Alain.R.Truong

28 février 2015

A small blue and white 'Auspicious Characters' bowl, Wanli period, dated 1617

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A small blue and white 'Auspicious Characters' bowl, Wanli period, dated 1617Estimate $4,000 – $6,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

The bowl is decorated on the exterior with four auspicious characters reading fu shou kang ning ('good fortune, longevity, health and peace´) within star-shaped panels formed by overlapping squares, surrounded by a leafy floral scroll and beneath a floret cell-diaper band. The interior is decorated with a central lotus medallion beneath a wide band of a cockscomb vine and a further cell-diaper band. The base bears a four-character cyclical date dingsi nian zao('made in the year of dingsi´) corresponding to 1617. A later-carved character, zheng, is in the interior, and another,bi, is on the exterior near the foot. 4 3/8 in. (11 cm.) diam. 

Provenance:  Heirloom & Howard, Ltd., London, 1985.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.

Christie's. AN ERA OF INSPIRATION: 17TH-CENTURY CHINESE PORCELAINS FROM THE COLLECTION OF JULIA AND JOHN CURTIS, 16 March 2015, New York, Rockefeller Plaza.


A molded blue and white 'Kraak porselein' dish, late Ming dynasty, circa 1610-1630

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A molded blue and white 'Kraak porselein' dish, late Ming dynasty, circa 1610-1630. Estimate $4,000 – $6,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

The dish has a bracket-lobed rim and is finely decorated in vibrant tones of cobalt blue with a central scene of a duck in a lotus pond enclosed by radiating lappets containing floral groupings and flying insects. The reverse is decorated with similar lappets and a small 'egret' mark on the base. 8 ½ in. (21.6 cm.)

Provenance:  Blitz Antiek, Amsterdam, 1989.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.

LiteratureMaura Rinaldi, Kraak Porcelain, A Moment in the History of Trade, London, 1989, p. 203, pl. h.
Julia B. Curtis, Trade Taste & Transformation: Jingdezhen Porcelain for Japan, 1620-1645, New York, 2006, p. 21, fig. 4.

NotesIn her book Kraak Porcelain, A Moment in the History of Trade (London, 1989, p. 195), Maura Rinaldi classifies 45 known pieces of kraak porcelain with the 'egret’ mark, all of which were most likely produced in the same kiln. The author notes that this mark appears almost exclusively on kraak wares, and specifically those of above-average quality. This group, 'Border IV', in which this dish is classified, exhibits the greatest diversity of subjects in the central scene.

Another dish from this group with a central scene of birds in a garden was sold at Christie’s Amsterdam, 11-13 December 2012, lot 490, and another with an unusual scene of a horse was also sold at Christie’s Amsterdam, 20-21 May 2008, lot 9.

Christie's. AN ERA OF INSPIRATION: 17TH-CENTURY CHINESE PORCELAINS FROM THE COLLECTION OF JULIA AND JOHN CURTIS, 16 March 2015, New York, Rockefeller Plaza.

A blue and white conical bowl, Shunzhi period (1644-1661)

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A blue and white conical bowl, Shunzhi period (1644-1661). Estimate $4,000 – $6,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

The bowl is decorated on the exterior with a continuous, dense leafy grapevine beneath the brown-dressed rim. The interior is decorated with a narrow leafy scroll band and a central medallion containing two peaches. The base is inscribed with an apocryphal Jiajing mark. 6 ¾ in. (17.1 cm.) diam.

ProvenanceS. Marchant & Son, Ltd., London, 1982.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.

Notes: A blue and white brush pot with similar grapevine band, from the Butler Family Collection and dating to the Shunzhi period, is illustrated by Michael Butler, Julia B. Curtis and Stephen Little in Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, Alexandria, VA, 2002, p. 141, no. 32, where Sir Michael Butler comments that, “It is also worth noting the painting of the vine leaves: the spine of the leaf stands out against the center which is left plain, is typical of the Shunzhi era.” 

Christie's. AN ERA OF INSPIRATION: 17TH-CENTURY CHINESE PORCELAINS FROM THE COLLECTION OF JULIA AND JOHN CURTIS, 16 March 2015, New York, Rockefeller Plaza.

A blue and white shallow bowl, Early Kangxi period, circa 1662-1670

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A blue and white shallow bowl, Early Kangxi period, circa 1662-1670Estimate $5,000 – $7,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

The shallow bowl, raised on a narrow foot, is decorated in a penciled style with a mountainside scene of Kublai Khan seated in a curtained tent as Yao Li Shi and Xie Du kneel before him. The base bears an apocryphal Jiajing mark. 6 ¾ in. (17.1 cm.) diam.

ProvenanceAnthony Gray, London, 1987.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis. 

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Detail.

Notes: Despite the reckless behavior exhibited by heroines of some stories, such as that of Cui Yingying in Xixiang ji, there appears to have been a particular concern regarding female virtue amongst the literati in the late Ming period. This concern was probably the catalyst for the publication of a reprint in the Wanli reign of Biographies of Exemplary Women (Lienü zhuan), which was originally compiled by the Han dynasty scholar Liu Xiang (77-6 BC), but was added to thereafter (see Lienü zhuan, volume 12, chapter 29). The illustrations for the Wanli edition were created by the famous artist Qiu Ying (AD 1494? –1552), who is regarded as one of the Four Masters of the Ming dynastyThis publication almost certainly inspired the decoration on this early Kangxi blue and white bowl. The decoration on this bowl shows Yao li Shi and Xie Du, the eldest son of Yelü Liuge, petitioning Shizu (Kublai Khan) (fig. 1)

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Fig. 1: Woodblock illustration to Zhongguo gudai jianzhu da tudian (Illustrations of Ancient Chinese Architecture), vol. 2, Beijing, 1996, pp. 1648-9.

Yao Li Shi was the second wife of Yelü Liuge (1165-1220), a Qidan aristocrat who eventually changed sides and pledged himself to the Mongols, sending his eldest son to Kublai Khan as a gesture of good faith. When Yelü Liuge died his second son, the child of his second wife, Yao Li Shi, would thus have inherited the title. Even though this was to the detriment of her own son, Yao Li Shi felt that the traditional requirement of the eldest son inheriting his father’s title should be upheld and in 1226 she went in person to petition Kublai Khan to release the eldest son in order for him to inherit. The Khan would not agree, saying that he required the eldest son to accompany him, and that the second son should inherit. Yao li Shi nevertheless refused the inheritance on behalf of her son, and Kublai Khan was impressed by her virtuous intent.

Christie's. AN ERA OF INSPIRATION: 17TH-CENTURY CHINESE PORCELAINS FROM THE COLLECTION OF JULIA AND JOHN CURTIS, 16 March 2015, New York, Rockefeller Plaza.

“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 



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