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A pair of 17th century Huanghuali High Yoke-backed armchairs with a presale estimate of $60,000-90,000. Photo Grogan and Company

DEDHAM, MA.- Grogan and Company Fine Art Auctioneers and Appraisers announces their December Auction will be held on Sunday, December 11th, 2011 at 12:00 noon. The 400 lot auction will be comprised of a Fine Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture, Chinese Decorative Works of Art and Textiles; American and European Paintings, Drawings, Prints and Sculpture; and Oriental Rugs and Carpets.

The auction will begin with more than 200 lots of Chinese Furniture, Works of Art, Textiles and Scroll Paintings. Highlights of this varied collection of Chinese works of art include an important collection of classic Chinese furniture consigned by J. Malcolm Swenson of Hanover New Hampshire. Mr. Swenson developed a keen interest in Chinese culture and design in the 1970’s while serving as an advisor to the Chinese government on China’s construction and development. Following his work in supplying and installing the granite walls for China’s United Nations Mission Building, Swenson continued to consult as a “foreign expert” on the technical advancement of China’s building projects. While living in China, Swenson collected Chinese rugs, scholar’s objects and furniture with the assistance of Mr. Cui Wei Lian, a director of the Beijing Hardwood Furniture Factory.

Much of Mr. Swenson’s collection was exhibited at the Kimball-Jenkins Estate in Concord, New Hampshire in 2004. Highlights of the Swenson Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture includes a Pair of 17th century Huanghuali High Yoke-backed Armchairs with a presale estimate of $60,000-90,000; a Pair of 17th/18th century Huanghuali Woven Seat Folding Stools, estimated at $40,000-60,000; an 18th century Huanghuali Corner Leg Table, estimated at $40,000-60,000 and an “Official's Hat” Armchair, estimated to bring $20,000-30,000.

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Pair of Huanghuali High Yoke-backed armchairs, 17th century. Photo Grogan and Company

height: 47 inches; width: 22 1/4 inches; depth: 18 1/2inches. Condition: two old, small repairs. Estimate $60,000-90,000


Provenance: The Beijing Hardwood Furniture Factory;
The J. Malcolm Swenson Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture

Mr. Swenson of Hanover, New Hampshire, developed a keen interest in Chinese culture and design in the 1970's, while serving as an advisor to the Chinese Government on China's construction and development. Following his work supplying and installing the granite walls for China's U. N. Mission Building in New York, in 1972, Mr. Swenson went to China as a Foreign Expert, to cooperate in advancing China's stone technology and exports. In 1979 he co-authored a study of Chinese construction materials and practices, in conjunction with work in Beijing. While living in China, Mr. Swenson began collecting Chinese rugs, scholar's objects and classic furniture. In his pursuit, he was assisted by several friends, including Mr. Cui Wei Lian, a friend from his early days in China and a Director of the Beijing Hardwood Furniture Factory. Much of Mr. Swenson's collection was exhibited at the Kimball-Jenkins Estate in Concord, New Hampshire in 2004. The accompanying exhibition catalogue, Chinese Classic Furniture featured comments by Professor Thomas Bartlett and Lark E. Mason, Jr.

Exhibitions: Chinese Classical Furniture, The Kimball-Jenkins Estate, Concord, New Hampshire, 2004, plate #2

Literature: Similar Reference: Chinese Furniture, Robert Ellsworth, plate #10;
Classic Chinese Furniture a lecture given by Laurence Sackman, Oriental Ceramic Society, June 21, 1978, plate 3D;

Other Notes: Lark E. Mason, Jr. describes this pair of chairs in his introduction to the catalogue for the 2004 Kimball-Jenkins Chinese Classical Furniture exhibition. ".....The dominant characteristic of Chinese furniture [as shown in the chairs, No. 2] is the emphasis upon an economy of line and the practicality of the forms. There is a harmony of line and quality of craftsmanship in the best pieces that transcends culture and time...The sophisticated engineering of these chairs is typical of Chinese furniture construction with an economical use of material, allowing the form to be light, and incredibly strong..." Published here with the permission of the Chinese Furniture Research Institute, LLC.

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Pair of Huanghuali Woven Seat Folding Stools, 17th-18th century. Photo Grogan and Company

height: 20 inches; width: 22 3/4 inches; depth: 17 1/4 inches . Condition: bases have been replaced and some brasses possibly replaced. Estimate $40,000-60,000

Provenance: Mr. Cui Wei Lian, Beijing
The J. Malcolm Swenson Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture

Exhibitions: Chinese Classical Furniture, The Kimball-Jenkins Estate, Concord, New Hampshire, 2004, plate #5

Literature: Similar Reference: The Journal of the Classical Chinese Furniture Society, summer 1994; The Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture, Wang Shi Xiang, volume II, plate A41

Other Notes: Mr. Cui was director of The Beijing Hardwood Furniture Factory.

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Huanghuali Corner Leg Table, 18th century. Photo Grogan and Company

height: 31 3/4 inches; width: 58 1/4 inches; depth: 19 inches. Condition: minor restoration and minor wear to top Photo Grogan and Company surface. Estimate $40,000-60,000

Provenance: The J. Malcolm Swenson Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture

Exhibitions: Chinese Classical Furniture, The Kimball-Jenkins Estate, Concord, New Hampshire, 2004, plate #24

Literature: Similar Reference: Ming Furniture in the Light of Chinese Architecture, Sarah Handler, pages #57 and #75;
Chinese Household Furniture, George N. Kates, plate #38

Other Notes: A similar table was exhibited in the reconstruction of a 17th Century Scholar's Studio at the Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C.; Another similar example appears in an illustration of the drama "Yu Zan Ji (The Jade Hairpin)" published during the Wan Li Emperor period

 In addition to these Fine Classic examples of Chinese furniture, the auction will include examples of “Vernacular” furniture from a Maine Collector. “Vernacular” furniture was made for and utilized by the general populace of China as opposed to “Fine Classic” furniture which was made for the more prosperous classes. Examples of “Vernacular” furniture include a Pair of Elmwood and Black Lacquer Armchairs, estimated at $2,500-3,500 and an Elmwood and Brown Lacquer Long table, estimate at $4,500-6,500. Both lots were exhibited at the Peabody-Essex Museum’s “Friends of the House: Furniture from China’s Towns and Villages” Exhibition held in 1996 and were formerly in the collection of the renowned 20th century Chinese artist, Zeng Xiaojun.

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Pair of Chinese Elmwood and Black and Red Lacquer Horseshoe Back Armchairs. Photo Grogan and Company

height: 36 1/2 inches; width: 29 inches. Estimate $2,500-3,500

Provenance: Chinese artist, Zeng Xiaojun, Beijing;
Property of a Maine Collector;

Exhibitions: " Friends of the House: Furniture from China's Towns and Villages", Peabody-Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, 1995

Literature: Exhibition catalogue for Peabody-Essex Museum "Friends of the House: Furniture from China's Towns and Villages" exhibit; Nancy Berliner and Sarah Handler, plate #17, pp. 70-71

Other Notes: Zeng Xiaojun was born in Beijing in 1954, attended the Central Art and Craft Academy of Beijing, graduated in 1981 and moved to Boston in 1983. In 1997 he returned to Beijing where he now lives and works. An avid collector of Ming and Qing furniture as well as scholar's objects, Xiaojun, was one of the ten artists who participated in "Fresh Ink: Ten Takes on Chinese Tradition", at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, November 2010-February 2011. He is praised by Robert D. Mowry, Curator of Chinese Art at Harvard Art Museum as being "one of two best-known and most important contemporary ink painters active in China today".

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Chinese Elmwood and Brown Lacquer side table, 18th century. Photo Grogan and Company

height: 34 inches; length: 64 inches; depth: 12 1/2 inches  Estimate $4,500-6,500

Provenance: Property of a Maine Collector;
Chinese artist, Zeng Xiaojun, Beijing

Exhibitions: " Friends of the House: Furniture from China's Towns and Villages", Peabody-Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, 1995

Literature: Exhibition catalogue for Peabody-Essex Museum "Friends of the House: Furniture from China's Towns and Villages" exhibit; Nancy Berliner and Sarah Handler, plate #33, pp. 104-105 and 35; this table is described as an "extraordinary corner leg side table...[it's] legs carved with grimacing animal heads below the stretcher and shaped into surprising forms, resembling those of a hoofed animal but with claws..."

Other Notes: Zeng Xiaojun was born in Beijing in 1954, attended the Central Art and Craft Academy of Beijing, graduated in 1981 and moved to Boston in 1983. In 1997 he returned to Beijing where he now lives and works. An avid collector of Ming and Qing furniture as well as scholar's objects, Xiaojun, was one of the ten artists who participated in "Fresh Ink: Ten Takes on Chinese Tradition", at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, November 2010-February 2011. He is praised by Robert D. Mowry, Curator of Chinese Art at Harvard Art Museum as being "one of two best-known and most important contemporary ink painters active in China today".