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Sotheby's

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Sotheby’s was founded in London on March 11, 1744, when Samuel Baker auctioned “several Hundred scarce and valuable books” from the library of the Rt Hon Sir John Stanley for a few hundred pounds. The story of Sotheby’s expansion beyond books to include the best in fine and decorative arts and jewellery is also the story of the global auction market, defined by extraordinary moments that continue to capture the world’s attention.
Since 1744, Sotheby’s has distinguished itself as a leader in the auction world. Our auctions, conducted in the venerable salerooms in London and Paris, the museum-quality galleries of our headquarters in New York and the spirited environs of Hong Kong rivet audiences worldwide. Season after season, the depth and excellence of Sotheby’s offerings have produced watershed, record-breaking sales. Sotheby’s has been entrusted with the sale of many of the world's treasures, amongst them: Napoleon’s St Helena library, the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels, the Estate of Mrs Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Rembrandt’s Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer, Rubens’ Massacre of the Innocents, Picasso’s Garçon à la Pipe, Bacon’s Triptych, 1976, The Grand Ducal Collections of Baden, the Qianlong Yellow-Ground Famille-Rose Double-Gourd Vase, the 5,000-year-old Guennol Lioness, Giacometti’s L’Homme Qui Marche I, the Magna Carta, the first printing of the Declaration of Independence and The Martin Luther King Jr Collection.
Sotheby’s has long recognised that great works of art, as well as the collectors interested in consigning and acquiring them, inhabit the global sphere. We were the first international auction house to expand from London to New York in 1955, and the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong and the then–Soviet Union. Today we maintain 90 locations in 40 countries and we conduct 250 auctions each year in over 70 categories. In addition to our four principal salerooms, the company, recognising the potential in new markets, also conducts auctions in six other salerooms around the world, further expanding our global reach. Through BIDnow, clients can also watch all Sotheby’s auctions live online and place bids in real time, from anywhere in the world. And through the ever-enriching content on Sothebys.com, the oldest publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (BID) continues to be fresh and current, while always mindful of its historic roots.
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Some works sold by Sotheby's

Chen Qikuan - Moonlight Sonata

Chen Qikuan - Moonlight Sonata

Original 1921-2007
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 501
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Chen Qikuan (Chen Chi-Kwan) MOONLIGHT SONATA 1921-2007 signed in Chinese and marked with one seal of the artist ink and colour on paper, hanging scroll 45 by 46.6 cm; 17¾ by 18¼ in. Provenance Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 29 October, 1992, lot 1032 Catalogue Note Distinctively whimsical and thoughtfully composed, Chen Chi-kwan’’’’’’’’s paintings are some of the most innovative in his generation. Chen’’’’’’’’s formal creative training began in architecture as a colleague of the Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius, a teacher at MIT, and as a collaborator of IM Pei on the design of Tunghai University in Taiwan. His keen eye for design infused the traditional monochromatic brushstrokes of Chinese painting with spirited vigour. Unrestrained by tradition, his paintings provide a refreshing vision of Chinese ink art as early as the 1950s. As described by his contemporary and artist Ho Huaishuo, “His simplicity is derived from his understanding of life and Chinese naturalist philosophy. Chen tries to reflect a certain oriental spirit, with special flavour for the thoughts of Laozi. His paintings explain and interpret Laozi’’’’’’’’s teachings. They are extremely concise and condensed, offering inspiration and charm for the viewers.”1 As seen in Cloud Opening (Lot 553), Chen achieves a sense of movement, space and time in his works that draws upon the philosophical views of Chinese landscape painting but is actually inspired by a vision that came to him during a flight over the Burmese border in 1945. This aerial view and moveable vantage point becomes a hallmark of his artistic career inspired by his keen eye for design and admiration for Western style painting. Throughout his life, Chen’’’’’’’’s paintings were widely exhibited internationally between Asia, North America and Europe. The variety of his subjects ranges from animals, such as monkeys, cats and fish, to dream-like interiors reminiscent of Chinese gardens and majestic mountain vistas. In Nymph, Mood, and Peace (Lots 550, 552, 554) Chen uses architectural elements of doors and furniture to guide his viewers into his carefully layered landscapes. In an interview published in 1996 Chen remarks that, “[In painting,] proportion and perspective are not enough. We need to add some interesting elements to it that perhaps would be more relevant to humanity.”2 The paintings in this private collection provide a snapshot of Chen’’’’’’’’s delightful works from the 1980s, which aptly express both the artist’’’’’’’’s and collector’’’’’’’’s enthusiasm for life and art. Scholar Michael Sullivan remarks that Chen’’’’’’’’s paintings are such an exact expression of his vision that they need no commentary; 3 and not all works of art need to be serious artistic explorations of the human condition. 1 He Huaishuo, “The Universe in a Mustard Seed”, Special Study on Chen Chi-kwan, Han Mo Xuan, Taipei, No. 20, 1991, p. 20 2 Han Mo- Special Study on Chen Chi-kwan, Han Mo Xuan Publishing, Taipei, 1991, No. 20, p. 101 3 Sullivan, Michael. Art and Artists of Twentieth-century China, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1996, p. 187
San Yu - Nu Assis

San Yu - Nu Assis

Original c.1920
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 5001
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Sanyu NU ASSIS 1901-1966 signed in Pinyin and Chinese ink on paper 41.8 by 27.1 cm; 16 1/2 by 10 5/8 in. executed in 1920/30s Hôtel Drouot Auction, Paris, September 1966 Collection of Jacques Nieszawer Sanyu: Catalogue Raisonné Drawings and Watercolors, The Li Ching Cultural and Educational Foundation, Taipei, 2014, plate D0310, electronic index p. 31, illustrated in colour Ineffable Beauty: Sanyu’’’’’’’’s Figure Drawings ‘The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.’’’’’’’’ Albert Einstein Sanyu’’’’’’’’s figure drawings are an embodiment of the artist’’’’’’’’s creativity and imagination. These works opened the door of modern art to new vistas, and propelled the artist to the ranks of the great masters. The men and women portrayed under Sanyu’’’’’’’’s brush are taken from the settings of the everyday, but under the artist’’’’’’’’s unique facilities of observation and imagination, they are endowed with a new aesthetics. Using soft and dynamic lines, the artist captures transient flashes of inspiration. When one reviews the literature from both China and the West in the 1920s and 30s, Sanyu’’’’’’’’s stunning depictions of human figures clearly emerge as a common topic of study and discourse in the international art world. In 2004, the Musée Guimet in Paris held an exhibition titled, Sanyu: l’’’’’’’’écruiture du corps, the artist’’’’’’’’s first solo exhibition at a French museum. Not only did the exhibition emphasized the artist’’’’’’’’s position as a member of the School of Paris, the papers published also established the artist’’’’’’’’s figure drawings as his main subject, alongside his works depicting flowers and animals. Sanyu was unconventional, a maverick of an artist. Although prolific, he eschewed self-promotion, and his works were not widely disseminated during his lifetime. His most publically recognizable works are largely from the September 1966 Hôtel Drouot auction in Paris, an important source of the artist’’’’’’’’s early works. It was in August of that year that the artist had passed away unexpectedly in his home. Because he had no relatives, in accordance with French law, the entirety of his works was put up for auction by the Drouot Company. In fact, almost all of the earliest collectors of Sanyu acquired their works from this auction. It has been half a century since the auction at the Hôtel Drouot, and special auctions of Sanyu’’’’’’’’s works from a single owner collection have occurred only twice since. The two owners had been acquainted with the artist while he was still alive. One was the October 15, 1995 Sotheby’’’’’’’’s sale of The Johan Franco Collection of Works by Sanyu, and the other was the October 19, 1997, also at Sotheby’’’’’’’’s: Robert Frank’’’’’’’’s Sanyu. Both auctions garnered much attention from collectors and academics alike. Now, twenty years later, Sotheby’’’’’’’’s is honored to be hosting the third sale of Sanyu’’’’’’’’s works from a single owner collection, one that features the largest number of Sanyu’’’’’’’’s works on paper in auction history. The twenty-two pieces of Sanyu’’’’’’’’s works on paper on offer at this auction include ink, charcoal, and watercolor, and belong to a single European private collection. Initially active in Paris antique markets, this family possesses a deep understanding of the School of Paris, and regards Sanyu as one of the School’’’’’’’’s important members. Since acquiring Sanyu’’’’’’’’s pieces at the Drouot auction in 1966, they have held onto them until today. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Sanyu’’’’’’’’s death, these pieces are making their debut on the public stage. Of exquisite quality and unquestionable providence, these works represent a rare opportunity to acquire Sanyu’’’’’’’’s works. During early years of modern Chinese art, the attitudes toward nudity in art were harsh and it was difficult to make progression. For example, from 1917 to 1927, the exhibition of figure paintings and the use of nude models at the Shanghai School of Fine Arts caused artist Liu Haisu to be publically denounced as ‘the scum of academia’’’’’’’’, a ‘demon of the arts’’’’’’’’, among other demonised titles. The school was shut down, and the artist was sought by the government for arrest. Eventually, Liu fled to Japan for refuge. Later, expatriate artists Xu Beihong and Lin Fengmian returned to China and promoted nudity in art, and they, too, became subjects of similar backlash. On the contrary, Sanyu, who at the time was living in France, was able to freely use nude as his main subject. Pang Xunqing, in the essay This is How We Made It to Here, recalled his personal experience from the 1920s at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière: ‘After the illness, I often came with Sanyu. He made drawings with calligraphy brush. A lot of people knew him, and as soon as he came, many people would surround him, sitting next to him. If a model’’’’’’’’s pose were pleasing, he would paint the model. He often painted people around him. He specialized in the full female figure, which he could complete in ten minutes. The most interesting thing was that everyone around him, whether man or woman, young or old, was painting nude female figure. Nobody protested, and instead, it was widely encouraged. I think those dozen years in Paris were kind to him.’’’’’’’’ Compared to the other artist who had studied and stayed in Paris, although Xu Beihong and Lin Fengmian created no small number of nude figure paintings after returning to China, they could not separate those creations from the Western tradition, and leaned against it as an anchor. Sanyu’’’’’’’’s nude paintings, on the other hand, arose from a more natural instinct; they embody the free, virtuosic spirit of xieyi and are full of humor and fragments of everyday life. Sanyu was not shouldered with preaching. Especially in his works on paper, through capturing the human body from various perspectives and angles, his presentation (rather than ‘representation’’’’’’’’) showcases the confidence of his swift and steady brush, which paved the foundation for his later human figure oil paintings. Sanyu’’’’’’’’s nudes are not only an expansion of the subjects of Chinese painting, more importantly, they represent a true intersection of the East and West, of the traditional and the modern, of xieyi and xieshi, of the fashionable and the classical, of the individual and the times. When he was creating them, his works were already eliciting reverberations from both the East and West. In China, the celebrated poet Xu Zhimo was the artist’’’’’’’’s most loyal and well-known supporter. Their friendships began in 1925, when Xu took a short trip to Paris. In his essay Tidbits from Paris, a chapter is titled Sir, Have You Yet Encountered Bright, Gorgeous Flesh?, in which the poet, using first person, describes himself frequently visiting an artist friend while in Paris. Without any gestures toward embarrassment or modesty, he speaks of the jealousy he feels toward this artist friend who can spend all of his hours admiring the beauty of the nudes, and spend his life using painting to develop the beauty of the flesh. Although the painter isn’’’’’’’’t named, it is clear that this figure is based on Sanyu. After returning home, Xu remained fascinated by his friend, and between 1929 and 1931, in nineteen letters to Liu Haisu, the poet mentions his friendship with the painter and his wife. Xu held Sanyu’’’’’’’’s art in the highest regard, and the painter once created a sketch portrait of the poet. On February 9, 1931, Xu writes in a letter to Liu Haisu: ‘Where is Sanyu now? Chen Xuebing brought back a drawing of the thighs of the universe. I just had the opportunity to see the rare marvel of a piece.’’’’’’’’ And thus, the phrase ‘thighs of the universe’’’’’’’’ was coined, and became a common name for Sanyu’’’’’’’’s nude pieces, in particular his sketches on paper. In addition to Xu, poet Shao Xunmei, who was Sanyu’’’’’’’’s fellow member in the artistic brotherhood the Heavenly Dog Society, also praised Sanyu’’’’’’’’s portrayals of human figures. Shao had studied abroad at Cambridge and was also a member of the Crescent Moon School, along with Xu, and was highly influential in the Chinese publishing and translation worlds. Shao was responsible for translating the English version of Mao Zedong’’’’’’’’s On Protracted War, as well as rendering the Chinese translations of the poetry of Byron and Tagore. The coverage of Sanyu’’’’’’’’s work in China during the 20s and 30s could often be found in the pages of Shao’’’’’’’’s journals, including Golden House Monthly, Sphinx, and New Moon. In March of 1929, Shao published a piece in Shanghai in Golden House Monthly titled, The Darling of the Contemporary Art World, in which he wrote, ‘After seeing [Sanyu’’’’’’’’s nude figure sketches], we were visited by a surge of warmth, an understanding that what they contained was life, and power; they were a living version of Rodin’’’’’’’’s sculptures.’’’’’’’’ This was one of the earliest public critiques of Sanyu’’’’’’’’s works. Another acclaimed journalist Ge Gongzhen wrote numerous articles about Sanyu in the Picture Times and Shanghai Pictorial, two publications for which he was chief editor. It was clear that Sanyu, in faraway Paris, was already arousing the attention of the Chinese art world. As one of the few Chinese members of the School of Paris, Sanyu became a representative figure for Eastern culture. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the French writer Henri-Pierre Roché and Dutch composer Johan Franco served as Sanyu’’’’’’’’s artistic managers, respectively. The records from that time reveal that the marketing materials designed for the artist most highly celebrated his nude figure pieces. Between 1932 and 1933, Dutch publications Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant and De Groene Amsterdammer both dedicated long pieces to reports on Sanyu, mainly discussing his nude figure renderings and his works on papers, in particular his use of deformation. The pieces also discussed his marriage of Eastern ink-wash techniques and Western sketching. Sanyu’’’’’’’’s style of quick sketching emerged as distinct and unusual. Like the Chinese collectors and connoisseurs, the Western world’’’’’’’’s attention and interest in Sanyu were often directed to Sanyu’’’’’’’’s techniques of exaggeration and deformation in his sketch renderings of human figures, his work often dissected through the lens of culture. Sanyu’’’’’’’’s close friend Johan Franco stated in 1933, ‘Sanyu’’’’’’’’s depiction of the human body has undoubtedly undergone strong Western influence, but sometimes we are still struck by his Chinese spirit.’’’’’’’’ With his keen musical sensitivity, Franco discovered that Sanyu’’’’’’’’s human figures often contained the exquisite elements of both Eastern and Western elements. The acclaimed art historian Jean-Paul Desroches went into even further depth in pointing out the relationship between Sanyu’’’’’’’’s nude female figures and Western art: ‘[Sanyu’’’’’’’’s] solid, static, vibrant nudes are linked to an almost universal theme whether it concerns Greek or Roman gods, Renoir, Maillol, Matisse, and Picasso.’’’’’’’’[1] The history of the West’’’’’’’’s artistic treatment of nude figures extends into the far past of the Greek and Roman sculptures, where the subjects were mythical gods, and the figures were idealized manifestations of perfection. This turn toward the mythical in the renderings of nude figures was awakened again during the Renaissance, and became a part of tradition. Only at the dawn of Modernism did the mythical quality of nude art begin to recede, with realism emerging in its place. Manet, one of the pioneers of Impressionism, for example, in his painting Olympia, despite its mythical name, depicted a naked female prostitute, in an act of clear rebellion against tradition. Modernists have even more thoroughly shed the cloak of the mythical, depicting nude figures with realism, and with bold and daring style. Sanyu’’’’’’’’s nude sketches indeed belong to the spirit of this movement. Sanyu’’’’’’’’s nude sketches are not only imbued with a feeling of the everyday, they are also rich with erotic meaning and imagination. This quality emerged during the intersection of the 19th and 20th centuries, from the Parisian neighborhoods of Montmartre in the north and Montparnasse in the south. Artists like Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) and Lucien-Henri Weiluc (1873-1947) began favoring the dancers at the cabaret, like the Moulin Rouge, as their most prized subjects. The dancers’’’’’’’’ flamboyant charm, their suggestive poses and eroticism, gave these artists an entirely new perspective unto the human figure. The figures captured by Sanyu’’’’’’’’s brush are often portrayed from the bottom up, suggesting the voyeur’’’’’’’’s lusting gaze, yet this eroticism does not descend into vulgarity. Instead, the mood is one of amusement and delight, a stark contrast from the erotic chungong paintings of ancient China. Among the contemporary masters is Egon Schiele (1890-1918), also known for his sketches of nude figures. The quality of toughness in the outlines of his figures contain notes of an Eastern aesthetic. The lust portrayed under his brush often verge toward the violent, as a kind of catharsis of the artist’’’’’’’’s fury toward life. These characters, next to Sanyu’’’’’’’’s soft lines which convey strength, his subtle humor toward the erotic, are set into an interesting interplay. Schiele’’’’’’’’s extraordinary talent was cut short when the artist passed away at a young age, and he and Sanyu never were able to meet. But from the similar natures of their works from that period, the two artists most certainly were peers, held in equal regard. The majority of Sanyu’’’’’’’’s nude figures are thick and voluptuous, and although the artist is radically minimalist in his use of lines to define a silhouette, the figures nonetheless exude a sense of volume that is highly emphasized in Western art. The techniques of exaggeration and deformation are not only a challenge to Western tradition, but also names Sanyu as one of the earliest modernist masters to interrogate the relationship between volume and form. The sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) and Sanyu were not only born in the same year, they were neighbors beginning in the 1940s in Montparnasse. Giacometti’’’’’’’’s thin, elongated sculptures of humans were seemingly in dialogue with Sanyu’’’’’’’’s vivid sketches. The slightly younger Colombian master Fernando Botero (born in 1932) also famously rendered figures with an exaggerated voluptuousness; Wu Guanzhong, in his later years, also reinvented the way he created human figures. In the five paintings of the artist’’’’’’’’s A Fu, A Foreigner series, Wu features the same plump lady as his subject. Later, the artist used this series in an essay, investigating the issue of volume in the visual arts. Sanyu was already experimenting with this idea in the 1920s, a clear testament to his artistic prescience. Despite the clear Western influence, Sanyu’’’’’’’’s art is also deeply rooted in Eastern elements. His nude figure works primarily feature women as his subjects, exquisitely demonstrating the physical form and life of the woman. This is no less than a modernization of the traditional Chinese painting of beautiful ladies: Since the earliest days, the Chinese paintings of human figures created by artists (not including those who painted as a artisan), including Gu Kaizhi’’’’’’’’s Admonitions of the Court Instructess and Nymph of the Luo River, were rendered on long vertical scrolls, fully capturing the various moods and ways of the feminine spirit. Since the time of Gu Kaizhi, whether in depictions of actual palace ladies or of mythical fairy maidens, women have remained a dominant subject of Chinese traditional paintings. If we place Sanyu’’’’’’’’s works within this lineage, his Femme à la robe violette (Lot 5018), Lectrice à la blouse jaune (Lot 5019), and Femme à la jupe violette (Lot 5022) are no less than modern day embodiments of the palace women captured in ancient Chinese paintings. To compare these three watercolors with the classical renderings of palace ladies, it is not difficult to discern that beyond the differences in dress and embellishments, the paintings are identical in their depiction of feminine elegance and grace as well as the portrayal of a kind of intellectual beauty. To highlight the subdued grace of the woman, ancient painters of palace women commonly used slender yet vigorous lines to create human figures. This philosophy in the treatment of form was still part of the tradition of Chinese art that contemporary Chinese artists were practicing during Sanyu’’’’’’’’s time. Sanyu’’’’’’’’s old friend artist Xu Beihong, for example, chose the Tang dynasty ink drawing The Eightyseven Immortals, at the time housed in Hong Kong, to be the subject of study and admiration. Sanyu’’’’’’’’s sketches of human figures are primarily done with the calligraphy brush, applied with fine gossamer strokes, as well as both calligraphic and xieyi elements. Sanyu brought the tools of traditional mediums to the arena of contemporary art. His paintings Nu assis (Lot 5001), Nu assis (Lot 5002), Nu debout de dos (Lot 5003), Nu allongé aux jambes croisées (Lot 5004), and Nu debout de dos (Lot 5005), were at the time considered a new manifestation of the spirit of Chinese art. At the same time, in order to pull away from tradition, Sanyu also simultaneously used the calligraphy brush as well as charcoal in the same work, as though combining Chinese ink sketches with Western sketching, creating a never-before-achieved effect. In Nu aux jambes croisées (Lot 5006), Nu assis de dos (Lot 5007), Nu assis (Lot 5010), Nu assis aux jambes pliées (Lot 5012) , Nu assis (Lot 5014), and Nu assis (Lot 5015) the bodies of the models are not positioned in a spread-out manner, but rather, they are bent and overlapping, and within the outline of the silhouettes, there is a vivid sense of texture and muscle, giving solid form to the figures, an effect achieved with the Western techniques of charcoal. In this way, Chinese and Western art are intersecting and elevated, each transmuting the other. Sanyu’’’’’’’’s sketches of human figures deliver a strong visual impact through its deformation and warping, an unprecedented technique in both Eastern or Western art, which at the time received a thunderously positive response. The women portrayed under Sanyu’’’’’’’’s brush, whether nude or not, are almost always depicted with a smaller head and upper body, and far more full-bodied hips and legs. To search for an explanation behind this choice, one needs to look no further than the development of technology. As Dutch art critic Kasper Niehaus said in May 1933 in the journal Chinese-European Art, ‘A few [of Sanyu’’’’’’’’s] shortened nudes with gigantic feet [are] like [those] in bad photographs,’’’’’’’’ a deformation that is closely linked to the development of photographic technology at the time. The history of painting includes a long period during which humans relied on the naked eye in observing their subjects. With the development of technology, however, artists gradually began adding in the aid of tools. 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, for example, used the technology of camera obscura to observe a scene. During the 19th century, with the invention of the camera, humans could begin to view the world through the lens of machines. In 1925, the lightweight Leica I made its debut on the market, and became the first portable photographic device. The functionality of the lens and shutter had been drastically improved, the exposure time shrunk. In this way, photography, originally a purely technological invention, became a convenient medium in the act of creativity. And thus, the art of photography was born, the careers of the great photographic masters Man Ray and André Kertész both rising in the 1920s. Through the lens of the camera, the distance between the focal point and the object is different from that observed by the naked eye, with a large sense of compression. The earliest photographic art was thus an experiment in deformation. Sanyu was one of the earliest artists of the School of Paris to own a camera, his sketches of deformed figures closely tied to the era’’’’’’’’s photographic experiments. Nu assis de dos (Lot 5007), for example, can be considered alongside Man Ray’’’’’’’’s photographs. Or the even more exaggerated deformations of Nu assis (Lot 5001), Nu assis (Lot 5002), Nu allongé aux jambes croisées (Lot 5004), Nu allongé (Lot 5008), Nu assis (Lot 5010), and Nu assis (Lot 5015), among others, even more clearly exhibit the heavy influence of Dadaism, Surrealism, Expressionism, and Freudian theory, depicting the goal of artistic creation to be undergoing a gradual yet critical transition from reality, to the subconscious, to the inner spiritual world, to dreams, to fantasy, and even to nihilism. There is a particularly special series on offer at this auction, composed of five pieces: Nu allongé (Lot 5017), Femme à la robe violette (Lot 5018) , Nu assis (Lot 5020), Nu debout (Lot 5021), and Femme à la jupe violette (Lot 5022). The hairstyle and facial features of the female among the five paintings is very similar, and very likely to be the same person. Comparing this set of paintings with others from the School of Paris, it becomes apparent that this distinctive, unique model is most likely the woman who during the two world wars, was a fixture in the Montparnasse social scene: Alice Prin, more popularly known as Kiki de Montparnasse. Kiki was born in 1901, the same year as Sanyu, and began working as a model for artists by the time she was 14. At the same time, she was also a talented singer, actress, painter, and writer. By the 1920s, Kiki had become the most sought after model among the Parisian painters, earning hear the nickname la reine de Montparnasse. Countless celebrated artists of the time, like Chaïm Soutine, Léonard Foujita, Moïse Kisling, Alexander Calder, Francis Picabia, and Fernand Léger, all left behind trademark paintings featuring the charming and talented model. Not only did she provide inspiration for these artists, but also injected into their lives the thrill of passion and romance. The master of photography Man Ray, for example, was Kiki’’’’’’’’s main lover during the 1920s. Kiki became the icon for the bohemian spirit. Her name quickly growing popular because of the Parisian artists, yet at the same time, she was also the reason for their success. In her diaries, she once mentions the idea that she ought ‘quickly learn Chinese,’’’’’’’’ which makes one wonder about her relationship with Sanyu. At the time, Sanyu was right in the midst of a wandering, lustful period, and Kiki was a wildly sought after professional model. For her to appear in Sanyu’’’’’’’’s paintings is only to be expected. In these five paintings, Kiki appears both in dresses and in the nude. In Femme à la robe violette (Lot 5018) and Femme à la jupe violette (Lot 5022), whether she is reading or writing, the paintings convey a sense of a free, leisurely life. When she appears in the nude, the tension in body language is all the more apparent. In Nu allongé (Lot 5017), for example, although she is serene, situated in a lying down position, the raised left arm bent behind her body is full of power and force, like a violin string stretched taut, releasing its distinct energy and dynamism. In the two watercolor pieces, Nu assis (Lot 5020) and Nu debout (Lot 5021), Kiki’’’’’’’’s makeup is heavy and provocative, a pair of bewitching, phoenix eyes casting a sideways look of disdain, while her body language, though reserved, nevertheless signals a flirtatiousness. The artist has used watercolor to emphasize the model’’’’’’’’s hair, her eyes and the blush on her cheekbones, while using a pink color to suggest in her flesh the promise of a rose just on the verge of blossoming, pushing the display of his admiration and desire to its highest limits. [1] From the Nude to Landscape: Wandering or Journeying?, Sanyu: l’’’’’’’’ecriture du corps, published by ARAA, 2004, p.27
Michael Krebber - Untitled

Michael Krebber - Untitled

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 1
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Michael Krebber UNTITLED B. 1954 signed and dated 97 on the reverse acrylic on canvas 110 by 100 cm. 43 1/4 by 39 3/8 in. Galerie Christian Nagel, Berlin Private Collection, Europe Acquired from the above by the present owner Elegantly restrained and lyrically composed, Michael Krebber’’’’’’’’s Untitled is a standout example of the artist’’’’’’’’s voracious and multifaceted output. With a career that spans more than four decades, Krebber's art rightly gained the admiration of his contemporaries, Albert Oehlen and Martin Kippenberger. Indeed, hardly anyone knows the recent history of German contemporary art better than Krebber. Having studied with German painter Markus Lüpertz before becoming the assistant of Georg Baselitz – even moving into the artist’’’’’’’’s infamous castle – Krebber then notably became the assistant and close confidant of Martin Kippenberger. Intense and enduring, Krebber describes this extraordinary friendship as “a double bind… dependency in every way – artistically and financially… but it was also a friendship” (Martin Krebber cited in: Daniel Birnbaum, ‘Man Without Qualities: Secret Sharer’’’’’’’’, Artforum, October 2005, online). Entirely immersed and absorbed in this fascinating artistic moment, Krebber is nothing short of a Cologne phenomenon. Teaming with hazy soft washes, tentative gestures and endlessly intriguing marks and motifs, Untitled bursts with the extraordinary energy and ingenuity that has continued to fuel Krebber’’’’’’’’s incredible practice. The short sharp jabs of paint speak to the work of Sigmar Polke whilst the wafer thin brushstrokes are immediately redolent of that of Albert Oehlen. Krebber’’’’’’’’s painting practice is also deeply conceptual and rooted in the realms of anti-art, indeed, his now legendary exhibition at the Isabella Kacprzak Gallery (1989) consisted of nothing more than an empty room and some photographs of a fictitious exhibition. Attesting to the artist’’’’’’’’s recent renewed critical appreciation, other examples of his work are held in numerous prestigious international collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; and Museum Brandhorst, Munich. Clyfford Still 1965 (PH-578), 1965 Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid Image: © 2016. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza/Scala, Florence Artwork: © City & County of Denver, Courtesy Clyfford Still Museum / DACS 2016
Gerhard Richter - Ohne Titel (13.5.08)

Gerhard Richter - Ohne Titel (13.5.08)

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 101
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Gerhard Richter OHNE TITEL (13.5.08) signed and dated 13.5.08 lacquer on printed paper 29 by 21 cm. 11 3/8 by 8 3/8 in. Museum Haus der Kunst, Munich Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2008 Catalogue Note "With abstract painting we create a better means of approaching what can be neither seen nor understood." GERHARD RICHTER Cited in: Exh. Cat., Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Gerhard Richter: Paintings, 1988, p. 107.
 Qing Dynasty - An Imperial Gilt-decorated Lacquer Landscape Screen

Qing Dynasty - An Imperial Gilt-decorated Lacquer Landscape Screen

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 3724
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION AN IMPERIAL GILT-DECORATED LACQUER 'LANDSCAPE' SCREEN QING DYNASTY, YONGZHENG PERIOD consisting of seven panels with the largest panel in the centre flanked by pairs of panels descending in size, the tops of the panels with a stepped profile, each panel finely painted in different shades of gold and applied gold leaf against a black lacquered ground, depicting pavilions, pagodas in 'floating' landscape scenery with cranes and fishermen on boats, enclosed within a cash and geometric floral diaper border, all above a rectangular panel decorated with bats, flowers and archaistic scrolls, the reverse missing its silk panels, enclosed with a similar diaper border, above a rectangular panel enclosing a full frontal five-clawed dragon in pursuit of a 'flaming pearl' on a cloud ground enclosed within floral and archaistic scroll border, stand outer panels: 203 by 49 cm, 80 by 19 1/4 in. second pair: 214 by 51 cm, 84 1/4 by 20 in. third pair: 225 by 55 cm, 88 1/2 by 21 5/8 in. centre panel: 236 by 77 cm, 96 by 30 1/2 in. total length: 387 cm, 152 3/8 in. Provenance Collection of Léopold Davout d'Auerstaedt (1829-1904), France. Sotheby's Hong Kong, 9th October 2007, lot 1309. Catalogue Note Many Japanese lacquers were imported into China during the sixteenth and seventeen centuries. During the Yongzheng reign, the court workshops were encouraged to make lacquers in the Japanese style, known in Chinese as yangqi, 'foreign-style lacquers'. The Yongzheng Emperor was noted to have been quite fond of black lacquer ware. Thus the present example has extensive decoration in gilt on a black lacquer ground. Although the original techniques of lacquering were developed in China, they were particularly lavishly exploited in Japan. Thus, the Chinese court associated a strong emphasis on gold decoration with Japan. The decoration was used on lacquer boxes as well as cabinets and screens. The gilt-painted side of the screen was often paired on the reverse with silk tapestries or paintings. See a nine-panel screen in the Beijing Palace Museum, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Beijing, 2002, pl. 198 where there are small gilt-painted landscape panels enclosed within Japanese style floral medallions. The interiors of cabinets were also often decorated in this style. See a lacquer display cabinet with a landscape interior illustrated ibid., no. 216. Léopold Davout was a French general of the Second Empire and third Duc d'Auerstaedt, a title originally held by his uncle Louis Nicolas Davout (1770-1823) (a successful Marshal of France during the Napoleonic Era). The title of Duc d'Auerstaedt was resurrected by an Imperial edict of Napoleon III in 1864. Davout was born to a Burgundian noble family and served in the French Army from 1849 until 1877. He took part in Napoleon III's Franco-Prussian War.
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current week's auction

Place Date Artworks Works at Auction
Hong-kong
October 3, 2016
83
Hong-kong
October 3, 2016
28
Hong-kong
October 3, 2016
119
Hong-kong
October 4, 2016
95
Hong-kong
October 5, 2016
5
London
October 7, 2016
35
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