Category Archive 'Christie’s'
12 Dec 2020

Kato Gizan, “Jigan”

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Christie’s

Sale 19017

Japanese and Korean Art
New York
22 September 2020

Lot 21

KATO GIZAN (B. 1968)
Jigen (Manifestation)
Signed Gizan and cursive monogram
Carved wood sculpture
43 3/8 in. (110.2 cm.) high without stand
With original metal stand

Estimate
USD 30,000 – USD 40,000
Price realised
USD 312,500

Via: Artemis Dreaming.

27 Sep 2020

Kylix Painting Attributed to Makron

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Attic red-figured kylix painting attributed to Makron and signed by Hieron as potter.

Christie’s SALE 18865

Antiquities
New York|13 October 2020

LOT42 –SOLD TO BENEFIT THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART
AN ATTIC RED-FIGURED KYLIX
ATTRIBUTED TO MAKRON AS PAINTER, SIGNED BY HIERON AS POTTER, CIRCA 490-480 B.C.
Estimate
USD 1,200,000 – USD 1,800,000

Christie’s Magazine speculates that this one may set a new record price for a Greek vase.

This Attic red-figured kylix — attributed to the painter Makron and of ‘outstanding provenance’ — could be about to eclipse a landmark figure set 20 years ago, says Harry Seymour

The year 490 BC was a memorable one for the people of Athens: 10,000 of the city’s soldiers crushed the much larger Persian army of Darius the Great; work commenced on the first Temple of Athena Parthenos on the Acropolis; and the modern marathon was born when a messenger with good news supposedly ran 26 miles to the city before dropping dead.

It is also thought to be the year in which an artist known as Makron began his decade-long career painting ceramics in the Kerameikos — the potters’ quarter — in Athens.

‘He soon established himself as one of the best painters of his generation,’ says G. Max Bernheimer, international head of Antiquities at Christie’s. ‘And this Attic red-figured wine cup — offered on 13 October at Christie’s in New York — is the best example by the fabled artist to come to auction in decades.’

Makron worked in a relatively new style known as ‘red-figure’, which involved creating shapes from negative space against a painted background. Details were then added with a brush and slip. This technique replaced the predominant ‘black-figure’ style, which required detail to be incised into painted figures, and made portraying pictorial depth tricky.

Makron’s name survives today thanks to a single signed work, a skyphos now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which features the words ‘Makron drew me’ painted on one handle.

The underside of one of the cup’s handles was inscribed by the potter with the words, ‘Hieron made me’

In the 20th century, however, a further 350 ceramics (including this one) were attributed to Makron by the Oxford University professor Sir John Beazley (1885-1970). Beazley catalogued thousands of Greek vases by studying each painter’s style in minute detail. In the case of Makron, his characters feature distinctive round heads with flat tops and drapery folds drawn with great finesse.

Today, nearly all of Makron’s vases are housed in major institutions, including the Met, the Louvre, the British Museum and the Getty. According to Bernheimer, ‘Hardly any are left in private hands, which makes this one all the more desirable to collectors.’

RTWT

09 Aug 2020

Chinese-French Abstract Expressionism

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Sold 25 November 2017

CHU TEH-CHUN (ZHU DEQUN, FRANCE/CHINA, 1920-2014)
Poussée Cristalline (Unrevealed Crystal)

Price realised

HKD 22,300,000 ($2,899,000)

Estimate
HKD 10,000,000 – HKD 16,000,000

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Wikipedia:

Chu Teh-Chun or Zhu Dequn (24 October 1920 – 26 March 2014) was a Chinese-French abstract painter acclaimed for his pioneering style integrating traditional Chinese painting techniques with Western abstract art. …

Chu Teh-Chun was born in 1920 in the town of Baitu in Xiao County, which was then in Jiangsu province but now part of Anhui province. In 1935 he entered the National School of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, graduating in 1941. At the school he studied Chinese painting under Pan Tianshou and Western art under Fang Ganmin and Wu Dayu, who were prominent Chinese artists trained in France. …

In 1945 Chu became a faculty member of the architecture department of the National Central University in Nanjing, then China’s capital. With the communist victory in mainland China, Chu moved to Taiwan in 1949, joining the National Taiwan Normal University where he taught Western-style painting. He moved to Paris in 1955, where he lived for the rest of his life. He became a French citizen in 1980, and a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1997. …

Inspired by Nicolas de Staël’s abstract landscape paintings, Chu abandoned figurative painting and adopted a unique style using bold strokes of colour which evoked Chinese calligraphy. His new style was immediately successful. In 1964, an exhibition of his works at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh brought him international fame. On 17 December 1997, Chu was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts of France, the first Frenchman of Chinese origin to be chosen. He was also made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 2001. His paintings are now in the permanent collections of more than 50 museums all over the world. Major exhibitions of his work were held at the Shanghai Art Museum in 2005 and Beijing’s National Art Museum of China in 2010.

27 Jul 2020

JAR Jewelry

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A tourmaline and diamond flower brooch, by JAR. Designed as two green and pink tourmaline poppy flowerhead and bud, linked by a green tourmaline scrolling stem centering upon a pear-shaped diamond. Sold for CHF 1,179,000 on 14 May 2012 at Christie’s in Geneva.

Christie’s monthly magazine has a feature on a jeweler you and I can start patronizing for gifts for the little woman just as soon as we sell off our 50,000-acre cattle ranches.

Nice stuff, though.

Joel Arthur Rosenthal produces only around 70 imaginative, meticulously crafted pieces a year, making them highly sought-after by movie stars, tastemakers and collectors the world over

There’s no shop sign or window display at 7 Place Vendôme — nothing that hints at the brilliance within beyond three discreet letters, JAR. Yet for jewellery collectors, this is a place of pilgrimage: the store of the acclaimed contemporary jewellery designer, Joel Arthur Rosenthal.

Born in New York City in 1943, Rosenthal graduated in art history and philosophy at Harvard before moving to Paris. There, he opened a needlepoint shop, where his experiments with unusual colours of yarn attracted the custom of designers for Hermès and Valentino. After working with Bulgari in New York, he returned to Paris, opening his own jewellery store with his partner, Pierre Jeannet, in 1977.

Diamond and coloured diamond Trellis rarrings, JAR. Estimate $150,000-200,000. Offered in Magnificent Jewels on 29 July 2020 at Christie’s in New York
Diamond and coloured diamond ‘Trellis’ rarrings, JAR. Estimate: $150,000-200,000. Offered in Magnificent Jewels on 29 July 2020 at Christie’s in New York

JAR, as he is generally known, is celebrated for his creativity and his craftsmanship. He pairs unusual gemstones with non-traditional materials and has a daring way with colour and proportion. The quality of his work recalls the jewellery of the 18th and 19th centuries. In 2013, he was the first living ‘artist of gems’ to be honoured with a retrospective at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

JAR only produces some 70 pieces a year. His ability to create jewels of unusual dynamism and architectural depth has made him a favourite with style icons, tastemakers and collectors the world over.

RTWT

20 Feb 2019

Nice Little Monet

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At Christie’s February 27th Sale:

Lot 11
— Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Saule pleureur et bassin aux nymphéas [Weeping willow and pond with water lilies]
stamped with signature ‘Claude Monet’ (Lugt 1819b; lower left)
oil on canvas
78 1/2 x 70 3/4 in. (199 x 180 cm.)
Painted in Giverny in 1916-1919.

Estimate “upon request,” meaning: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

20 Nov 2018

Your Library Needs This

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Christie’s — Sale 17162 — Russian Literary First Editions & Manuscripts: Highlights from the R. Eden Martin Collection, London, 28 November 2018.

Lot 68
DOSTOEVSKY, Fyodor (1821-1881). Brat’ia Karamazovy. [The Brothers Karamazov.] St Petersburg: Brothers Panteleev, 1881 [but December 1880].

Estimate
GBP 22,000 – GBP 30,000

(USD 28,754 – USD 39,210)

The first edition of Dostoevsky’s masterpiece, in a superb contemporary cloth binding – arguably the most attractive surviving copy of ‘the most magnificent novel ever written’ (Freud). Dostoevsky’s lifetime publications were typically issued in sober cloth bindings; this colourful and decorative binding is otherwise unrecorded and may have been commissioned by the publisher for presentation. Karamazov in any contemporary cloth is very rare; RBH and ABPC record only one: a set with only volume 1 bound in cloth (sold, Christie’s, 21 May 2014, lot 56). Kilgour 286.

Four parts in two volumes, octavo (210 x 143mm). With the half-titles and the final blank in vol. 1 (occasional light scattered spotting, mainly to the edges and some margins.) Contemporary decorative green cloth by V. Kiun with his printed label in the first volume; front covers with a large decorative block in gold, black and red incorporating the text ‘Sochineniia Dostoevskago’ [Works of Dostoevsky]; covers with a black foliate border; spines titled in gilt and tooled in gilt and blind; plain endpapers (negligible rubbing); custom brown morocco backed clamshell case. Provenance: ‘I 36’ (penciled press mark).

17 Nov 2017

Questionable Leonardo With Serious Condition Issues Sold for $450.3 Million at Christie’s

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New York Times:

After 19 minutes of dueling, with four bidders on the telephone and one in the room, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold on Wednesday night for $450.3 million with fees, shattering the high for any work of art sold at auction. It far surpassed Picasso’s “Women of Algiers,” which fetched $179.4 million at Christie’s in May 2015. The buyer was not immediately disclosed.

There were gasps throughout the sale, as the bids climbed by tens of millions up to $225 million, by fives up to $260 million, and then by twos. As the bidding slowed, and a buyer pondered the next multi-million-dollar increment, Jussi Pylkkanen, the auctioneer, said, “It’s an historic moment; we’ll wait.”

Toward the end, Alex Rotter, Christie’s co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art, who represented a buyer on the phone, made two big jumps to shake off one last rival bid from Francis de Poortere, Christie’s head of old master paintings.

The price is all the more remarkable at a time when the old masters market is contracting, because of limited supply and collectors’ penchant for contemporary art.

And to critics, the astronomical sale attests to something else — the degree to which salesmanship has come to drive and dominate the conversation about art and its value. Some art experts pointed to the painting’s damaged condition and its questionable authenticity.

“This was a thumping epic triumph of branding and desire over connoisseurship and reality,” said Todd Levin, a New York art adviser.

Christie’s marketing campaign was perhaps unprecedented in the art world; it was the first time the auction house went so far as to enlist an outside agency to advertise the work. Christie’s also released a video that included top executives pitching the painting to Hong Kong clients as “the holy grail of our business” and likening it to “the discovery of a new planet.” Christie’s called the work “the Last da Vinci,” the only known painting by the Renaissance master still in a private collection (some 15 others are in museums).

“It’s been a brilliant marketing campaign,” said Alan Hobart, director of the Pyms Gallery in London, who has acquired museum-quality artworks across a range of historical periods for the British businessman and collector Graham Kirkham. “This is going to be the future.”

RTWT

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Times Critic Jason Farago (speaking on behalf of the Establishment) does not like the painting or its buyer.

You can’t put a price on beauty; you can put a price on a name. When the National Gallery in London exhibited a painting of Christ in 2011 as a heretofore lost work by Leonardo da Vinci, the surprise in art historical circles was exceeded only by the salivating of dealers and auctioneers.

The painting, “Salvator Mundi,” is the only Leonardo in private hands, and was brought to market by the family trust of Dmitry E. Rybolovlev, the Russian billionaire entangled in an epic multinational lawsuit with his former dealer, Yves Bouvier. On Wednesday night, at Christie’s postwar and contemporary sale (in which it was incongruously included to reach bidders beyond Renaissance connoisseurs), the Leonardo sold for a shocking $450.3 million, the highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction. Worth it? Well, what are you buying: the painting or the brand?

The painting, when purchased at an estate sale in 2005 for less than $10,000, was initially considered a copy of a lost Leonardo, completed around 1500 and once in the collection of Charles I of England. Over time, its wood surface became cracked and chafed, and it had been crudely overpainted, as an image in the sale catalog shows. Cleaned by the conservator Dianne Dwyer Modestini, the painting now appears in some limbo state between its original form and an exacting, though partially imagined, rehabilitation.

Authentication is a serious but subjective business. I’m not the man to affirm or reject its attribution; it is accepted as a Leonardo by many serious scholars, though not all. I can say, however, what I felt I was looking at when I took my place among the crowds who’d queued an hour or more to behold and endlessly photograph “Salvator Mundi”: a proficient but not especially distinguished religious picture from turn-of-the-16th-century Lombardy, put through a wringer of restorations.

RTWT

30 Aug 2016

Smallsword Gifted by Benjamin Franklin

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BenFranklinSmallsword

Christie’s Sale 12186
Important American Furniture, Silver, Outsider and Folk Art

20 September 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Lot 854
THE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SILVER-HILTED SMALL SWORD
PROBABLY SPANISH, CIRCA 1760

Estimate USD 200,000 – USD 300,000

with tapering Colichemarde blade of hollow triangular section, etched at the forte with scrollwork, and engraved inscription (a 19th century addition) in French Epée que portait Benjamin Franklin dans les combats livrés en Amérique pour la cause de la Liberté. / Il la donna depuis à son ami P.J.G. Cabania (sic) [Sword worn by Benjamin Franklin in the battles fought in America in the cause of Liberty. / He then gave it to his friend P.J.G. Cabanis], silver hilt comprising symmetrical shell-guard, quillion-block, knuckle-guard and pommel (rear-quillion missing) pierced with scrollwork and stylised trophies, and grip bound with silver wire and ribbon; with brown leather scabbard with silver locket decorated en suite with the hilt and struck on the reverse with a silversmith’s mark, and later silver chape with iron finial; and later close-fitted velvet-lined leather-covered case with brass mounts
The sword: 33 ½ in. (85 cm.) blade; 40 3/8 in. (102.5 cm.) overall
The case: 42 5/8 in. (108.3 cm.) long

The locket (upper scabbard mount) bearing a silversmith’s mark of SS in a rectangle, determined to be that of Samuel Soumaine (1718-circa 1769) of Annapolis, Maryland and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

More here.


larger version here

20 Jun 2016

“Transfixed by her Beauty”

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Pauline-Tennant
Lucien Freud, drawing of Pauline Tennant, 1945

Christie’s Sale 13100, Defining British Art, 30 June 2016, King Street, London, Estimate: £2,000,000 – £3,000,000 ($2,844,000 – $4,266,000).

24 May 2016

Jack Kerouac: “The Greatest Piece of Writing I Ever Saw”

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CassadayLetter2

At Christie’s Books and Manuscripts Sale 12260, 16 June 2016, in New York, Neal Cassaday’s 40-page Lost Letter to Jack Kerouac, Lot 146, Estimated price: $400,000 — $600,000.

Considered ‘lost’ for 66 years, Neal Cassady’s visionary ‘Joan Anderson letter’ is a foundational document of the Beat era and the inspiration for Kerouac’s literary revolutions, beginning with On the Road.

Neal Cassady’s long-lost letter to Jack Kerouac, dated 17 December 1950, has permeated virtually every conversation about the Beat era. Referenced not only by Kerouac but by Allen Ginsberg, Laurence Ferlinghetti, Herbert Hunke, and a host of their contemporaries, Cassady’s fluid, incantatory, and deeply revealing prose influenced the entire generation of Beat writers.

The letter was written on a three-day Benzedrine high, Cassady later confessed. It contained, by Kerouac’s first calculation, at least 13,000 words and ran to 40 pages, offering a compelling, unaffected and discursive account of Cassady’s frenetic love life in 1946, particularly with Joan Anderson (whom he visited in a hospital after a failed suicide), and ‘Cherry Mary’, recounting an acrobatic escape through a bathroom window when they were surprised by Mary’s aunt. The uninhibited, non-literary narrative pointed the way to the free, truthful style to which Kerouac aspired.

Overwhelmed by what he read, Kerouac wrote ecstatically to Cassady on 27 December: ‘I thought it ranked among the best things ever written in America… it was almost as good as the unbelievably good ‘Notes from the Underground’ of Dostoevsky… You gather together all the best styles… of Joyce, Céline, Dosy… and utilize them in the muscular rush of your own narrative style & excitement. I say truly, no Dreiser, no Wolfe has come close to it; Melville was never truer.’

01 Apr 2016

A Pair of Boutet Pistols Given to Simon Bolivar by Lafayette

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BoutetPistols

Christies, New York, 13 April 2016, Sale 11898, Lot 36:

A MAGNIFICENT & IMPORTANT CASED PAIR OF FRENCH SILVER-MOUNTED RIFLED FLINTLOCK PISTOLS
BY NICOLAS-NOEL BOUTET, VERSAILLES, THE CASE DATED ‘1825’

With blued and gilt swamped octagonal barrels each cut with multi-groove rifling and decorated with gold-inlaid bands and finely engraved panels of foliage and Empire-style ornament, engraved and gilt breeches each struck with three maker’s marks, engraved and gilt tangs decorated en suite, silver fore-sights, blued flat bevelled locks each with roller, gold-lined rainproof priming-pan and fine gold-encrusted ornament involving foliage, a dragon and a wolf, the lower edge of each lock respectively signed ‘N.N. BOUTET A VERSAILLES’ and ‘MANUFACTURE ROYALE A VERSAILLES’ in gold, each with set trigger mounted on an engraved iron trigger-plate, exquisite silver mounts cast and chased with Classical ornament against a stippled gilt ground, comprising trigger-guards each with trophy of arms finial and winged deity with laurel wreath, rear ramrod pipes each with Medusa mask, pommels each with Hercules mask, and side-plates each depicting the mythical fight between the Centaurs and Lapiths at the wedding feast of Peirithous, original silver-mounted ramrods, and each with gold escutcheon mounted behind the barrel tang bearing the name ‘BOLIVAR’, in silver-bound close-fitted veneered case lined in green velvet, the lid with tooled and gilt red Morocco lining signed ‘MANUFACTURE ROYALE / à / VERSAILLES / 1825 / N.N. BOUTET / Le Dépôt de La Manuf.re a Paris. Rue Des Filles St. Thomas No.23’, the exterior with silver escutcheon signed ‘N.N. BOUTET A VERSAILLES’ with accessories including silver-gilt-mounted powder-flask with sprung nozzle and case-hardened bullet-mould, Paris silver marks for circa 1809-1818

Provenance

Gifted by General Gilbert Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, to Simón Bolívar, El Libertador, in 1825

Gifted (before 1830) by Simón Bolívar to Jose Ignacio Paris (d. 1848)
Enriqué Paris, son, by descent
By whom sold to Enriqué Grice (d. 1860), 7 July 1851
The collection of William Goodwin Renwick (1886-1971)
Sold Sotheby’s London, Highly Important Firearms from the collection of the late William Goodwin Renwick (European, Part III), 19 March 1973, lot 21
The collection of Clay P. Bedford (1903-1991)
A private Latin American collection
A private American collection

Estimate $1,500,000 – $2,500,000

16 Oct 2015

More Billionaires in China Than in USA

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DeBeersHourglass
Lot 20, De Beers, a Brass and Diamond Hourglass Timer, containing 2000 diamonds weighing roughly 36 Carats, Christie’s “Elements of Style Auction,” Shanghai, “24 October 2015

Fortune reports that Communist China now has more billionaires than the United States does.

Even with concerns over its economy, China can now claim to have surpassed the U.S. in one wealth indicator: the number of billionaires within its borders.

A survey conducted by The Hurun Report says China now has 596 billionaires, surpassing the U.S. tally for the first time (the U.S. has 537 billionaires, according to the report). If 119 billionaires from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao are added, Greater China owns 715 billionaires in the “Hurun Global Rich List.”

Christie’s, as you see (above) now holds auctions of preposterously expensive timepieces in Shanghai.

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