New York firm‚Äôs specialists tracked private sources to bring fresh antiques to auction
Online PR News – 20-November-2015 – Forest Hills, NY – Kyo Wu, the trusted art historian who founded Lester Ramsey Auctions in 2010, said his team left no stone unturned in preparing for the company‚Äôs Dec. 6 Fine Chinese Works of Art Auction. ‚ÄúWe went off the beaten path to track down exciting discoveries that would be fresh to the marketplace,‚ÄĚ Wu said.
The top-tier 260-lot selection prepared for the Dec. 6 sale is the tangible reflection of Wu‚Äôs perseverance. ‚ÄúMore than half of the goods came directly from American collections with noteworthy provenance,‚ÄĚ Wu said.
Wu said he has opted to keep the estimates ‚Äúhumble,‚ÄĚ promising consignors he would promote their pieces vigorously. ‚ÄúIf you offer quality Chinese art to bidders, it will find its correct price through auction competition.‚ÄĚ
Important jades include examples from the Yuan Dynasty (1160-1368) all the way through to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). ‚ÄúUsing large, beautifully carved Chinese jades as lamp bases was a practice made popular by Bensebott‚Äôs in Chicago as well as Yamanaka and Edward I. Farmer (1872-1942) of New York City. These lamps were popular among America‚Äôs elite industrialist families from around 1900 through the Art Deco period,‚ÄĚ Wu noted.
Lot 75 is just such a piece and can be traced to the estate of Senator William Andrews Clark (1839-1925) of the immensely wealthy Clark family, which earned its fortune from mining and banking and was on par with the Vanderbilts and Morgans. The white jade carving turned lamp base depicts an immortal carrying a branch of peaches, a flywhisk and a gourd. It stands an impressive 11¬Ĺ inches tall and is attributed to the Qianlong period (1735-1796).
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve seen interior pictures of Senator Clark‚Äôs 100-room Fifth Avenue mansion. It was filled with extraordinary Chinese and European art. This jade came from the senator‚Äôs collection, which passed by descent through the Clark family and previously was auctioned at Christie‚Äôs in a sale titled ‚ÄėThe Clark Family, An American Dynasty,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Wu said. The venerable jade is estimated at $25,000-$35,000.
Like the Clark family jade, Lot 57, an intricately carved soapstone tableau depicting eight Chinese immortals, was mounted to a lamp base attributed to eminent Chinese art collector and silversmith Edward I. Farmer. The 14-inch landscape carving comes with provenance from an important Cape Cod collection and is modestly estimated at $2,000-$3,000. ‚ÄúLamps with bases quite similar to this one have sold very well in the past, so we are pleased to offer this piece for such an attractive estimate,‚ÄĚ Wu said.
Lot 69 meets all the criteria for a genuine Chinese jade from the Yuan Dynasty (1160-1368). The celadon jade carving, which comes from a Texas private collection, depicts the mythological winged beast ‚ÄúChimera‚ÄĚ and exhibits distinctive Yuan characteristics. ‚ÄúThe style of ears, the upward-turning nose, and the subject matter itself are all evocative of carvings from the very desirable Yuan period,‚ÄĚ Wu said. Estimate: $7,000-$9,000.
Several particularly fine gilt-bronze Ming Dynasty Buddhas will take the auction spotlight. Three of the finest will be offered with conservative individual pre-sale estimates of $1,200-$1,800. Lot 17B, a 17-inch-tall bronze of a robed figure holding a lotus stem and cup, has an incised three-character mark to the back and comes from the Estate of Irene A. Farber, Los Angeles. Lot 18 is a 12-inch-tall depiction of the 10th-century Zen monk Budai, or ‚Äúthe Laughing Buddha.‚ÄĚ Only two or three examples of a gilt-bronze Budai of this type have ever appeared at auction. Lester Ramsey‚Äôs example is fresh from the collection of J.S. Rogers of Landover, Maryland. Previously, the piece belonged to Rogers‚Äô mother, who started collecting in the early 1900s. The distinguished trio of deities is completed with Lot 20, a Buddha that embodies elegance and purity of form. The hefty bronze from a Long Island collection measures 8¬ľ inches high.
Could Lot 19 possibly be concealing a gift with purchase? An X-ray might reveal the answer, said Wu, describing the antique Chinese bronze Buddha that has attracted multiple queries regarding its sealed base. ‚ÄúFor its size, this is a very heavy Buddha. It‚Äôs of the type that would be sealed with precious items inside ‚Äď sometimes things made of solid gold.‚ÄĚ Fresh from a California private collection, the Buddha is entered in the sale with a $1,200-$1,800 estimate.
Connoisseurs appreciate the simplicity and symbolism of Chinese bronze censers, said Wu. ‚ÄúThey were meant for use on an altar to play a specific role in religious rituals. They help to create a serene and reverent environment for prayer and meditation, so their beauty is not expressed by embellishment, but rather by their fine patina and quality casting.‚ÄĚ Of those offered in the Dec. 9 sale, Lot 14B is a standout. The double-handled antique bronze censer is signed and comes with provenance from a Boston estate. Estimate: $1,200-$1,800.
Lot 9, an older Chinese blanc de chine robed figure, 8¬Ĺ inches tall, exhibits a standard of work that captures human expression very realistically. It retains a Christie‚Äôs label from a prior sale and is estimated at $800-$1,200. Lot 17 is one of many large, beautifully glazed and signed porcelain laughing Buddhas to be auctioned. Its style is pure Chinese as opposed to Tibetan, and the signature suggests it is that of a famous Qing Dynasty-period workshop.
An intriguing mystery, Lot 124 is an antique Chinese silver pocket watch that Wu described as ‚Äúan unfinished story that‚Äôs still being researched.‚ÄĚ Wu explained that the Chinese have had a fascination for clockwork mechanisms that goes back to the 18th century. ‚ÄúThe little moving gears, the ability to track the movements of the sun ‚Äď to the Far East at that time, it was like magic.‚ÄĚ Wu believes the pocket watch in his sale, which has elaborate Chinese hallmarks and writing both inside its case and on its face, was made in China for the Chinese market, but that its clockwork movement is likely European. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs an early watch, and there‚Äôs a lot of quality evident in the way it was made. Hopefully it will appeal both to scholars and collectors of antique timepieces.‚ÄĚ Estimate: $600-$800.
Lester Ramsey Auctions‚Äô Sunday, Dec. 6 Fine Chinese Works of Art sale will be held live at their gallery located at 118-35 Queens Blvd., Suite 417, Forest Hills, NY 11375, starting at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. The preview will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 12-8 p.m. All additional forms of bidding will be available, including phone, absentee and via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.
For additional information on any item in the auction, call Lester Ramsey Auctions at 347-436-8383, ext. 1 or 2; or email email@example.com. View the catalog online.