The Auction Block
Amidst a graciously mild Washington summer, we are beginning to see the first signs of autumn coming around the bend. The weather will be warm and the sun will be out for at least the next month or two, but true Washingtonians are looking for signs of fall in other ways. Announcements for major fall museum exhibits are creeping into our inboxes. Theater tickets are going on sale for upcoming shows. And, of course, the auction houses are rousing from their brief summer hibernations of sorts, preparing to kick off the holiday season with a series of not-to-bemissed auction events, featuring a variety of collections of international interest.
While many are still preparing their lots, here is a peek at what’s coming from a few of our area’s major auction houses. With the New York auction houses participating in Asia Week during the week of Monday, Sept. 16, the over-arching theme feels a little like “Treasures of the East,” with a breathtaking collection of Chinese and Japanese works, as well as items from Eastern countries.
Ivory netsuke of a recumbent kirin by Okatomo
Japanese, 17th century
Auction Date: September 17
Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000
Bonhams is pleased to offer the James A. Rose collection of Netsuke and Sagemono on Sept. 17 at the Madison Avenue salesroom. Netsuke are 17th century traditional Japanese miniature sculptures that doubled as small containers to store personal belongings. The sculptures evolved over time from being strictly utilitarian into objects of great artistic merit and craftsmanship. As one of America’s most dedicated and knowledgeable netsuke enthusiasts, James A. Rose, M.D., (1931–2011) was a member of the board of directors of the prominent International Netsuke Society and served for 23 years as the president of its Washington, D.C., chapter. His esteemed collection will be offered in its entirety. This mythical animal (1 7/8 in. long) shown reclining, forms a compact design, the details finely carved and stained dark, eyes inlaid in dark horn.
Sotheby’s New York
Ritual Bronze Food Vessel, “Zuo Bao Yi”
Auction: September 17
Estimate: $2 - $3 million
This autumn, Sotheby’s will present a dedicated sale of ten extraordinary ritual bronzes from the famed collection of Julius Eberhardt, as part of their popular Asia Week auction sales. Distinguished by their provenance, which includes A.J. Argyopoulos, the Greek Ambassador to China after World War II, as well as the legendary Shanghai dealer T.Y. King, the group is estimated to bring more than $5 million. The offering comprises works of incredible rarity and importance including the “Zuo Bao Yi” Gui, an important food vessel, Early Western Zhou Dynasty 11th-10th century BC. An additional highlight is the “Mu Xin zun”, an exceptionally beautiful wine vessel, also Early Western Zhou Dynasty. Both pieces were included in the seminal 1954 Marco Polo Seventh Centenary Exhibition in Venice.
Doyle New York
Xu Beihong (Chinese, 1895-1953)
Horse Signed (ur)
Seal Ink on paper, mounted on silk Imag
Auction Date: September 16
Estimate: $100,000 - $200,000
Doyle New York will hold an auction of Asian Works of Art on Monday, Sept. 16, at 10 a.m. The auction presents the arts of China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia, dating from the Neolithic Period through the 20th century. Offerings include porcelain, pottery, jade, ivories, scholar’s objects, snuff bottles, bronzes, screens, furniture and paintings. This horse painting is by artist Xu Beihong, a renowned Chinese painter from the early 20th century best known for his shuimohua (Chinese ink paintings) of horses and birds. Beihong formed a style that reflected a new modern China at the beginning of the 20th century, exhibiting his proficiency and knowledge of Western artistic technique with a stylethat expressed a native artistic expression of his homeland.