Alain.R.Truong

28 février 2015

“Avedon: Beyond Beauty” at Gagosian Rome

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Richard AvedonAudrey Hepburn and Art Buchwald, with Simone D'Aillencourt, Frederick Eberstadt, Barbara Mullen, and Dr. Reginald Kerman, evening dresses by Balmain, Dior, and Patou, Maxim's, Paris, August 1959, 1959, gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches (50.8 x 61 cm), ed. of 25 © The Richard Avedon Foundation.Image courtesy of Gagosian Rome.

Whenever I become absorbed in the beauty of a face, in the excellence of a single feature, I feel I’ve lost what’s really there...been seduced by someone else’s standard of beauty or by the sitter’s own idea of the best in him. That’s not usually the best. So each sitting becomes a contest. —Richard Avedon

ROME.- Gagosian Rome presents “Avedon: Beyond Beauty,” a career-spanning exhibition that includes nearly every editioned fashion photograph from Richard Avedon’s highly distinctive and influential oeuvre, as well as a number of his iconic portraits of female subjects.

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Richard Avedon, Zazi #13, street performer, Piazza Navona, Rome, July 27, 1946 © The Richard Avedon Foundation. Image courtesy of Gagosian Rome.

As a young photographer's assistant in the U.S. Merchant Marine during WWII, Avedon was given the job to make identity photographs. He commented "I must have taken pictures of one hundred thousand faces before it occurred to me I was becoming a photographer." Subsequently, from the outset of his professional career as a photographer, his command of composition, situation, and circumstance, and his erasure of the distinction between "art" and "commercial" photography resulted in a highly impactful body of work, whether celebrity portraiture, brand-defining commercial work, or gritty cultural and political documentary concerning race relations, poverty, and war. 

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Richard Avedon, Volpi Ball #4, Jacqueline Delubac, Venice, Italy, August 31, 1991 © The Richard Avedon Foundation. Image courtesy of Gagosian Rome.

From the beginning of his career as a fashion photographer in the 1940s, Avedon was renowned for his distinctive and transformative imagery, which challenged the boundaries of conventional beauty. Throughout sixty years, he captured with inventiveness, wit and insight both well-known and anonymous female subjects, from celebrities and models to friends and family. Fascinated by photography’s capacity for suggesting the personality and evoking the life of his subject, he also registered pose, attitude, clothing, and accessories as vital, revelatory elements of an image. 

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Richard Avedon, Gabrielle Chanel, couturiere, Paris, France, March 6, 1958 © The Richard Avedon Foundation. Image courtesy of Gagosian Rome.

This exhibition emphasizes the breadth of Avedon’s creative and sometimes shocking representations of women, from intimate portraits to celebrated fashion photographs forHarper’s BazaarVogueThe New Yorker and other publications. He set models in action, provoking them to appear questioning, unruly, vivacious, and confidently alive. The exhibition begins with the Early Paris Fashion Portfolio, eleven images commissioned by Harper’s Bazaar between 1947 and 1957, all of which were taken outside of the studio and capture the street life of Paris. Umbrella in hand, a skipping model appears suspended above a cobblestone street; Marlene Dietrich, wearing a turban by Dior, suavely lights a cigarette at the Ritz; a svelte Dorian Leigh gazes at her mirrored reflection while standing in Helena Rubenstein’s dressing room. 

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Richard Avedon, Jacqueline Kennedy, socialite, New York, January 14, 1958 © The Richard Avedon Foundation. Image courtesy of Gagosian Rome.

The trust and rapport between Avedon and his subjects that enabled bold experimentation is perhaps most apparent in the continuous work produced in the stark white environment of his studio, from the poised, swan-like Gloria Vanderbilt (1953); to the angel-faced Cheryl Crane, the daughter of actress Lana Turner, who Avedon photographed in 1963 after she was exonerated from a murder charge; and the highly animated, leonine Tina Turner (1971). In an image from 1967, Veruschka appears to drift effortlessly upwards en pointe, a winter dress by Bill Blass billowing around her. Jean Shrimpton lunges across the picture plane in an ethereal evening gown by Pierre Cardin (1970); thirty years later, Malgosia Bela and Gisele Bundchen brace themselves against invisible harm in edgy Dior couture. In contrast is the macabre and darkly humorous 24-image New Yorker color fashion portfolio titled In Memory of the Late Mr. and Mrs. Comfort (1995), in which perverse beauty and eccentric luxury clash with reminders of mortality. Combining design, choreography, acute compositional awareness, and sheer verve, Avedon’s images established new historical benchmarks. Unforgettable portraits, street work, and fashion photography attest to his career as a prescient social documentarian and stylistic innovator of unparalleled relevance and influence. 

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Richard Avedon, Elise Daniels - Pré-Catelan - Paris - 1948 © The Richard Avedon Foundation. Image courtesy of Gagosian Rome.

Richard Avedon (1923–2004) is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Born in New York City, he began his professional career as a photographer for Harper's Bazaar in 1945, eventually joining rival Vogue magazine, where he remained on staff until 1988. In 1992 he was named the first staff photographer for The New Yorker. His work is included in the collections of MoMA, the Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with countless other museums and institutions worldwide. Avedon’s first museum retrospective was held at the Smithsonian Institution in 1962. Many major museum shows have followed, including Whitney Museum of American Art (1994) and two at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1978 and 2002). A 2007 retrospective exhibition organized by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark traveled to Milan, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and San Francisco. “Richard Avedon: People” was presented at National Portrait Gallery, Canberra in 2013, traveled to Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth in 2014, and is on view at Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne through March 15, 2015.  

Richard Avedon established The Richard Avedon Foundation during his lifetime. Based in New York, the Foundation is the repository for Avedon's photographs, negatives, publications, papers, and archival materials. 

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 Richard Avedon, “In Memory of the late Mr. and Mrs. Comfort”, a fable, Nadja Auermann, model, Montauk, New York, August 1995 © The Richard Avedon Foundation. Image courtesy of Gagosian Rome.


A small 'Jun' tripod censer, Jin dynasty

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A small 'Jun' tripod censer, Jin dynasty. Estimate 30,000 — 40,000 USD. Photo Sotheby's.

the compressed globular body supported on three short cabriole legs, the short broad neck culminating in a wide angled galleried rim, covered inside and out with a lightly crackled thick milky-blue glaze fading to mushroom at the rim, the tips of the feet left unglazed revealing the reddish-brown body, wood stand (2). Height 2 9/16  in., 6.5 cm

Notes: A tripod censer of similar size, shape and glaze attributed to the Northern Song / Jin Dynasty is in the Palace Museum, Beijing and illustrated in Selection of Jun Ware: the Palace Museum's Collection and Archaeological Excavation, Beijing, 2013, no. 27; and another attributed Jin / Yuan dynasty is in the Meiyintang Collection illustrated in Regina Krahl,Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, vol. 1, 1994, no. 391.

Compare another Jun censer sold in these rooms, 16th September 2014, lot 151. 

Sotheby's. Song Tradition: Early Ceramics from the Yang De Tang Collection. New York, 17 mars 2015, 11:00 AM

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A pair of green 'Jun' bubble bowls, Song dynasty

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A pair of green 'Jun' bubble bowls, Song dynastyEstimate 40,000 — 60,000 USD. Photo Sotheby's.

each rising from a short straight foot to shallow rounded sides, covered overall with a thick lustrous soft grayish-green glaze suffused with crackles thinning towards the rim, the footrim unglazed revealing the reddish-brown body, wood stands (4). Diameter 4 in., 10 cm

Notes: The Jun kilns located in the counties of Yu and Linru in Henan province are best known for wares applied with rich opaque pale blue glaze. However, they also produced fine wares that were applied with a similarly unctuous glaze of a soft green color as seen on the present pair. These green Jun wares share similarities with their blue counterparts, but have a higher alumina content indicating that the potter's were mindful of the difference and created them specifically. Very few examples of bubble bowls with green glaze appear to be published. However, see a related green Jun bubble bowl, published in A. Du Boulay, Christie's Pictorial History of Chinese Ceramics, Oxford, 1984, p. 86, fig. 2.

Sotheby's. Song Tradition: Early Ceramics from the Yang De Tang Collection. New York, 17 mars 2015, 11:00 AM

A rare 'Jun' cupstand, Song dynasty

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A rare 'Jun' cupstand, Song dynasty. Estimate 30,000 — 50,000 USD. Photo Sotheby's.

the hollow bowl with rounded sides collared by a saucer dish with a curved rim, supported on a hollow cylindrical foot, covered overall with a pale blue glaze, suffused throughout with minute white flecks, draining on the extremities to a mushroom color and stopping short of the knife-pared foot on the exterior. Width 5 7/8  in., 14.9 cm

LiteratureDan-jiong Tan, Zhongguo taoci shi [History of Chinese Ceramics], Volume Two,  Taipei, 1985, p. 509.

NotesJun cupstands are rare and few published examples are known. A stand of similar form, but with lobed rim, in the British Museum, is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections, vol. 5, London, 1981, fig. 101; and another in the Percival David Foundation, London, is included in the Foundation's Illustrated Catalogue of Ru, Guan, Jun, Guangdong and Yixing Wares, London, 1999, p. 39, no. A50; and another in the Eumorfopoulos Collection, illustrated in R.L. Hobson,The George Eumorfopoulos Collection Catalogue of Chinese, Corean and Persian Pottery and Porcelain, London, vol. 3, 1928, pl. XIII, no. C 35.

See also a related cupstand first sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 29th November 1976, lot 423, then again in the same rooms together with a Jun cup, from the T.Y Chao Collection, and a third time, in our London rooms from the Muwentang Collection, 18th November 1986, lot 20. 

Sotheby's. Song Tradition: Early Ceramics from the Yang De Tang Collection. New York, 17 mars 2015, 11:00 AM

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A 'Jun' 'Bubble' bowl, Yuan dynasty

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A 'Jun' 'Bubble' bowl, Yuan dynasty. Estimate 20,000 — 30,000 USD. Photo Sotheby's.

with gently rounded sides rising to a slightly incurved mouthrim, applied overall with a pale blue glaze thinning to a buff color at the rim, the interior with a splash of purple in varying shades and turning to green towards the center, all supported on a slightly flared foot. Diameter 5 in., 12.6 cm

LiteratureDan-jiong Tan, Zhongguo taoci shi [History of Chinese Ceramics], Volume Two, Taipei, 1985, p. 509.

Sotheby's. Song Tradition: Early Ceramics from the Yang De Tang Collection. New York, 17 mars 2015, 11:00 AM



A large sky-blue 'Jun' bowl, Northern Song - Jin dynasty

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A large sky-blue 'Jun' bowl, Northern Song - Jin dynasty. Estimate 120,000 — 150,000 USD. Photo Sotheby's.

superbly potted rising from a short straight foot to deep rounded sides, applied overall with a rich glaze of milky lavender blue suffused with a pale crackle and thinning to mushroom at the rim, the glaze stopping irregularly just short of the foot. Diameter 8 3/4  in., 22.2 cm

LiteratureChugoku meito ten: Chugoku toji 2000-nen no seika [Exhibition of Chinese Pottery: Two Thousand Years of Chinese Ceramics], Tokyo, 1992, no. 42. 

NotesJun bowl of related form and size discovered in 1963 at Huangzhuang, Henan province and now in the Henan Provincial Museum, is published in Zhongguo taoci quanji [Complete series on Chinese Ceramics], Shanghai, 1999-2000, vol. 7, pl. 186.  See two other related bowls in the Meiyintang Collection, one illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, vol. 1, 1994, no. 387, and the other in, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, vol. 3, 2006, no. 1461.

Jun ware is included as one of the ‘Five Classic Wares’ (wu da yao) of the Song dynasty, and derives its name from the kiln near Juntai terrace within the north gate of the Yuzhou prefecture in Henan province, where they were produced from the end of the Northern Song period (960-1127) to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Much admired for the beauty of its glaze which varies from a thick opaque sky blue to brilliant mauves, lavenders and purple, it was discovered in the 1970s that the blue tone was not created by pigments but was actually an optical effect. During firing the glaze would separate into light-refracting droplets of glass and when light passed through the blue spectrum of light was reflected to achieve its bluish hue.

Sotheby's. Song Tradition: Early Ceramics from the Yang De Tang Collection. New York, 17 mars 2015, 11:00 AM 

A large 'Jun' mallow-shaped dish, Song dynasty

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A large 'Jun' mallow-shaped dish, Song dynasty. Estimate 60,000 — 80,000 USD. Photo Sotheby's. 

the shallow rounded sides indented to form ten-petaled lobes, covered allover with an opaque pale blue glaze thinning to mushroom on the ribs and the rim, the base with five spur marks revealing the gray body. Diameter 10 1/4  in., 26 cm

NotesThis dish is an outstandingly fine and rare example of Jun ware for its large size and delicate shape which is covered in a fine pale blue glaze. With its thin carefully potted body and luminous translucent glaze, which required spurs for firing, it better resembles the fine imperial Ru and 'guan' wares than the more common heavily-potted and glazed wares in the Jun kilns. Notably there are more extant examples of Ru ware than Jun vessels of this type which suggests that it is a particularly exceptional example of Jun, perhaps made in direct emulation or in competition with Ru.

A dish of closely related form, but of smaller size, from the collections of Lord Cunliffe and Prof and Mrs. P.H. Plesch, was sold in our London rooms, 12th July 2006, lot 39. Compare dishes of this type but with varying numbers of petals, such as a smaller eight-lobed example, in the Palace Museum, Beijing,  illustrated in Selection of Jun Ware. The Palace Museum’s Collection and Archaeological Excavation, Beijing, 2013, pl. 13; and another with eight petals, from the Sir Percival David collection and now in the British Museum, London, published in Illustrated Catalogue of Ru, Guan, Jun, Guangdong and Yixing Wares in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1999, no. A4, col. pl. 35, together with another, no. A5; slightly smaller six-lobed dish, included in the exhibition Song. Chinese Ceramics 10th to 13th Century (pt. 3), Eskenazi, New York, 2007, cat. no. 3; and a five-lobed dish of similar size, from the Eumorfopoulos collection, shown in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Art, London, 1935, cat. no. 1093, and sold in our London rooms, 29th May 1940, lot 178.

Sotheby's. Song Tradition: Early Ceramics from the Yang De Tang Collection. New York, 17 mars 2015, 11:00 AM

A large 'Jun' dish, Song dynasty

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A large 'Jun' dish, Song dynasty. Estimate 60,000 — 80,000 USD. Photo Sotheby's.

the shallow rounded sides rising from a slightly recessed base to a lipped rim, covered overall in a thick lavender-blue glaze thinning at the rim to a light gray color, the glazed base with five spur marks - Diameter 10 1/2  in., 26.7 cm

LiteratureChugoku meito ten: Chugoku toji 2000-nen no seika [Exhibition of Chinese Pottery: Two Thousand Years of Chinese Ceramics], Tokyo, 1992, no. 41.

NotesJun dishes of this large size are quite rare.  See a closely related Junyao dish of identical size illustrated in Mayuyama, Seventy Years, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1976, pl. 392; and another, formerly in the Collection of the T.Y. Chao Family Trust (no. 100), sold in our London rooms, 17th November 1999, lot 854. 

Sotheby's. Song Tradition: Early Ceramics from the Yang De Tang Collection. New York, 17 mars 2015, 11:00 AM

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Largest overview presentation of Louise Bourgeois' Cell series opens at Haus der Kunst

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Louise Bourgeois, Spider, 1997 (detail), installation view (Bordeaux), Collection The Easton Foundation, photo Frédéric Delpech © The Easton Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

MUNICH.- Over her long career as an artist, Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) developed concepts and formal inventions that later became key positions in contemporary art; these included the use of environmental installation and theatrical formats, and the engagement with psychoanalytic and feminist themes. Both her distinctive sculptural forms and her outstanding drawings and graphic works are second to none. Among the most innovative and sophisticated sculptural works in her extensive Œuvre are the Cells, a series of architectural spaces that deal with a range of emotions. Created over a span of two decades, the Cell series presents individual microcosms: each Cell is an enclosure that separates the internal world from the external world. In these unique spaces, the artist composes found objects, clothes, fabric, furniture and distinctive sculptures into emotionally charged, theatrical sets. 

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Louise Bourgeois, Cell (You Better Grow Up), 1993 (detail), The Rachofsky Collection, Dallas, photo Peter Bellamy © The Easton Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

If one includes the five precursor works to the Cells that first emerged in 1986 with "Articulated Lair", Louise Bourgeois created a total of 62 Cells over the course of her career. Two of these precursors and 30 Cells are presented in Haus der Kunst. The exhibition, planned and organized by Haus der Kunst in collaboration with international partner institutions, is the largest overview presentation of this body of work to date. 

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Louise Bourgeois, Red Room (Child), 1994 (detail), Collection Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal, photo Marcus Leith © The Easton Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

Cells I to VI, first shown in 1991 at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, are reunited in the Haus der Kunst's installation for the first time. The term ‘Cell' originated during the preparations for the Carnegie exhibition. For Bourgeois, the term had many connotations, referencing both the biological cell of a living organism and the isolation of a prison or monastic cell. Three years later, in 1994, the artist created her first spider sculpture. Although Louise Bourgeois was already over 80 years old at the time, she succeeded, once again, in reinventing her working methods. The artist then created some of her greatest works, aided by the acquisition in 1980 of her first large studio. Before this she had worked in a townhouse in Chelsea, where the width of the rooms, barely more than four meters, determined for the most part the dimensions of her sculptures. Her new studio in Brooklyn paved the way for large-scale works. 

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Louise Bourgeois, In and Out, 1995 (detail), photo Christopher Burke © The Easton Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

The Brooklyn studio also provided Louise Bourgeois with a wealth of new raw materials. Objects from the surrounding neighborhood and from the artist's private life are integrated into Cells: steel shelves from a sewing factory (Articulated Lair, 1986), a water tank taken from the roof (Precious Liquids, 1992). When she finally had to vacate the Brooklyn studio in 2005, she kept and later incorporated its spiral staircase into one of her last Cells (Cell (The Last Climb), 2008).

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Louise Bourgeois, Spider, 1997 (detail), installation view (Madrid), Collection The Easton Foundation, photo Frédéric Delpech © The Easton Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

The entire Cell series revolves around the desire to simultaneously remember and forget. "You have to tell your story and you have to forget your story. You forget and forgive. It liberates you," Louise Bourgeois once claimed. She has described her sculptures from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s as an attempt to summon together all the people she missed. Bourgeois created her first environmental installation with these Personages, carefully arranging them to stand upright, directly from the floor, and thereby allowing the viewer to walk amongst them. In this sense, the Personages can be regarded as a kind of family constellation, her recreation of the past a form of exorcism. The Cells also contain references to individuals and past experiences. Thus, the needles, thread and spindles incorporated in the Cells allude to the artist's childhood and her parents' work - her mother restored valuable tapestries. The Cells also tell of abandonment, betrayal and loss. The Bourgeois family unit was subject to great strain: Louise's father betrayed her mother by having an affair with the family au pair Sadie, who lived in the family home for almost a decade. Further, in a reversal of roles, Louise nursed her mother, who had influenza. When she began coughing up blood, Louise was asked to help hide her illness from her husband. Louise soon became entangled in a web of conflicting emotions: admiration and solidarity, anger and powerlessness.

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Louise Bourgeois, Cell II, 1991 (detail), Collection Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, photo Peter Bellamy © The Easton Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

The artist established the connection between her work and the processing of her personal traumas. In 1982, she created an illustrated autobiographical text for Artforum about her traumatic childhood experiences. In the same period, the Museum of Modern Art in New York honored the artist, who was already 70 years old, with a retrospective. It was the first time the museum had dedicated a retrospective exhibition to a woman. 

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Louise Bourgeois, Cell XXVI, 2003, photo Christopher Burke © The Easton Foundation / Licensed by VG Bild-Kunst

As a new sculptural category, Louise Bourgeois's Cells "occupy a place somewhere between museum panoramic, theatrical staging, environment, installation, and sculpture, which, in this form and quantity, is without precedent in the history of art" (Julienne Lorz). The Haus der Kunst is pleased to present such an extraordinary body of work.

The exhibition is organized by Haus der Kunst and curated by Julienne Lorz. EXHIBITION 27.02 – 02.08.15

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Louise Bourgeois, Cell VI, 1991, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth and Cheim & Read, photo Christopher Burke © The Easton Foundation / Licensed by VG Bild-Kunst

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Louise Bourgeois, Cell (The Last Climb), 2008, Collection National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, photo Christopher Burke © The Easton Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

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Louise Bourgeois, RED ROOM (PARENTS), 1994 (detail), Private Collection, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, photo Peter Bellamy © The Easton Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, 2015

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Louise Bourgeois, Red Room (Child), 1994, Collection Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal, photo Marcus Leith © The Easton Foundation / Licensed by VG Bild-Kunst

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Louise Bourgeois, Ventouse, 1990 © The Easton Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

A rare inscribed famille rose and doucai moonflask, Qianlong period (1736-1795)

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A rare inscribed famille rose and doucai moonflask, Qianlong period (1736-1795)Estimate $150,000 – $200,000. Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015

The flattened, circular body is decorated in famille rose enamels on one side with a circular panel enclosing blossoming peony and chrysanthemum beneath a flowering osmanthus tree, and on the other side with another panel enclosing a lengthy poetic inscription in kaishu describing the autumnal scene and ending with the characters Qian and Long, all reserved on a decorative ground of doucai lotus scroll and iron-red bats that continues onto the neck which has a ruyi-head border at the mouth rim and is flanked by a pair of arched ruyi scepter handles. 12 ½ in. (31.7 cm.) high, box

ProvenanceSotheby's London, 14 November 2001, lot 116.

NotesFamille rose enamels were first incorporated into the doucai palette during the Yongzheng period, their range of transparent, translucent and opaque colors, stand in strong contrast to the cobalt-blue contours of the doucaidecoration, creating an unprecedented visual interplay both rich in color and texture. 

During the Qianlong period, the production of doucai wares was taken to new heights, bringing more elaborate designs that required exceptionally high standards of painting and enameling. The present vase testifies to such technical dexterity and artistic sophistication. The outlines of the scrolling doucai borders had to be meticulously painted in underglaze blue to create a complex but well-balanced composition, which compliments the famille rose-decorated central panel, endowing the colorful and much textured scene with resplendence. 

The present vase belongs to a small group of vessels featuring this combination of techniques and alternation floral decoration and poetic inscriptions. A virtually identical moonflask of this design featuring the same inscription was sold at Sotheby's London, 16 June 1998, lot 289. Other examples from this group include a tall doucai and famille rosevase with alternating panels of poetic inscriptions and floral branches in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated by Yeh Pei-Lang, Gems of the Doucai, Taiwan, 1993, p. 106, pl. 113. Like the present example, the Palace Museum vase features elaborate handles decorated in bright famille rose enamels. Also illustrated, p. 109, pl. 116, is another Qianlongdoucai moonflask decorated with landscape scenes, but with similar floral scroll bands on the narrow sides and neck. 

Christie’s. FINE CHINESE CERAMICS AND WORKS OF ART, 15 - 16 March 2015, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

 



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