (1723-35). 31⅞ in (81 cm) high. Estimate $80,000-120,000. This lot is offered in Marchant Nine Decades in Chinese Art, 14 September 2017 at Christies New York
A massive and superbly-decorated famille rose baluster jar and cover, Yongzheng period (1723-35). 31⅞ in (81 cm) high. Estimate: $80,000-120,000. This lot is offered in Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art, 14 September 2017 at Christie’s New York

 

‘I feel very privileged to be able to handle pieces that have survived through hundreds of years, knowing that so many previous collectors have loved them,’ he reflects, while examining ‘a very special piece’, an an early Ming, Yongle period (1403-1425) dish. ‘It’s contagious, the love of these objects.’

Reproduced courtesy of Christies.com The sale takes place in New York on Thursday September 14

Edinburgh Chinese Festival puts on glittering show

Chinese Arts & Culture Fest 17 best (1)

The Chinese Arts and Culture Festival, which now forms part of The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, was held over two days earlier this week. The Festival, which was launched last year, provided the opportunity to see a series of top quality Chinese displays of dramatic art.:a unique opportunity for visitors to and residents of Scotland. Plans are already in hand to mount the event again next year.

Below we feature photographs of some of the performances.

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Apologue 2047 was in the nature of a more experimental work of performance art. Here traditional musicians from Fujian province accompany dancers sealed in a transparent oblong box over which blue paint was sprayed. Photo Paul Harris

Chinese Arts & Culture Fest 17 best (5)

A scene from the opera The Drunken Concubine presented by Wuhan Peking Opera Group and which was marked by by stunning, colourful costumes. Below Makeup and costume constituted a faultless contribution to the opera. Photo Paul Harris

Chinese Arts & Culture Fest 17 best (4)

Chinese Arts & Culture Fest 17 best (3)

A scene from another less than conventional presentation by Zhaoliang ART entitled The Tea Spell. It started with a woman, made up to simulate nudity clambering through the audience in acrobatic style ! Photo Paul Harris

Chinese Arts & Culture Fest 17 best (6)

Singing of China in Edinburgh was a charming presentation by children from the Beijing Shanghai Experimental School. They sang a variety of Chinese classical songs, finishing off, appropriately, with the famous Scottish valedictory Auld Lang Syne. Photo Paul Harris

Unusual Chinese art image no. 90 The wrist rest

Mao wrist rest2 lr The wrist rest, historically, was a valued accoutrement on the scholar’s desk. It came in many forms: wood, ivory and, even, jade and served the purpose suggested by its name as the scholar inscribed, wrote and painted. This is a rather more modern version. It dates from 1967 or 1968 and celebrates the great leader (as he was seen at that time) Mao Tse Tung at the height of his charismatic power in the days of The Cultural Revolution. This one is a rather up market souvenir made for local consumption within China.

Picture courtesy www.chineseartinscotland.co.uk

Chinese Art in Scotland opens new showroom in Scottish Borders

Chinese art room June 23 2017 (1)lr             A view of the new showroom of Chinese Art in Scotland   

Chinese Art in Scotland (www.chineseartinscotland.co.uk), a sister business to this website, has just opened its new 78sq m showroom Chinese art showroom in the Scottish Borders. More than 250 works of Chinese art, encompassing porcelain, furniture, scrolls, paintings, bronzes and wooden sculptures, have gone on show in the Scottish Borders village of Coldingham. Coldingham is 20 minutes drive from the border town of Berwick upon Tweed, which is situated on the main East Coast rail line, in turn just three and a half hours travel from Kings Cross, London.

The showroom is located behind the Coldingham Gallery (www.coldinghamgallery.co.uk) which was established seven years ago by Paul and Sulee Harris. They are both part of the Paul Harris Asia Arts Group (www.paulharrisasiaarts.co.uk) which also includes the recently established Scottish Borders Auctions (www.scottishbordersauctions.co.uk). Another associated business, Coldingham Investments Ltd., bought Greenlaw Town Hall, a massive neo-classical pile, on May 31 this year and which is to become a Chinese porcelain museum and European headquarters for the Shanghai-based Hanguang Company.

Chinese art room June 23 2017 (3)lr At the end of the showroom can be seen the large porcelain statue of Mao Tse Tung, formerly to be seen in the Chinese Embassy in Rome and now offered by Chinese Art in Scotland at £500,000.  Photo by Paul Harris

 

Mao still remains an adored cult figure immortalised in statuary

Mao busts at museum Taiyuan Shanxi Prov Orientally YoursThere is a museum dedicated to the memory of Mao Tse Tung in Taiyuan in China’s Shanxi Province. Here is a display of small busts and figures. Such statuary has been made, and is still being made, as souvenirs and keepsakes. There are still many Mao followers about despite widespread controversy of his Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution policies which, many people think, caused widespread distress and death amongst fellow Chinese.

Shao shan HunanManufacturing busts and staues of Mao still goes on. A photo taken in a factory in his home town of Shaoshan.

tumblr_oon2xxjYAi1rrpskqo3_1280 Dang Guihong owns a vast collection of materials related to the Cultural Revolution. Here he is pictured with a part of his collection at his home in Yuncheng, Shanxi Province.

mao-best-low-res This is thought to be a unique two-thirds life size porcelain statue of Mao Tse Tung. One of just two made in Jingdezhen and numbered ‘2’, it is dated October 1 1967, when the Cultural Revolution was at its height. It is being offered by Chinese Art in Scotland at a cool £500,000 (www.chineseartinscotland.co.uk). The problems in making such a large white porcelain piece are legion and there would have been many failures {possibly as many as a hundred) in the process of making and firing this successful version. It was formerly housed in the Chinese Embassy in Rome.

Revivalism in modern China means Mao Zedong is still very much revered, and he is already commemorated with statues across the country and a portrait over Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. In 2013, to mark the 120th anniversary of his birth, a solid gold incarnation worth 200 million yuan (£20 million) was inaugurated in his home village of Shaoshan, with busloads of followers flocking to pay tribute.

Ullens collection of Chinese art goes online with reproductions available worldwide

Fang Lijun, Plate for Superganbei, Porcelain Plate         Fang Lijun Plate for Superganbei, porcelain

 

The Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation has given exclusive access to the complete collection of its important limited editions to online platform ArtAndOnly.

Influential collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens changed the landscape of contemporary Chinese art with their acclaimed collection, a seminal gathering of works from the 1980s to the present. Their strategic and passionate accumulation of the best contemporary works from China is unmatched, and the Ullens Collection is internationally renowned. The Ullens have been patrons of the arts in China for over thirty years, and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art has been at the hub of the contemporary art world in China since its inception.

In 2013, the Wall Street Journal estimated that the Ullens Collection numbered over one thousand works and individual pieces in the collection have broken sales records. The extensive reach of the collection encompasses works of extraordinary provenance, rarity, interest and skill. Guy Ullen’s passion to make these artworks appreciated, in their original forms, and through curated replication of key works to extend the reach of key artists and the genre, has been unrivalled. The most prominent artists of the Chinese contemporary art scene are represented in the new limited editions collection. The quality of reproduction has been tightly controlled for excellence with rxisting media faithfully replicated. 

and Sister, Photography Huang Yan Brother and Sister, Photography

The decision by the Ullens Foundation to offer the rights of the limited editions collection to ArtAndOnly is in line with Guy Ullen’s recognised desire to make the original work in the Ullens Collection known to, and accessible for, a global audience. The Ullens have been quoted as saying “Collecting is our passion; showing and sharing is our duty”. ArtAndOnly’s online viewing platform will further enhance the accessibility and awareness of these works – a key factor in the decision to partner on these sales.  

 Guy Ullens commented “Today’s technology is amazing and with the online buying phenomena through the internet, it means that everyone worldwide can have access to these pieces and not just those lucky ones travelling to China.  We are proud of our collaboration with Art and Only and look forward to reaching, through this state-of-the-art technology, the many collectors who like us have a passion, existing or yet to be discovered, for this work.” Prices range from the hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. 

Frédéric de Senarclens of ArtAndOnly says “This is an opportunity for the art collector to obtain a piece of Chinese and artistic history. The Ullens Collection is the leading name in contemporary Chinese collecting. Securing the rights to sell the prints in this extraordinary collection to a global marketplace is an honour for ArtAndOnly and a terrific opportunity for our own collectors. Bringing the editions to ArtAndOnly means the works can be easily viewed and acquired by both existing and new contemporary Chinese arts enthusiasts.”

He An, Miss you, Sculpture

He An Miss You, Sculpture

Guy Ullens adds “It is our ambition to allow every art lover to have the opportunity to acquire a work of art which we bought first and foremost for the benefit of the artist; to inscribe their notoriety in modern Chinese cultural history and to quench our passionate desire as collectors and believers.”

The print and lithograph collection includes works by Chen Wenbo, Cui Xiuwen, Fang Lijun, Feng Mengbo, Feng Zhengjie, Han Lei, He An, Hong Hao, Huang Yan, Huang Yongping, Ling Jian, Liu Wei, Liu Xiaodong, Paul McCarthy, Peng Wei, Qiu Zhijie, Rawanchaikul Navin, Rong Rong, Shen Yuan, Sui Jianguo, Wang Guangyi, Wang Ningde, Wang Quingsong, Weng Fen, Yang Fudong, Yang Jiechang, Yang Shaobin, Yang Yong, Yu Youhan, Yue Minjin, Zheng Hao and Zhang Xiaogang. Feng Feng.

Han Lie, Shan Shui Series-5, photography                      Han Lie Shan Shui Series-5, Photography

 

ArtAndOnly (http://www,ArtAndOnly.com) is a new sales platform specializing in contemporary art across many disciplines including; painting, sculpture, drawing, video, printmaking, photography and mixed media. By connecting collectors, artists and a network of professional dealers, ArtAndOnly expands the passion and expertise of an exclusive art gallery into the global online art market. With a focus on quality and a carefully curated selection of unique work by both established and emerging talent, ArtAndOnly aims to be a collector’s comprehensive and trusted partner.