Lot 164. Attributed to Wang Yuan (Active 1328-1349), Quails and Autumn Flowers, Ming dynasty, 15th-16th century, handscroll, 26,5 x 592,5 cm, ink and colors on silk. Estimate 4.000/6.000 €. Lot sold 36.000 €. Courtesy Nagel
Unsigned. Five collectors' seals: "Weisa shi" (On the mounting in front of the picture and on the title label on the outside), four no more legible. Five seals of the Qianlong emperor (reg. 1736-1795): "Shiqu baoji", "Yizisun", "Qianlong jianshang", "Qianlong yulan zhi bao", "Sanxitang jingjian xi". One square seal of the Jiaqing emperor (r. 1796-1820) in the upper right corner: "Jiaqing yulan zhi bao". At the outside of the scroll title label by Weisa shi with attribution to Wang Yuan: "The Painting 'Year after Year Peace and Health' by Wang Yuan of the Yuan Dynasty". Wear, minor restorations, stains, the painting seems to have been reduced.
Provenance: Property from an old German diplomate collection, assembled in China between 1915 and 1917.
Note: Wang Yuan was a prominent painter of the Yuan dynasty. He came from Hangzhou and was a student of Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322) who advocated a style of literati painting referring back to antique models. In his paintings of flowers and birds Wang Yuan also based his composition and subject matter on masters of the tenth century like Huang Quan (903-968) and Huang Jucai (933- after 993). The realistic description of the quite humble subject of twenty eight quails amidst grasses and flowers, millet and bamboo in this scroll reminds to such an early style. The painting is of a fine quality with a quite realistic depiction of the quails, grasses and leafs. The Chrysanthemum flowers in the second part of the picture are done beautifully in full detail in heavy white pigment as is a single yellow lily and an orchid at the beginning. The scroll may be a copy after a painting by Wang Yuan based on a still earlier composition. It was executed probably in the Ming dynasty.
Nagel. "Asiatische Kunst - Salzburg", 06.12.2017