Zheng Xie (1693-1765), Calligraphy in Running Script, 1750 (detail). Ink on paper, mounted, framed and glazed, dated Qianlong gengwu（1750), 68 x 38 1/2in (172.2 x 97.8cm). US$60,000-90,000. Photo: Bonhams
NEW YORK, NY.- On September 12, Bonhams New York will hold its inaugural Chinese painting and calligraphy auction featuring a selection of excellent examples spanning the 14th century to 2005. Comprised of over one hundred works on paper and silk the sale will commence with a number of early classical treasures.
Opening for preview on September 8, collectors and connoisseurs will be enjoy a charming fan painting of a buffalo and calf datable to the fourteenth century (pre-sale estimate $12,000-15,000),
a depiction of Bamboo and Rock dated 1695 by the early Qing dynasty orthodox master Wang Yuanqi (1642-1715). Ink on paper, hanging scroll, inscribed and dated Yihai(1695), signed Lutai Qi, followed by three rectangular seals of the artist reading Wang Yuanqi Yin, Lu Tai and Guqizhai, with seven collectors' seals, and a collector's inscription reading Dan yu cang. 28 3/4 x 16in (72.8 x 40.6cm) (pre-sale estimate $250,000-350,000). Photo Bonhams.
Published: Suzuki Kei, comp. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku: Daiikkan, Amerika-Kananda hen (Comprehensive illustrated catalogue of Chinese paintings: Volume 1, American and Canadian collections)， Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1982, A48-5.
Yao Song (18th century) & Cheng Tang (18th century), Landscapes. Ink and light color on paper, three album leaves by Yao Song, one with a poetic inscription, followed by three rectangular relief seals of the artist reading Yao Song repeated once and Yemou, together with one album leaf by Cheng Tang, with a poetic inscription, followed by one rectangular relief seal of the artist reading Yuhu. The three Yao Song leaves 9 x 7 1/2in (22.86 x 19cm) each, the Cheng Tang 7 3/4 x 10 1/2in (19.7 x 26.7cm) (pre-sale estimate $10,000-15,000). Photo Bonhams
Yao Song was a follower of Hongren (1610-1644) and a member of the Anhui School (Xin'an pai) of painting.
Cheng Tang, who used the zi Yuhu, was also a Xin'an school artist active in the 18th century, however his landscapes were influenced by the paintings of Shen Zhou.
as well as, a sublime depiction of Guanyin by a Lotus Pond datable to the second half of the 17th century, but based on a 16th century composition that has been in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since 1918. Ink and color on silk, mounted and framed. 108 x 63 1/4in (274 x 161cm) (pre-sale estimate $120,000-180,000). Photo Bonhams
Provenance: Christopher Buckner Asian Art Gallery, London, 2005
formerly in a private French collection
Published: Christopher Bruckner Asian Art Gallery Chinese Imperial Patronage Treasures From Temples and Palaces London, 2005. Cat. 13
Likely to date from the second half of the seventeenth century, this sublime depiction of Guanyin of the South Sea (Nanhai Guanyin) is nearly identical to a composition created in 1593 on the commission of Empress Dowager Li Cisheng, the mother of the Wanli Emperor (reigned 1573-1619) and a generous imperial patron of Buddhist imagery in the late Ming Dynasty. The earlier example--acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1918--has been interpreted as the celebration of two miraculous events that occurred in 1586 and 1587 and as a conveyance of both an imperial and Buddhist message.
The current lot, over twice as large as the earlier Metropolitan example, depicts a bejeweled Guanyin leaning over an ornate balustrade above a blossoming lotus pond. The boy pilgrim Shancai stands on a lotus leaf in adoration below, and behind the principal figure a white parrot is perched on a magnificently contorted garden rock, as bamboo winds its way through the stone's perforations. The implications of reading the garden rock as a mountainous landscape--in this case Putuo, the home of Nanhai Guanyin--is further enforced by the surreal multicolor clouds that hover at the top of the composition and endow the scene with an otherworldly demeanor.
Although the same composition was also carved into stone and set up at Beijing's Sheng'an Monastery four years earlier in 1589, it is likely the artist of the current composition was working from the 1593 Metropolitan example due to the resemblance of the subtler details that are not evident from the stone carving or the rubbings. That said, the current lot differs from the 1593 example at several points. Shancai is somewhat larger; the treatment of the wood grain on the baluster appears more pronounced and naturalistic; and greater attention is paid to Guanyin's robe, not only in the floral collar, but in the depiction of the gauze, which not only exposes the jeweled arm of the goddess, but her hand that holds a rosary.
For a discussion on the Metropolitan example， see: Marsha Weidner, "Imperial Engagements with Buddhist Art and Architecture" in Cultural Intersections in Later Chinese Buddhism, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2001, pp 128-129; and Marsha Weidner ed., Latter Days of the Law, Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas, 1994, cat. no 47.
A majority of the works of art offered in the sale are fresh to the market, coming from collections of legendary figures as Walter Hochstadter, Senator Theodore Francis Green, and C. C. Wang. There are several strong calligraphic works featured in the sale, including: Qing dynasty masters such as Zheng Xie (1693-1765) (pre-sale estimate $60,000-90,000) (top),
Chen Hongshou (1768-1822), Calligraphic Couplet in Clerical Script. Ink on gold-flecked paper, couplet mounted as hanging scrolls, inscribed with a dedication to Liangqi and signedYounger Brother Chen Hongshou followed by two rectangular relief seals of the artist reading Mansheng and Chen Hongshou yin. 67 3/4 x 12 1/2in (172 x 32cm) each scroll. (pre-sale estimate $3,000-5,000). Photo Bonhams
He Shaoji (1799-1873), Calligraphic Couplet. Ink on gold-flecked paper, couplet of calligraphy in running script, pair of hanging scrolls, inscribed, dedicated and signedHe Shaoji, followed by two rectangular relief seals of the artist reading He Shaoji yin and Zizhen. 51 3/4 x 12in (131.4 x 30.5cm) each scroll (pre-sale estimate $5,000-7,000). Photo Bonhams
20th century artists are also on offer such as Qi Gong (1912-2005) (pre-sale estimate $8,000-12,000) and Guo Morou (1892-1978) (pre-sale estimate $5,000-7,000).
Following recent market trends, 20th century painting masters working in traditional styles will attract a great deal of attention, notably Qi Baishi (1863-1957) Kingfisher and Hibiscus. Ink and color on paper, hanging scroll, inscribed Jiping Tangshang Laoren Qi Baishi Hua Yu Jinghua, with one square relief seal of the artist reading Muren, and one collector's seal on the painting reading Zhongying Canghua（2） and seven collectors' seals on the mounting reading Zhongying Canghua, Zhongying Jianbao（2）,Huaxia Zhongyuan Renye, Cao and Hou Huainan. 50 1/4 x 13in (127.6 x 33cm) (pre-sale estimate $20,000-30,000). Photo Bonhams
Li Keran's (1907-1989) Boy and Buffalo. Ink and color on paper, mounted for framing, with a dedication to the artist Yu Zhizhen (1915-1995), dated guihai (1983) with four seals of the artist, reading Ri Xin, Li, Ruzi Niu, andKeran (inverted). 27 x 16 1/4in (68.9 x 41.3cm) (pre-sale estimate $30,000-50,000) with a personal dedication to his fellow artist Yu Zhizhen (1915-1995). Photo Bonhams
and a Zhang Daqian's (1899-1983) Cabbage, Mushrooms, and Raddish, 1961. Ink and color on paper, framed, inscribed and dated xinchou(1961), signed Zhang Daqian Yuan, followed by one rectangular relief seal of the artist reading Zhang Daqian Changnian Daji You Rili. 39 3/4 x 19 1/4in (101 x 49cm) (pre-sale estimate $50,000-70,000) (photo Bonhams), composition from 1961, which was published and included in an exhibition of contemporary Chinese painting that toured the United States in 1970-1971.
Other highlights of the sale are a Cheng Shifa (1921-2007) album that is believed to be one of his last works (pre-sale estimate $100,000-120,000),
Cheng Shifa (1921-2007). Spring Festival Album, 2005. Ink and color on paper, album of eleven double leaves, each leaf inscribed and signed, followed by artist's seals on each leaf. 22 x 16 1/2in (55.9 x 41.9cm) each leaf. US$100,000-120,000. Photo: Bonhams.
and an abstract landscape by the innovative master Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010) (pre-sale est. $20,000-30,000).
Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010), Abstract Composition, 1993. Ink and color on paper, mounted for framing, signed Wu Guanzhong and dated 1993, with one rectangular relief seal of the artist reading Tu. 19 x 19 1/4in (48.3 x 48.9cm). Photo Bonhams
The subject of the recent exhibition Revolutionary Ink: the Paintings of Wu Guanzhong at Asia Society, New York (co-organized with the Shanghai Museum of Art), Wu Guanzhong continues to be studied and acknowledged as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. The current lot is an excellent example of his abstracted landscapes created after 1990. Composed of harmoniously proportioned shapes which create a dense, dynamic pattern, the painting reveals the artist's innovative palette which includes vivid yellow, bright green, deep russet, and even purple and orange.