San Francisco - Two important paintings and a couplet by renowned artist Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) will headline the June 23 auction of Fine Chinese Works of Art and Paintings to be held at Bonhams in San Francisco. The Splashed-Ink Autumn Landscape, dated 1965, and titled "Qiu Shan Xiao Si" ("Buddhist Temple in Autumn Mountain") (est. $180,000-250,000) and a monumental landscape Mountain Retreat Among Clouds and Streams, dated 1972 (est. $150,000-250,000) were purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Hal Louchheim in the mid-1970s from the Erickson Gallery of Palo Alto, Calif., during the period when the artist lived in Carmel, Calif., and have been with the owners since the date of purchase. These fine paintings, and a couplet of calligraphy painted by Zhang Daqian for the Chinese Industrialist Song Feiqing (1899-1955) (est. $40,000-60,000) from his family's collection are part of 83 lots of Chinese paintings to be offered in this 400-lot auction, which features works of art and paintings from private collections, institutions and estates throughout the United States.
Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), Splashed-Ink Autumn Landscape, 1965. Estimate US$ 180,000 - 250,000 (€160,000 - 220,000). Photo Bonhams.
Ink and color on gold cardboard, mounted, framed and glazed, at the left inscribed with the title Qiu Shan Xiao Si(Buddhist Temple in Autumn Mountain) and signed Yuan Weng with two artist's seals reading Daqian and yisi (1965), on the verso inscribed di jiu Qiu Shan Xiao Si. 23 1/4 x 17 1/2in (59 x 44.5cm)
Provenance: Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Hal Louchheim, purchased from Erickson Gallery, Palo Alto, California in the mid-1970s
Note: The present lot is likely one of several splashed-ink landscapes created by Zhang Daqian in 1965 (see Chang Dai-chien in California, San Francisco: San Francisco State University, 1999, catalog 12, pp. 64-65, and Sotheby's Hong Kong, 6 April 2015, lots 1228-1229). Inscribed by the artist with the title Qiu Shan Siao Si, or "Buddhist Temple in Autumn Mountain," this painting's subject is particularly treasured by Zhang - in 1940 Zhang had created an earlierSiu Shan Xiao Si in ink, stating in that inscription that it was painted in homage to the Yuan Master Wang Meng's work of the same title. Throughout his lifetime, Zhang Daqian admired the paintings of Wang Meng (1308-1385). According to the renowned scholar Fu Shen, "...among Yuan dynasty painters, the one most suited to the personality and tendencies of Zhang Daqian was Wang Meng. Zhang liked Wang Meng the best; his collection was richest in works by Wang Meng. Zhang made the strongest effort in studying Wang Meng, and he benefited the most from Wang Meng." (Translated from Fu Shen, Zhang Daqian xue shu lun wen ji, Taipei: National Museum of History, 1994, p. 176.) The present lot shows Zhang Daqian splashing multiple layers of ink and color to create the painting's richness and depth, recalling the dense brushwork and complex composition of Wang Meng's landscapes, making it perhaps the most accomplished of Zhang Daqian's splashed-ink landscapes.
Ink and color on paper, mounted, framed and glazed, inscribed, signed and dated Yuan Weng qi shi you si sui (Old Man Yuan at age seventy-four, or 1972) with three artist's seals reading Daqian wei yin da xing, renzi (1972), andHuanbi'an. 40 x 16 1/4in (101.5 x 41.3cm)
Provenance: Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Hal Louchheim, purchased from Erickson Gallery, Palo Alto, California in the mid-1970s
A pair of hanging scrolls, ink on paper, dedicated to Feiqingand sign Shuren Zhang Daqian Yuan with two artist's seals reading Zhang Yuan si yin and Daqian. 52 1/2 x 12 3/4in (133.3 x 32.4cm) each
Provenance: painted for the consignor's father Song Feiqing (宋棐卿, 1899-1955) in Argentina between 1952 and 1953
Note: Song Feiqing (Sung Feiching 宋棐卿, 1899—1955), was a Tianjin-based industrialist, born in rural Shandong, and educated at Northwestern University in the United States. In 1932 he founded Dongya Corporation (東亞企業股份有限公司) with the brand name Diyan(抵羊牌毛線), and under his leadership, Dongya developed into one of the most important powerhouses of the Chinese textile industry. Song Feiqing, an enlightened businessman and corporate innovator, deftly steered the company through multiple national regime changes to great success. He utilized scientific management practices and promoted his textile empire as a patriotic force, working towards the modernization of Chinese industrial production. Inspired by his Christian beliefs, Song developed a host of employee welfare programs to address the healthcare, housing and education needs of his workers and also instituted employee shareholding. Song preserved Dongya Corporation through the 1949 revolution. In the face of increasingly complex political developments, the Song family left China, first for Hong Kong, and later settling in Argentina, where Song Feiqing later made the acquaintance of Zhang Daqian. The present lot was made as a gift for Song Feiqing after this meeting.
The auction will commence with 80 lots of fine jades and hardstone carvings, featuring property from a California Institution, including a pair of rare coral ruyi sceptres, 19th century, (est. 40,000-60,000) and an elegant white jade covered vase, late Qing/Republic period, (est. $50,00-70,000).
Two carved coral ruyi scepters, Late Qing dynasty. Estimate US$ 40,000 - 60,000 (€35,000 - 53,000). Photo Bonhams.
Similarly designed, each shaft carved as a long, gnarled, leafy branch issuing derivative sprigs bearing pomegranates, peaches and Buddha's hand citrons, the upper section attached with a pieced branch supporting a large rounded head carved in relief and some openwork with further leafy peaches and one bat with stretching wings. 13 1/4 and 13 1/2in (33.7 and 34.3cm) long
Provenance: acquired in 1966 as per acquisition number 1966.2286.6.1-2
Note: The design of the three fruits together, pomegranate, peaches, and Buddha's hand citron invokes sanduo (the three abundances) in Chinese art. They represent the main wishes for an ideal life: an abundance of descendants (achieved by having many sons), longevity, and good fortune.
The lustrous white stone finely formed as a simple baluster vase rising from rockwork and elaborately embellished with a phoenix perched on a ledge amidst twisting branches of peony blossom and leaves on one side, the other side with a pair of quails, one in flight and the other sitting on a branch of leafy chrysanthemum, the handles each formed as a leafy peony blossom and the cover similarly surmounted by peony and leaves. 13in (33cm) high
Provenance: acquired in 1966 as per acquisition number 1966.320
Buddhist sculpture and bronzes follow, with highlights including a rare gilt bronze figure of the Mahasthamaprapta bodhisattva, Ming dynasty, from the Collection of Dr. Carroll Brown Malone (est. $25,000-40,000) and a large gilt lacquered bronze figure of a bodhisattva, Ming dynasty (est. $50,000-70,000), accompanied by a group of Ming and 18th century bronzes from a California collector.
His hands held in vitarka and varadamudra as he sits in a meditative pose, dressed in a crown and princely jewelry but clothed in the garments of a monk, his undergarment held in place by a bow-tied sash and the outer garment trimmed with a lotus pattern band, the trailing ends of both falling to the front and sides of the separately cast lotus flower support and hexagonal base with reticulated balustrade. 13 3/4in (35cm) height overall
Note: Often portrayed in a trinity with the Amitabha Buddha and the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva (Ch: Guanyin), Mahasthamaprapta (Ch: Dashizhi pusa) is typically portrayed in a likeness similar to Guanyin, but with a kalasha rather than a Buddha in his crown. See the slightly larger gilt bronze figure of Mahasthamaprapta with his hands held in the same mudras as this lot and a kalasha plainly visible in his crown, sold in Bonhams, San Francisco, sale 18888, 21 June 2011, lot 8186.
Possibly depicting Mahasthamaprapta as suggested by thekalasha on the front of the foliate crown that encircles his topknot, the deity also attired in pendant jewels and flowing robes as he sits dhyanasana with the right hand raised in thekaranamudra, the surfaces showing remains of gilt lacquer and colored pigments. 23in (58.4cm) high
Note: See two similar bronze figures, with little polychrome surface remaining and of smaller dimensions, Denise Patry Leidy,Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2010, A56 and A5, p.183 (12.37.160 and 12.37.161), both dated 15th-16th century.
In addition, a pair of monumental cinnabar lacquer vases, 19th century, from the Collection of Lt. Col Elmer J. Ryan will be included in the sale (est. $40,000-60,000).
A pair of large carved cinnabar lacquer baluster vases, Qianlong marks, 19th century. Estimate US$ 40,000 - 60,000 (€35,000 - 53,000). Photo Bonhams.
Each carved in high relief with bands of squared C-scrolls combined with lotus and peony flowers on curling leaves around the neck and chrysanthemums in the lappet reserves on the shoulder, their elongated bodies deftly worked with related scenes of scholars and their young servants walking through verdant retreats, some playing the qin or a game of weiqi while servants carry musical instruments or a bag of rolled scrolls; the lower body of each carved with a tall band of strap work and conjoined leaves, a layer of black lacquer finishing the interior and the drilled base bearing the six-character mark painted in gilt seal script. 23 1/2in (59.7cm) high
Notes: The bearded figures on one vase listening to the qin or engaged in a game of weiqi combined with the young servant on the other vase, carrying a group of rolled scrolls that may contain paintings and calligraphy, provide a subtle illustration for the Four Accomplishments of a Scholar, qin qi shu hua (calligraphy, painting, music and chess).
The fine pair of cinnabar vases, shown here as lot 7115 have resided in the same Minnesota family for over 100 years. Entering the family's collection at the turn of the 19th century, they were then passed down to Marjorie and Lt. Col. Elmer James Ryan, Congressman to the United States House of Representatives from the 2nd District of Minnesota (1935-1941), who passed away in 1958. He was also lifetime law partner to, and ran the presidential campaigns, of Gov. Harold Stassen. At the passing of Mrs. Ryan in 1986, the vases were passed down to the current generation.
Following upon the success of the Asia Week New York March auction, Bonhams is pleased to offer Part Two of the Barbara and Marvin Dicker Collection of Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles, featuring fine jade, agate and glass overlay bottles. Another selection of bottles from the Bentley Collection complement these offerings. A fine huanghuali and burlwood cabinet, 18th century, (est. $30,000-50,000) from a San Francisco Bay Area Collection is one of the featured lots of huanghuali furniture to be sold.
A huanghuali and burlwood cabinet, 18th century. Estimate US$ 30,000-50,000 (€27,000 - 44,000). Photo Bonhams.
Song ceramics from the Collection of Mark S. Pratt of Washington D.C., a rare Longquan celadon vase, Yuan dynasty, (est. $40,000-60,000); and a fine Longquan celadon dish, Southern Song dynasty (est. $15,000-25,000) are part of the early Chinese ceramics to be offered in this sale.
A fine and rare Longquan celadon vase with molded decoration, Yuan dynasty. Estimate US$ 30,000-50,000 (€27,000 - 44,000). Photo Bonhams.
Provenance: purchased, 1953, in Tokyo, Japan
Note: For a Longquan vase of slightly larger size but similar decoration, see He Li, Chinese Ceramics: a New Comprehensive Survey from the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1996, no. 362, pp.176-177 and p. 203, (17 5/8in, 44.8cm high, as 14th-15th century). For an example of smaller size but similar shape and decoration (25cm high), excavated from a Yuan period shipwreck off the Korean coast of Todokdo, Sinan-gun, see Shin'an kaitei hikiage bunbutsu (The Sunken Treasures off the Sinan Coast,), 1983, cat. no. 5, p. 58. Incomplete examples can be seen in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum Istanbul , 1986: vol. I, cat. nos. 205 (TKS15/213 and TKS15/9755), pp .288-289 (as early/mid-14th century). See also a complete example of large size from the City Art Museum of St. Louis, with four flowering branches on the neck and similar decoration on the body, included in Sherman Lee and Wai-kam Ho, Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), 1968, cat. no. 63 (28 1/2in, 72.4cm high).
A Longquan celadon dish, Southern Song dynasty. Estimate US$ 15,000 - 25,000 (€13,000 - 22,000). Photo Bonhams.
Smoothly molded with a circular recessed floor and shallow, curving well in contrast to the lotus petals in relief on the exterior extending outward from a wedged foot ring and recessed base, a lustrous blue-green glaze of fairly even hue covering all surfaces except the cinnamon-burnt the foot pad. 6 1/4in (15.8cm) diameter
Note: The color, shape and lotus petal decoration on this dish compare with an underdish to a covered tea bowl, among the 1,200 pieces excavated in 1991 from the Jinyucun ceramic hoard in Suining County, Sichuan: see Zhu Boqian,Longquan Yao Qingci, 1998, No. 139, pl. 168.
Kangxi blue and white wares include a fine blue and white baluster vase with landscape decoration ($20,000-30,000) and a pair of massive blue and white ovoid jars from the Collection of Salvatore Ugarte (est. $100,000-150,000).
A blue and white baluster vase, Kangxi period. Estimate US$ 20,000 - 25,000 (€18,000 - 22,000). Photo Bonhams.
Molded with a flared rim to the tall trumpet neck, the body of inverted pear form spreading outward above a set-in foot ring, the towering landscape view on the upper half inhabited by a solitary scholar and his servant while a boatman passes behind the towering cliffs in the lower landscape, the lustrous glaze covering all surfaces except the foot and the recessed base bearing the date Kangxi 6th year and inscription zhi hou ren wu ke [xiu] followed by the nameZhang Hao incised into the glaze. 18 1/2in (47cm) high
Two massive blue and white ovoid jars, Kangxi period. Estimate US$ 100,000 - 200,000 (€89,000 - 180,000). Photo Bonhams.
Each formed with a flared neck of slightly different height but painted with the same upright leaf band on the exterior, triangular-sectioned band of pearls around the shoulder and above the base of the elongated ovoid body displaying composite lotus flowers and curly leaves surrounding six circular landscape reserves: the first of boatmen eating lunch on deck; the second of scholars on a hillside bluff near their rural retreat looking onto the hills, water and architecture around them; the third of huntsmen on horseback shooting their prey with arrows; the fourth a village complete with arching bridge to a ceremonial hall; the fifth of two skiffs with fisherman plying their nets; the sixth of two hunters on horseback with arrows, a hunting hawk and hunting dog; the lustrous glaze covering all surfaces except the wide foot and recessed base. 36 7/8in (93.5cm) high
Provenance: the collection of Salvador Ugarte, Mexico City
Ralph Chait, New York, 1950s
Notes: Tall jars and vases of this type are often referred to assoldier or dragoon vases, after the famous group of 151 Chinese blue and white porcelains which Augustus the Strong of Saxony received in 1717 from Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia, in exchange for 600 Saxon dragoons. For surviving examples, now exhibited in the Bogengalerie at the Zwinger Pavilion, see Ulrich Pietsch, Anette Loesch and Eva Stroba, The Dresden Porcelain Collection: China, Japan, Meissen, 2006, p. 6 and pp. 18-19.
A pair of massive jars with covers from the same period sold in Bonhams & Butterfields, San Francisco, Sale 15409, 18 December 2007, lot 4368. For a single jar and cover with decoration similar to lot 4368, traceable to the original Saxon collection, see Bonhams, London, Sale 18827, 12 May 2011, lot 317; and another pair with domed covers sold in Bonhams, London, Sale 20580, 7 November 2013, lot 61.
White wares include a collection of blanc de chine figures from a Pennsylvania collection, including a large figure of Guanyin, 19th century, (est. $20,000-30,000) complemented by a group of mark and period porcelains from other private collections.
The impressive figure captured holding a basket of fish and supported by a network of lotus pads and blossoms emerging from stylized waves, her high chignon set with an Amitabha crown framing her downcast eyes and full cheeks set off by plaited locks falling to each side of a delicate beaded necklace resting on her bare chest framed by heavy robes falling in folds over her elegant frame, reversed by two seals. 20in (50.8cm) high
Note: For related Guanyin figures bearing both seal marks, see Donnelly, op. cit., figures 76, 77 and discussion on pp. 139-142.
A massive enamelled porcelain vase of "100 deer," painted by Cheng Men (1833-1908) and dated to 1877, (est. $10,000-15,000) is one of many unusual enamelled wares featured in the sale. The afternoon concludes with Chinese paintings.
Thickly formed with a wide cylindrical neck, full ovoid body and tall foot molded with a raised string band, the walls painted in pale gray and brown enamels depicting a large herd of deer grazing amid towering peaks and foliage drawn in pale blue, green and black enamels, the body inscribed in black enamel Mengyun jushi zhi, the cyclical date dingchou dong corresponding to the winter of 1877 and signed Cheng Men followed by seals reading Men and xue li, the wide foot and recessed base left unglazed. 25 1/2in (64.7cm) high
Notes: The artist Cheng Men was one of the most famous late Qing painters of porcelain in the qianjiang style, using pale gradations of black and colored enamels in imitation of Chinese literati landscape painting. For a discussion of the technique and his importance, see Simon Kwan, Chinese Porcelain of the Republic Period, 2008, pp. 11-12 (in Chinese) and pp. 34-36 (in English); and cat. nos. 1 & 2, pp. 60-63 for two examples of his work.
A number of containers and landscape plaques either by or after the painter were sold in our London, New Bond Street sale 18981, 10 November 2011, in particular lot 597. A square-sectioned vase by the artist sold most recently in our San Francisco sale 22378, 10 March 2015, lot 8170. However the present vase seems to be the largest work by Cheng Men to come onto the auction market.
The second day of this two-day auction features 650 lots of Asian Decorative Arts.