Toutes les enchères en un seul endroit

  • Autres

    84 617 En vente

    30 199 485 Vendu

  • 0—384 000 000 EUR
  • 19 mars 1988—10 août 2018

Filtres

Réinitialiser
- EUR
image
L'objet du jour!
Mulberry Scotchgrain Leather Weekend/Overnight Bag

Estimation basse: 170 EUR

Aimeriez-vous faire expertiser vos objets?

Envoyer des informations sur un objet valuation push image
Annonce

A superbly enamelled, fine and exceedingly rare pink-ground falangcai

Conjured out of immaculate kaolin clay with steep rounded sides flaring out just barely at the rim, fired plain in the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen and thereafter carted off to the Imperial Workshops beyond the walls of the Forbidden City in Beijing, most delicately painted using imported enamels finely ground and blended with four five-lobed azure-ground window panels the colour of a fair morning sky, each revealing respectively, narcissus with cinnamon rose, hibiscus, poppy with tuberose, and gardenia with mallow, each cluster with its characteristic stem and leaf, the panels reserved on a radiant pink enamel ground studded at the rim with single chrysanthemum sprays overturned, their petals dramatically jutting out towards the viewer, encircled round the footring by broad green leaves overlapping blue petals, centred with a multi-coloured florette, the emphatic European manner hinting the hand of a Jesuit master, the interior left white, the four character Kangxi yuzhi mark inscribed in puce enamel on the base within a square, the enamels brilliantly fired on the premises Provenance K.K. Chow, Shanghai, 1930/31. Bluett & Sons, London, 1931. Collection of Martin Erdmann, acquired in 1931. Christie's London, 17th November 1937, lot 73 (part lot). Bluett & Sons, London. Collection of Henry M. Knight (d. 1971), The Hague, Holland, acquired in 1938. Sotheby's Hong Kong, 20th May 1986, lot 123. Collection of the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo. Exhibited Oosterse Schatten: 4,000 Jaar Aziatische Kunst, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1954, cat. no. 368, illustrated pl. 23. Ceramics that Fascinated Emperors Treasures of the Chinese Jingdezhen Kiln from the Idemitsu Collection, Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo, 2003, listed in the catalogue. Literature Daisy Lion-Goldschmidt, Les Poteries et Porcelaines Chinoises, Paris, 1978 (1957), pl. XXV D. Sotheby's Hong Kong Twenty Years, 1973-1993, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 215. Imperial Alchemy: H.M. Knights Gold-Pink Falangcai Bowl Regina Krahl Alchemists have endeavoured to transmute base metals into gold since time immemorial, in cultures both east and west and were never in want of patrons. The reverse process ventures to transform gold into something even more desirable naturally, was rarer. To create a masterpiece such as the H.M. Knight falangcai bowl with its gold-derived pink surface colour required a patron with a remarkably open mind and chemists and artisans at the very forefront of their métiers. For all three to come together it took an auspicious moment in history. This ravishing bowl can be counted among the most ambitious projects of the imperial workshops in the Forbidden City under the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1662-1722), and among the most successful. The Kangxi Emperor was an extraordinary personality, fanatic in his thirst for knowledge, progressive in his belief in science, demanding in his quest for tangible results, and enlightened in his recruitment of brilliant minds and hands, whatever their background. The short-lived cooperation between imperial artists and artisans and European Jesuits inside the Forbidden City, under the watchful eye of their imperial patron, was a rare lucky episode for Chinas material arts that brought about works unimaginable just decades earlier, such as this amazing bowl. In all cultures, attempts at aurifaction, the quest to make gold, were intimately connected to the search for elixirs of long life. In China, the property of gold to take on a beautiful purple (zi yan) colour was admired already in the Han dynasty (206 BC AD 220) and purple gold (zi jin), probably a copper-gold alloy treated to acquire a purple patina, was held in the highest esteem throughout the countrys mediaeval past.1 Artificial gold, created through alchemical practices and often containing small amounts of gold, was considered propitious and beneficial and therefore superior to genuine gold, and there was no shortage of chemical experiments to create it. The secret of a purple colour achievable through gold remained in China, however, in the realm of philosophers, alchemists and natural scientists, and did not reach artists and artisans. In the West, gold had been used at least since late Roman times to colour red glass. The colouration is achieved through colloidal gold, that is, the suspension of nanoparticles of gold in fluids where, depending on their size and shape, they take on different tones of purplish red. The process of creating this so-called purple of Cassius, was first described by Andreas Cassius the elder (died 1673), published in 1684, but employed and made known to a wider audience only somewhat later, through a publication by the German glass maker and alchemist Johann Kunckel (1630s-1703), which appeared in print in 1716. This was a period, when alchemists in Italy, Germany and France worked actively both on the transmutation of metals and on the production of gold-ruby glass; and this was also the time, when Western Jesuits were trying to impress the Kangxi Emperor with new scientific methods and materials. The Kangxi Emperors establishment of workshops inside the Forbidden City, close to his own living quarters, where he could observe and comment scientific experiments and technical procedures first-hand, was a remarkably courageous undertaking. Not only were the noise, odours and dirt, which such factories necessarily produced, hazardous, and the fire-risk they posed, dangerous; but the presence of foreigners intent on proselytizing at the very seat of the empires power also represented a not inconsiderable, if less tangible, peril. French enamel wares had come to China with the first embassies exchanged between Louis XIV of France (r. 1643-1715) and the Kangxi Emperor in the 1680s, and the Emperor soon asked specifically to be sent European artisans able to make glass and enamels. Already in 1693, when fourteen new workshops were established in the Forbidden City, they included one falang workshop (falang denominating the foreign enamelling technique), and a glass factory was built in 1696.2 According to a letter written in 1716 by the Italian Jesuit painter Matteo Ripa (1682-1746), with the help of European know-how and the recruitment of European painters, enamelling work was well under way by then, but still in its early stages.3  When in 1719 a specialist enameller arrived at the court, the French missionary Jean-Baptiste Gravereau (1690-1762), his skills disappointed the Emperor. Copper, glass and porcelain were enamelled side by side in the enamelling workshops, and although the porcelain painters of Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province had long mastered the technique of enamel painting on porcelain, the Beijing workshops went a different route. The first enamellers there probably Westerners who had never worked with porcelain, which had only just begun to be made in Europe apparently considered the shiny porcelain glaze an unsuitable surface for the enamels to adhere. Besides experimenting with Yixing stonewares, they ordered custom-made porcelains partly or fully unglazed and left in the biscuit to be made in Jingdezhen and sent to Beijing for this new imperial adventure. For bowls like the present example, very specific orders must have gone out, to provide specimens with a glazed interior, rim, base and inside of the foot, and an unglazed exterior and outside of the foot. Enamels sent from Europe or custom-made at the imperial glass factory in Beijing provided a range of enamels very different from the wucai or famille verte palette in use at the same time at Jingdezhen. The main innovations were the European introduction of gold-ruby enamel, a transparent, deep purplish-red colour derived from colloidal gold; and the impasto use of a white enamel derived from lead-arsenate, that had been made in the glass workshops for some time, for use on cloisonné enamel wares, but only now was found to be highly effective on porcelains where, mixed with other enamels, it added a whole new range of opaque, pastel tones. Among the earliest porcelains successfully decorated in Beijing using a gold-based ruby colour may be a vase in the Palace Museum, Beijing, and a tripod incense burner in the Au Bakling collection, both supplied by Jingdezhen as fully unglazed biscuit vessels, the former with an engraved reign mark, the latter a blue enamel mark on the unglazed base; the vase is illustrated in Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 98, pl. 81; the censer was sold in our London rooms, 6th July 1976, lot 170 and is illustrated on the cover of Chinese Ceramics. Selected Articles from Orientations 1983-2003, Hong Kong, 2004. The Kangxi falangcai production lasted only for a few years and, being located inside the Forbidden City, remained a very small undertaking, with pieces individually designed and painted, and enamels specially mixed in small quantities. In spite of this individuality, it did not take long for a recurring style to appear, with large-scale formal designs of fanciful flowers on a yellow, blue or gold-ruby ground. Any other ground colours or designs are exceedingly rare. The kind of gold-pink seen on the present bowl stands out among the falangcai production of the Kangxi reign. Although our bowl is unique, it is particularly interesting that it has a brother in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, with a close family likeness, yet very different individual traits. The bowl from the palace collection features in numerous publications, was already included in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1935-1936, cat. no. 2154, and more recently in the exhibition Shenbi danqing: Lang Shining lai hua sanbai nian tezhan/Portrayals from a Brush Divine: A Special Exhibition on the Tricentennial of Giuseppe Castigliones Arrival in China, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2015, cat. no. I-19 (fig. 1). The two bowls share the same basic layout and extraordinary colours: As colloidal gold produces a translucent ruby, puce or purple colour, the opaque, delicate rose-pink of these bowls required admixture of the opaque white lead arsenate. The two enamels were combined more frequently in variegated shades to depict rose-pink flowers or other design details, but are known in this even, monochrome version, suitable as a ground colour, only from one other piece (listed below). Equally exceptional is the bright turquoise enamel that fills the lobed panels. The likeness between the two bowls, however, ends here: while they would seem to have been painted side by side, in the same workshop, using the same batch of specially mixed enamels, they were almost certainly painted by two different artists. The National Palace Museum bowl exhibits in the four roundels the classic Chinese rendition of flowers of the four seasons peony, lotus, chrysanthemum, and prunus with camellia painted in a traditional style, clearly by a Chinese hand, and the prunus-shaped panels evoke Chinese shaped windows or doors opening onto garden vistas. Unusual, and clearly revealing a Western presence nearby, are only the sheaves of tobacco leaves separating the four panels. The H.M. Knight bowl, on the other hand, deviates in many respects from the classic Chinese painting manner and is pervaded by a Western flair. The flowers daffodils with roses; hibiscus perhaps with buttercups; Turks cap lilies with poppies; and another rose and rose buds with gardenias cannot easily be put in a seasonal order, nor do the combinations lend themselves for interpretation as auspicious puns. The depiction of flowers against bright blue sky is not known in Chinese painting; the pendent green foliage with tips of blue buds, and the pink-and-orange rosettes do not derive from a Chinese decorative repertoire. Most extraordinary of all design elements on our bowl, however, are the small blue asters in the pendentives between the windows, depicted dramatically foreshortened, like the prunus windows themselves, as if the painter wanted to prompt us to pick up the bowl and turn it, so as to better appreciate the full design. This depiction of perspective, brought to China by European scientists and painters, was never really adopted by their Chinese counterparts. Similar blue asters, seen from various different angles, feature frequently in paintings by the Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), who was employed as a court painter; see, for example, the blue asters in the foreground of his painting Endless Longevity and Everlasting Spring, illustrated in Shenbi danqing, op.cit., cat. no. I-06 (fig. 2); or in Golden Pheasants in Spring, ibid., cat. no. V-02. Together with Ripa, Castiglione had at one point even been ordered by the Kangxi Emperor to paint in the enamelling workshop, and was also involved in preparing designs for Western enamellers.4  Similar blue asters appear also on some of the early Yixing pieces enamelled in the imperial workshops, see Qing gongzhong falangcai ci tezhan/Special Exhibition of Ching Dynasty Enamelled Porcelains of the Imperial Ateliers, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1992, cat. nos 10 and 11. The rendering of the decoratively paired flowers in the four windows may have been influenced by the styles of contemporary florilegia, exactingly painted flower books made popular by the German natural scientist and painter Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), which were widely distributed in Europe for their educational benefit as well as their aesthetic appeal, were much copied, and greatly influenced the decorative arts of the time. The present bowl and its companion in the National Palace Museum belong to the most remarkable and rarest pieces from that period. With their Western stylistic components, their original manner of decoration, and their pink reign marks, they most likely belong to the early porcelains painted in the Kangxi workshops, conceived before a certain degree of standardization set in, and before all marks were inscribed in blue; yet they are executed to perfection, painted and fired to satisfy the highest standards, and thus represent a distinct step ahead of the more obviously experimental pieces of that period. Among those, a very unusual shallow bowl in the National Palace Museum should be mentioned, painted in a somewhat naïve, large-scale, boneless Western style with red asters, similar to the blue ones on the present bowl, as well as roses, morning glories and pinks, all on a rare white enamel ground, also inscribed with a deep pink Kangxi yuzhi mark, illustrated, for example, in Shenbi danqing, op.cit., cat. no. I-14, where Yu Pei-chin writes it reminds one of the possibility that Western missionary-artists took part in painting painted enamelware at the time. Also worth comparing among the trial pieces is a bowl of similar shallow form with a purple ground that seems to be slightly misfired, illustrated in Shi Jingfei, Feng Mingzhu & Xie Zhenhong, Ri yue guanghua: Qing gong hua falang/Radiant Luminance: The Painted Enamelware of the Qing Imperial Court, Taipei, 2012, pl. 15, illustrated together with the white-ground bowl mentioned above, pl. 16, and together with an enamelled copper bowl with a flower design on an uneven purple ground, pl. 17. Gold-ruby or gold-pink enamel were rarely used as a ground colour for enamelled copper or for glass; only one rare enamelled glass cup of Kangxi mark and period, formerly in the collection of Barbara Hutton, is enamelled with flower roundels on a gold-ruby ground; it is illustrated in Hugh Moss, By Imperial Command: An Introduction to Ching Imperial Painted Enamels, Hong Kong, 1976, pl. 33, and was sold in our London rooms, 6th July 1971, lot 384, and in these rooms, 19th May 1982, lot 384, and again 15th November 1989, lot 557. Only one other piece of porcelain enamelled with the same or a similar gold-pink ground appears to be recorded, but painted with a formal flower pattern and inscribed with a blue enamel Kangxi mark: the bowl from the collection of Sir Percival David, later in the British Rail Pension Fund and then in the Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, sold in our London rooms, 5th December 1961, lot 39, and 12th/13th May 1976, lot 363, and in these rooms, 16th May 1989, lot 85; and illustrated in Sothebys Hong Kong Twenty Years, 1973-1993, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 214. It is interesting that gold itself was rarely used as a ground colour of porcelains, although two falangcai bowls with a gold ground are preserved in the Baur Collection, Geneva, both painted with a formal flower design, see John Ayers, Chinese Ceramics in the Baur Collection, Geneva, 1999, vol. 2, pls 162 and 164. In the West, Kangxi falangcai pieces had at least since the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition in London, 1935-1936, when the Chinese Government sent several examples, including the companion bowl now in Taipei, been recognised for what they are. In the 1960s and 70s, however, several scholars doubted them, since they seemed far too advanced to be accepted as dating from the Kangxi period. In 1976, for example, Margaret Medley wrote in The Chinese Potter (Oxford, 1976, p. 249) Neither technically nor stylistically can these have appeared as early as the Kang-hsi period, and it seems likely that the earliest date to which they can be assigned with any confidence is the very end of the eighteenth century. It was publications by the National Palace Museum, Taipei, such as Tsai Ho-pis exhibition catalogue Qing Kang, Yong, Qian ming ci/Catalog of the Special Exhibition of Kang-hsi, Yung-cheng and Chien-lung Porcelain Ware from the Ching Dynasty in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1986, that dispelled all doubts once more and truly opened our eyes to the beauty and quality of Kangxi falangcai porcelains. Henry M. Knight was a most discriminating collector who from 1930 practically until his death in 1971 assembled a major collection of Chinese ceramics and other works of art, focussing mainly on Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) porcelains, buying largely from Bluett & Sons, London. Roger Bluett wrote about him: Henry Knight, who built up perhaps the best collection of eighteenth-century porcelains in Europe as well as magnificent early pieces, was fond of telling how it was my late father who told him to buy Chinese taste porcelains. Their time would come, my father used to say, and how right he was.5 1 Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 5: Chemistry and Chemical Technology, part II: Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Magisteries of Gold and Immortality, Cambridge, 1974, p. 70 and p. 257-66. 2 Shih Ching-fei, A Record of the Establishment of a New Art Form: The Unique Collection of Painted Enamels at the Qing Court, Collections and Concepts, vol. 7, 2005, pp. 5-6. 3 George Loehr, Missionary-Artists at the Manchu Court, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 34, 1962-63, p. 55. 4 Loehr, op.cit., p. 51. 5 Roy Davids and Dominic Jellinek, Provenance. Collectors, Dealers and Scholars: Chinese Ceramics in Britain and America, Great Haseley, 2011, p. 276, quoting Arts of Asia, vol. 10, no. 6, 1980.

  • HKGHong Kong
  • 2018-04-02
Prix ​​d'adjudication
Voir le prix
Annonce
Annonce
Annonce

THE MAGNIFICENT FLORENTINE PIETRA DURA, EBONY AND ORMOLU CABINET MADE FOR THE 3RD DUKE OF BEAUFORT

THE MAGNIFICENT FLORENTINE PIETRA DURA, EBONY AND ORMOLU CABINET MADE FOR THE 3RD DUKE OF BEAUFORT BY THE GRAND DUCAL WORKSHOPS (GALLERIA DEI LAVORI) AND BACCIO CAPPELLI, THE BRONZE FIGURES OF THE FOUR SEASONS BY GIROLAMO TICCIATI, CIRCA 1720-1732 The cabinet of massive architectural form, the main part in three sections divided by crisply profiled stepped mouldings, fitted with ten cedar-lined drawers surrounding a central door enclosing a removable section with three smaller purpleheart and ebony-veneered cedar-lined drawers mounted with satyr mask and drapery ring handles, each drawer mounted with a panel edged with ormolu and banded with amethyst quarz, inlaid in brilliantly coloured semi-precious stones with birds perching and in flight among sprays of flowers, framed by pilasters in the central register panelled with lapis lazuli and Sicilian red jasper, the ormolu capitals centred by grey chalcedony (calcedonio di Volterra) masks joined by swags of ormolu foliage encrusted with hardstone fruit centred by a grey chalcedony lion-mask repeated at the sides, below a band of amethyst quartz mounted with cartouches of lapis lazuli in the centre and agate at the sides, the upper and lower sections with vertical amethyst quartz panels, the upper headed by female masks suspending fruit, the lower by grotesque masks, the frieze with concave-centred and bow-ended panels of lapis lazuli, red and green jasper (verde di Corsica); the stepped pediment centred by a clock face, studded with fleur-de-lys dividing the numerals, the brass back-wound falseplate timepiece movement with screwed dust-cover to the rectangular plates, four bossed pilars, going barrel train of five wheels and recoil escapement with steel crutch and silk-suspended pendulum with holdfast clip within the cupboard framed by pilasters and richly encrusted down-curved swags, surmounted by the Beaufort arms, supporters and motto in ormolu, lapis and red jasper, the angles mounted with four lightly draped ormolu standing figures emblematic of the Four Seasons; the sides fo the cabinet each centred by a large and brilliant panel of birds and a spray of flowers tied with red and blue ribbon with smaller panels of birds above and below; the cabinet supported on eight massive square tapering legs panelled with lapis lazuli and red jasper mounted with ormolu, the eared moulded edge mounted with S-scroll and shell plaques and satyr masks INSCRIPTIONS AND LABELS ON THE CABINET The cabinet has a label pasted onto the back of the removable central section inscribed in ink Taken from the North Breakfast Parlour & Cleaned By John Smith William Williamson Thomas Butler By the Orders of the 6 Duke of Beaufort -1813- taken of above 250 Pieces of Bronze The cabinet is also inscribed in pencil (below the third drawer down from the top on the right hand side) J.J. Smith April 1903 Cleaned Cabinet all over for Morants Bond Street and (on the inside backboard behind the removable centre section) Cleaned Easter 1903 In addition above the removeable centre section there is a pen and wash stretch of the front of a horse Further inscriptions and labels which were revealed during the restoration at Hatfields include two labels to the interior inscribed Giacomo Faggiani maestro di cassa del duca di beaufort à disfato questo gabbineto e nettato, e messo a scieme novembre 20 1775 badminton and a second April 1903 9th Duke of Beaufort This cabinet was cleaned and renovated and the missing parts replaced at the time the Drawing room was redecorated by J.S. Wallis of Morant & Co. 91 New Bond St. London NW. The movement of the clock is inscribed John Seddon St. James's London 1748. The central pietra dura plaque is inscribed to the reverse Baccio Cappelli Fecit Anno 1720 nella Galleria di S.A.R. and the plaque on the top left drawer bears a paper label inscribed No 1 Baccio Cappelli Fecit. THE DRAWINGS OF THE BADMINTON CABINET PREPARED BY THE GRAND DUCAL WORKSHOPS 1. VIEW OF THE FRONT OF THE CABINET WITHOUT THE BASE inscribed Scala di Braccia due à Panno Fiorentine and with a scale; black chalk, pen and brown ink, watercolour on two joined sheets, watermarks encircled fleur-de-lys (2) 1055 x 770 mm. 2. VIEW OF THE LEFT AND RIGHT SIDES OF THE CABINET inscribed with a scale; black chalk, pen and brown ink, watercolour on two joined sheets, watermarks encircled fleur-de-lys (2) 1056 x 785 mm. 3. VIEW OF A LEG inscribed Celle icy est la Boule/de Cuivre doré que/l'on pourrá ajouter/si l'on veut.; black chalk, pen and brown ink, watercolour 648 x 240 mm. THE BADMINTON CABINET by Alvar González-Palacios THE DUKE OF BEAUFORT'S VISIT TO ITALY AND THE ORIGINS OF HIS COMMISSION The maginficent Badminton Cabinet is the last great work of art made in Florence under the Medici. Standing almost 4 metres tall, it is also the most spectacular piece of furniture in private hands, and is documented indirectly before it was made. We refer to an account book of incidental expenses, kept by Dominique du Four who accompanied the 3rd Duke of Beaufort on his long Continental travels as a member of his household, which informs us that His Grace left Paris on 28 March 1726 and arrived in Florence on 27 April, remaining there until 2 May (document 18). As there is no evidence that he ever returned to the Tuscan capital it is highly probably that the decision to commission the Cabinet was taken at this time. B. Ford and J. Ingamells, A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1707-1800, New Haven and London, 1997, confirms from other sources the same dates that we had established. Two years later in a letter of 3 June 1728, the Duke's Roman agent, the architect and stuccoist Giovanni Francesco Guernieri, hinted at the existence of something being made for his master in Florence under the watchful eye of Thomas Tyrrel. If, as we shall see, we are quite well informed about Guernieri's activities, nothing surely was known until very recently of this Tyrrel. It seems that Tyrrel was found as a boy begging in Prague by the last Grand Duke Gian Gastone de Medici who took him back to Florence and ennobled him subsequently. He became well-connected with important tourists and died in Florence in 1753. Tyrrel was instrumental for the making of the Duke of Beaufort's Cabinet (B. Ford and J. Ingamells, 1997, p. 961). Guernieri writes to the Duke however that he had given instructions to the said Tyrrel to get the Duke's things ready so that they might be packed and sent to Leghorn (document 1). On 9 July, Guernieri, who in the meantime had left Rome for Leghorn to ensure that His Grace's acquisitions left for England in good order, wrote bitterly that in Florence, where he had stopped first, nothing was ready. He had, in fact, been there on 28 June when he met Tyrrel who had been instructed to supervise the executino of a 'Cabinet' in the Workshops of His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Tuscany. He went on to say that Tyrrel has told him that 'le dit cabinet' would not be ready until the end of October 1728 because of certain changes to the original plan, including an increased number of metal ornaments, framing elements, and additional work on the Ducal coat-of-arms (document 2). Guernieri's account of the unfinished state of the cabinet is confirmed by a note of 24 July 1728 from the Duke's shippers stating that more time was needed before 'the cabinet and other things' would be ready (document 3). THE SHIPMENT OF THE CABINET Some years later, early 1732, a number of payments to agents and a ship's captain in Leghorn for custom and transport charges, including 'Port for unshipping of Cabinet or 5 cases', appear, relating to goods belonging to His Grace (documents 14, 15 and 16). Once again Dominique du Four's account book helps to illuminate the sequence of events leading up to the final shipment of the cabinet. Du Four noted that he left Florence for Leghorn on 12 August 1732 with an unidentified cabinet-maker and his son, and that they remained there until the 20th, the day after 'Mylord Duc's' cabinet had been put on board. Finally, on 21 August 1732, Captain Daniel Pullam and the Oriana sailed for London with 'five large cases... containing the severall parts of a large Cabinett of his Grace the Duke of Beaufort', as stated by a receipt signed by the captain himself (document 19). Although there is no record where the Cabinet went immediately after its arrival in London, it is more than probable that it had always been destined for Badminton, especially as the note of 24 July 1728 mentioned above stated that it would eventually be sent 'on some good ship for London if none should offer for Bristoll about time' (document 3). This Cabinet is, therefore, likely to be the piece of furniture that gave its name to the Cabinet Room mentioned in a 1775 inventory of paintings (Badminton Muniments, RA 1/2/1). Here it was surrounted by carvings by Grinling Gibbons and a good number of Italian paintings: an Education of Jove and a satirical piece by Salvator Rosa, two canvases of ruins by Ghizzolfa (i.e. Ghisolfi), a Madonna and Child by Guernico, scenes of the life of Queen Esther by Pietro da Cortona, representations of the Liberal Arts by Trevisani, and a series of overdoors with ruins by Viviano (i.e. Codazzi) and a perspective view of the buildings of Rome by an anonymous artist. To finish up, on 30 May 1739, Captain Pullam petitioned the Duke to be reimbursed for financial losses which he had incurred during the shipping of the Cabinet when he had not only been forced 'not to take in any Ballast that should damage the cabinet' but had also had to buy a large quantity of cork to ensure its safety and this last he had resold in London much under cost (document 20). STYLISTIC ANALYSIS The research carried out, over the years, by the present author in the immense archives where the documents relating to the last Medicis and their financial administration are stored, has failed to yield any information about this cabinet, mainly because it is difficult to determine with any accuracy in which of the many departments of the Grand Ducal Administration documents about its commission and execution would have been recorded. It must be remembered that our Cabinet was paid directly by the Duke of Beaufort, a very rare occurance at the Galleria where everything was made for the Grand Duke, even if they were intended as gifts. Although it was not the habit of the Grand Ducal Workshops to accept work from private individuals, the Duke of Beaufort's exalted social position and the close political contacts which his family, known for its Jacobite sympathies, cultivated with highly placed personages, such as the Papal Secretary of State, Cardinal Lercari, undoubtedly influenced the negociations leading to the commission. If, on the one hand, contemporary Galleria documents are of little help in establishing the background of this Cabinet, its figurative language, on the other, gives clear indications about its artistic origins. To begin with, simple stylistic analysis is all that is needed to identify the sculptor who executed the models for the statuettes of The Four Seasons, placed at the angles of the upper corners. He is called Girolamo Ticciati (died in Florence in 1744), and the waxes and their corresponding moulds figure in an inventory of models acquired by Carlo Ginori for the Porcelain Manufactory at Doccia, founded in 1743. The waxes have since disappeared but the moulds are still to be found in the Doccia Museum (fig. 1) and are listed in a well known document (K. Lankheit, Die Modellsammlung de Porzelanmanufaktur Doccia, Munich, 1982, p. 130). The unusual facial type of the Four Seasons on the Beaufort Cabinet is that found on Ticciati's only known bronze, the signed Christ and the Samari tan, executed in 1724 for the Electress Palatine and now in the Royal Palace, Madrid (J. Montagu, Gli ultimi Medici, exh. cat. Florence, 1974, no. 98 bis). It is certainly relevant to this argument that Ticciati's contemporary biographer, F. M. N. Gabburi, noted that the sculptor had prepared four busts of The Seasons which he had sent to England (K. Lankheit, Florentinische Barockplastik, Munich, 1 962, p. 230). TICCIATI AND GALLERIA PRACTISE Ticciati was a pupil of Giovanni Battista Foggini, who was Director, until his death in 1725, of the Galleria dei lavori, or Grand Ducal Workshops. The Beaufort Cabinet bears, moreover, all the hallmarks of that sumptuous style created by Foggini during the twilight years of the Medici dynasty: every one of the decorative motifs continues and, at the same time, develops the great artist's favourite forms, thus bringing the maximum splendour to the characteristic juxtaposition of ebony, gilt-bronze and hardstone of Florentine Court furniture. It should be borne in mind, when looking for the work of individual hands in such a piece, that during the years needed to construct this edifice destined for a room, no less than thirty craftsmen would have been involved. 152 in. (386 cm.) high; 91½ in. (232.5 cm.) wide; 37 in. (94 cm.) deep

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 2004-12-09
Prix ​​d'adjudication
Voir le prix

The Last Supper

Signed in Chinese and Pinyin and dated 2001, framed The Last Supper The Annunciation of a New Age “All along I wanted to find an artistic voice that belonged solely to me, without being affected by any great masters.” Zeng Fanzhi is an artist whose renown is unparalleled in the world of Chinese contemporary art. Beginning with an artistic career in 1991 with Western mediums, Zeng Fanzhi’s journey has stretched past two decades; transitioning from his earlier role as a young novice studying Western Expressionism, to culminating in quintessentially Chinese renderings. He has exhibited extensively abroad, including at a solo exhibition at London’s Gagosian Gallery at the end of last year, and is looking forward to a large-scale retrospective show at Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris at the end of this year, all of which are indications to his status as an artist whose heritage, while expressed in Western mediums, comes through in highlighting an individual Chinese flare. Zeng’s celebrated Mask series, which began in 1994, explored the plight of the modern city-dweller; serving as a valid portrayal of a decade’s worth of economic growth, exploring the quandaries and anxieties of the Chinese adapting to such urbanisation at the time. Stylistically, these works exude an air of Western Expressionism, and are sprinkled with the essences of British artists Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud; yet they are undeniably based on Zeng’s own personal memories, steeped in distinct Chinese symbols, a unique blend which has paved the way in allowing the Mask series to become one of the artist’s most recognisable and popular works. Within this series is the 2001 piece, The Last Supper, the largest work within the Mask series itself. Through deconstructing Leonardo's masterpiece, the work ultimately presents to us the existential condition of the Chinese people during the period when China entered the world market, and the absurdity within the destruction and rebuilding of a society. Measuring four metres long by two metres and twenty centimetres high, the work is stretched onto one single, vast canvas, and is a product of the artist’s most mature period; a pinnacle in the history of Chinese  contemporary art. The original work is also amongst one of the most important pieces in Baron and Baroness Guy and Myriam Ullens de Schooten’s private collection. The present The Last Supper is derived from its Italian Renaissance counterpart, the masterpiece crafted by the illustrious Leonardo da Vinci. The Last Supper by Leonardo, hailed as one of the most important artists of the Renaissance, is considered the inception of the entire Renaissance period. Leonardo, who is an artist deeply revered by Zeng himself, was also the first artist he was ever truly fond of. Many artists have sought inspiration from this piece so steeped in mystery; giving way to countless reproductions and renditions. The original The Last Supper is located on the north wall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie’s refectory in Milan, and measures nearly nine metres in length. It depicts the narrative of Christ’s last supper with his twelve disciples, before his arrest by Roman soldiers. The piece captures the moment Jesus predicts his traitor, and encapsulates the shock on his apostles’ faces upon hearing this; while we glimpse Judas’ frenzy in great contrast to the benevolent Christ. Created in 2001, Zeng Fanzhi’s The Last Supper substitutes its prototype’s religious figures with mask-wearing Young Pioneers, while they dine on watermelons and don red scarves. The artist especially invited a group of youths to serve as models for the piece. After taking an individual shot of every posture, he would further render red scarves and service stripes above the compositional framework. On the other hand, the fierce calligraphic brushwork behind was inspired by famous scriptures often seen inside classrooms. The reinterpretation of a traditional religious setting into a classroom at once points to not only the dynamic of space in the work but also the overall notion of absurdity. The present piece is imbued with metaphors scrutinising Chinese economic growth; the red scarves representing Communist ideals and a symbol of “Collectivism”, while a golden-tie-wearing “Judas” is nestled in this cluster. To Zeng, this signified a departure from Communist ideals, commenting, “The golden tie represents money and Western capitalism, and China only started wearing these ties after the mid-1980s.” In this way, to wear a tie thus unwittingly symbolised a transformation in Chinese society. This is an intricate parallel to the 1990s, when China was in the midst of a fierce transformation period where enterprises moved away from collective ideals and turned towards the mode of individual entrepreneurship. Through this process, some immediately stood out among others with their skills and abilities, acquired greater wealth, and finally left behind the so-called collective lifestyle. For the artist, these people are the ones who have disrupted the already established direction of the society. Through using the image of Jesus, the artist in this work references to the leader of China when faced with the impact of an eventual “betrayal” of his people, predicting, “One of us here will go onto the path of capitalism.” This person is precisely the figure with the golden yellow tie. The acute red hues of the watermelon not only represent the Chinese nation, but also, similar to the Meat and Hospital series, refers to motifs of violence and desire. According to the drawing, the artist originally wanted to portray the setting of the work in the Great Hall of the People, where emblems of the Chinese Communist Party adorned the ceiling of the hall with several large red flags behind the figures. In the end, the artist decided to replace the scene with the classroom setting, which exceptionally expresses a much more profound approach in exploring the meaning of times. Zeng’s The Last Supper, with its air of splendour, has captured the societal and economic changes in China in the 90s, while at the same time documenting the ways in which the Chinese society faces the eventual arrival of capitalism, making it an immensely representative work within the realm of Chinese contemporary art. The Last Supper showcases an extremely mature and refined technique, as Zeng situates Western Expressionism within a heavily Chinese realm. The artist reveals, “All along I wanted to find an artistic voice that belonged solely to me, without being affected by any great masters.” Fittingly, Zeng returned to a traditional Chinese culture at the end of the 1990s, paying especial attention to Song dynasty paintings. During a period of exploration that would span over a decade, Zeng oscillated between Abstract paintings and Figurative renderings, before eventually arriving at an amalgamation of East and West, thus forging his own artistic path, emanating wave upon wave of the miao wu characteristic of Chinese shanshui works. All of which are great feats indeed, considering how this artistic expedition began in a much simpler time and place, with a Wuhan teenager’s sole desire to one day create. Youth, Expression, Desire Looking back towards the Hospital and Meat series from Zeng Fanzhi’s early Wuhan period, we are still undeniably captivated by the compelling images of the works. Born in 1964 in Wuhan, Hubei, Zeng had early on developed a very strong sense of individuality. In his twenties, the young artist had attracted critical attention with his graduation thesis project. Heavily influenced by Western Expressionism, the use of exaggerated figural proportions and striking visual contrasts by the artist effectively dramatised the suppressed emotions and anxieties of the Chinese people under the political pressures of the 1990s. Zeng’s early career is a true testament to reflect the artist’s insistence on creating his own artistic style under and against the collective norm. His failure to earn the red scarf as a Young Pioneer and isolation in school, combined with his introspective character, had fostered a subconscious resistance against social organisations on a whole. Zeng instead insisted on his own individual identity and distanced himself from others in his age group, especially after high school. Memory inspired him artistically, and his experience with the Young Pioneers has continued to affect his work. As the critic Karen Smith observed, “The Hospital and Meat series are naked expressions of his anxieties, emotional injuries, and sense of failure. His painting style originates from his internal turmoil.” After high school, Zeng Fanzhi had no interest in continuing a conventional education. Rather, he learned to draw and sketch at the local Youth Culture Palace at night. He visited Beijing several times to see exhibitions by Robert Rauschenberg, Zao Wou-ki and other masters, which inspired the young Zeng Fanzhi to apply to art school later. However when he finally gained admission to the Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, he was dissatisfied with its strict requirements and conservative pedagogical approach. “Before I went to art school, I would explore all possible creative means to achieve the effects I wanted, but in school new techniques were censured.” The institute largely followed the tenets of Soviet Socialist Realism, whose formulaic nature and lack of emotional investment were disparate from Zeng Fanzhi’s sensibilities. He soon rejected its instruction and pursued his own path. Zeng had always been most interested in Western modern art. German Expressionism, like Max Beckmann’s work (Fig. 4), especially inspired him. “I was interested in expressing an individual’s attitude and thoughts, and tried to do so in unmediated responses. My goal was to convey the individual’s expressions, emotions, thoughts, and my own feelings about him or her. I could capture these things and represent them in painting in a few hours, but not within the confinements of the classroom.” The pursuit of personal emotional expression was a necessary component of the artist’s search for artistic individuality. Zeng Fanzhi chose eyes—the windows to the soul—to express his subjects’ emotions and to emblematise his personal pictorial idiom. The haunting eyes in his later Mask series can already be seen in his few early works, such as the highly expressionistic Dusk Number One from 1990. Here a man is prostrate in the middle of the composition, with closed eyes and a painful expression, while another man in a mask stands with an umbrella on the right. The second man’s disproportionately large eyes are staring spiritedly at the viewer, prefiguring Zeng’s later Mask series. What truly distinguished Zeng Fanzhi as an artist was his triptych Hospital series of the early 1990s, the most important works in his early career. He exhibited the first triptych in his graduation exhibition at the Hubei Institute of Fine Arts. The work caught the eye of the critic Li Xianting, who invited him to participate in the then upcoming “China’s New Art Post-1989” exhibition. The second triptych was exhibited at the 1992 Guangzhou Biennial to well acclaim by national critics. Hospital Triptych No. 1 (Fig. 1) is composed of three hospital scenes. The left panel depicts a waiting room, with patients standing on the left and a row of patients seated on the right, with their gazes revealing their anxiety. The central panel shows an operating room where masked doctors holding knives are gazing intently at a patient and about to operate on him. It is unclear whether the patient, lying immobile on his back, will be saved or slaughtered. The rightmost panel depicts the interior of a hospital ward, with patients sleeping on two rows of iron-framed beds. A naked patient is seemingly convulsing in pain, providing a stark contrast with the smiling doctor in the foreground. These scenes are based on the Wuhan No. 11 Hospital near Zeng Fanzhi’s home. He was inspired by the hospital’s atmosphere and took many photographs there. He saw in the patients’ fragility and suffering the general existential conditions of the modern Chinese. “Every day I saw patients standing in line waiting to be seen. Every day I saw emergencies and desperate treatments. Suddenly I thought: here is the feeling I want to paint.” By depicting suffering of the flesh and soul, Zeng was able to paint in a fully expressionistic manner and release all his suppressed emotions. In Hospital Triptych No.1 Zeng has graduated from simple imitation of expressionism to developing his own unique style. “At last, when I painted the hands and heads in Hospital, I found the appropriate feeling. In the last panel I moved the brush in a reverse direction, and achieved the feeling I wanted.” Using the triptych format common in Western religious art, he sought to create a sense of dramatic tragedy and meditate on human suffering, sin, and absolution. Hospital Triptych No.1 opened new expressive possibilities for Zeng Fanzhi. In his subsequent Meat series, he took meat stalls as his subjects—metaphors like the hospital scenes. In Meat (Fig. 2), a representative work of this series, Zeng paints a bare-chested man standing in front of many pig carcasses in similar colours and technique, thus suggesting a connection or even conflation between the two. If human bodies are to be bought and sold like pork in China, what about souls? The Meat series also influenced Zeng’s subsequent development. Whereas Hospital Triptych No.1 is painted primarily in brown tones, Hospital Triptych No.2, painted in 1992 and exhibited at the Guangzhou Biennale of the same year, has a new blood-red palette. Hospital Triptych No.2 has the same format and dimensions as the first work, but is technically more sophisticated. The three panels are all compositions of healthcare workers and patients. Inspired by Michelangelo’s Pieta, the central panel poses a female nurse and a patient as the Virgin and Christ, further heightening the solemnity and piety inherent in the triptych format. An eloquent testament to the existential struggles between suffering and salvation, this important early work won an award of excellence at the Guangzhou Biennale, which gave the artist important encouragement. The Hospital and Meat series together constitute two major creative endeavours by Zeng Fanzhi in his early career and testify to his profound explorations of the human condition. It is in the next year, when Zeng Fanzhi moved from Wuhan to Beijing, that ultimately inspired the creation of the Masks series, earning the artist worldwide renown. Era of Masquerade The fateful move to Beijing was inevitable; it was in this flourishing art centre where Zeng Fanzhi believed his art would gain recognition from a wider audience. Tracing the hidden psychological distress of the Chinese population in the 1990s when China underwent series of rapid economic and social advancement, unbeknownst to Zeng at the time, Mask series would ultimately become the most significant body of works ever created in the history of contemporary Chinese art. The portraits of ominous masked figures not only unravel the pervasive sense of doubt and uncertainty underlying the seemingly celebratory moment in China’s history, but also document Zeng Fanzhi’s own inner struggle in understanding the convoluted modern world. Unlike artists of his time who rely on the mere power of formulaic symbols, the artist’s relentless pursuit of excelling his own artistic style has contributed to the dramatic aesthetics shift in the series, breaking away from the predominantly Expressionist features in his Meat and Hospital series. It is also through the Mask series that the artist truly heightened his own stylistic framework of the portraiture form, gaining recognition from scholars and critics across the international art front. The fast changing living condition and new social environment in the metropolis, especially the false dynamic between city dwellers, immediately daunted upon the artist at first sight. “Friends whom I can share feelings with were terribly few. Our interactions seemed too much a mere deed of socialising.” Zeng instead began to search for a thematic language that could appropriately express the feelings of isolation, confusion, and upset. What came through were series of portraits of stoic masked figures. “With masks,” Zeng explained, “people keep a certain distance from each other, closing the path of really knowing another. When everybody is hiding their true selves and desires, what they show to us is in fact nothing but a mask.” In the early works from 1994, the forceful Expressionistic brushwork from the Hospital series remained in the rendering of the isolated masked figures. However, as if attempting to disguise this layer of turmoil beneath, the artist would smoothen the surface of the paint with the palette knife, hiding away any lingering emotional traces. The number of figures on the canvas was limited to merely one or two. While they appear to go about their everyday lives, with some even showing affectionate gestures to each other, the undeniable presence of the mask so tightly clasped onto their faces boldly defies and shatters any notion of truth and sincerity. Furthermore, the huge protruding hands, hollowed eyes, and bloody skin tone are clear signs of betrayal to the almost perfect persona donned by these figures. In a way, the hollowness of the enlarged eyes strangely captures the awkward and expressionless ethos in other Western portraiture works such as Lucian Freud’s Portrait of John Minton (Fig. 16), in which a close up shot of Freud’s friend and painter John Minton is depicted. The prominent facial structure showcased through the shadows and lines in Freud’s work are suggestively re-interpreted in the scrawny hands of the figures in Zeng’s works. The expressive brushwork also resembles the powerful contours found in Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne (1966) by Francis Bacon. However, within this parallel, the heavy societal implications through the process within Zeng Fanzhi’s work have arguably far transcended the legacy set by the two visionary painters. “The scraper was able to remove the exciting strokes, entirely, and leave the calmness, hiding the excitement inside. I didn’t change the hand because I believe there are things in the world that can’t be really changed.” The Mask series is in essence a portrait of irony and paradox that exist within the mind and soul of every city inhabitant. The aesthetics transition is also a timely witness to the rapid modernisation of the Chinese society. When examined closely, the masks in the very early works are identical lifeless masquerades similar to cold crafted commodity. In Mask Series No. 1 (Fig. 3) from 1994, a man in the painting is seen holding onto a brown animal mask. The mask is clearly rendered as a separate entity from the figure, suggesting the incongruent notions of ennui and mischievousness in modern society. The alienated features of the mask also echo the primitive appearance of the African mask in Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (Fig. 9) from 1907. While Picasso’s piece explored the notion of Primitivism that was considered outside of the Eurocentric hemisphere, the peculiarity of the animal mask here instead questions the ideal of the norm within society. “No one appears in society without a mask. Or is this perhaps just the awkwardness of modern people?” Throughout the series, these stoic masks would take on and embody various expressions from smiling to screaming, fitting seamlessly with the facial contours of hidden figure behind. From the mid to late 1990s, the outlines and costumes of the figures have become more refined in technique. The accompanying backdrops also became more eclectic, often rendered in bright hues such as pink, yellow, and blue, or into elaborate settings. Such a prime example can be seen in Mask Series No. 6 (1995) (Fig. 5), an especially sentimental piece to feature a lone masked boy standing amidst a flower garden. Behind him we witness a plane flying across the vast blue sky, leaving behind a stream of white diagonal smoke. The stylistic vibe of the flowers and the plane, symbols of prosperity and technological advance respectively, have departed into delicate shades and lines, creating an inherent detachment between the boy and his surroundings. Together with the drop of the two tears, this would serve as a direct antithesis to the red scarf and arm band adorned on the boy and the nationalistic ideal of the country. In the beginning of the millennium period, the composition and aesthetics subtly and gradually gravitate towards an increasingly abstract pictorial interest. The mature and magnificent work The Last Supper is certainly the epitome of this period’s creation. As can be seen in Mask Series (2001) (Fig. 8), where a lone masked figure is standing atop a grand landscape in a meticulously rendered black outfit. The extreme attention to details is shown through the reflection of the brimming background on the coat. At the same time, the skyline is no longer in one tone, but rather swims between shades of purple, black, and white, softly alluding to the buoyant hues within Mark Rothko’s paintings as exemplified in Blue and Grey from 1962 (Fig. 12). While Rothko stresses on the sense of the unknown and intimacy between human and nature, Zeng utilised this as a departure point in questioning the ephemeral virtue of human survival. At the same time, the composition and brushwork from the Mask series in this period would slowly move towards the abstract realm. This fluidity in the painterly surface as seen from Mask series (2001) has moved away from the earliest body of works, and as we will see later, contributing heavily to the increasingly abstract landscape works in the post-Mask series period. The ten year long journey in the Mask series has documented an important stage within Zeng Fanzhi’s career. From the initial struggle in understanding the meaning of individuality in the modern world, to breaking away from the barrier of self-doubt and misunderstanding, each work in the series is a piece to the puzzle that together form the complete facet of both the artist’s mental and artistic development. As Li Xianting noted on his works from the later period, “Zeng Fanzhi’s figures have learned to relax.” Boundless Landscapes At the turn of the millennium, Zeng’s canvases swelled to incorporate vast landscapes. His exhibitions would also look beyond the boundaries of China, starting with a Parisian exhibition in 2002 at the Pierre Cardin Centre. In transitioning into what would eventually become known as his Landscape works, Zeng consolidated his by-then well-known Expressionist inclinations with new, indiscriminately Chinese undertones. These works combine many elements of classical Chinese works, such as landscape drawings (shanshui hua) and the tradition of scroll paintings (shoujuan hua).  And yet, while looking into the past, the artist also tirelessly developed and perfected his own techniques, including the “wet-on-wet” method. Most notably, this period is characterised by Zeng’s complete trust in his own intuition and skill, as seen in stunning pieces of work that feature instances of miao wu (“marvellous revelation”) and luan bi; as stroke upon stroke is yet another reminder of the artist’s craft. In the early 2000s, Zeng produced a series of portraits that depicted figures covered in marks. Beginning with the We series, one sees the artist leaving behind his masks in favour of such circular loops. The figures in Zeng’s pieces were now veiled by loops and scours. This shift represented a vital transitional stage that looked both backward to and forward from his Mask pieces. In an attempt to grow apart from this identity of being merely the “Mask Artist”, Zeng went through a vital yet short transitional period of experimentation, first identifiable by faces that were covered in dizzying loops. This short series, which spanned a period of only two years, between 2002 to 2004, included works such as I from 2004 (Fig. 10), where a barely distinguishable face stares out from the canvas. In such works, Zeng left a minimal amount of features, as the spiral strokes obliterated all remnants of clear features. By using this technique, Zeng systematically erased any trace of individuality. This intermediate period was also filled with the experimentation of Zeng’s later “wet-on-wet” technique. In pieces such as The Composition of Fan No. 2 from 2002 (Fig. 14), the artist would use his palette knife to drag wet paint into the form of a fan, while vague outlines of Chinese calligraphy is semi-concealed in the background of this object. This is a heavy evocation of Zeng’s later preoccupation with Chinese culture, which he would begin to incorporate into canvases in the form of backgrounds of calligraphy. For instance, these calligraphic jottings peek through in the 2000 A Series No. 1 (Fig. 13), where included amongst red mountains are wisps of Chinese characters. Such calligraphy is remnants of Zeng’s childhood memories, where he grew up in classrooms adorned with political slogans. This time period also saw the emergence of works such as Zeng’s Great Men series that relays  characters in an abstract manner, as if alluding to the people rather than depicting them outright. While still working with the smearing and scraping techniques from his older works, the artist developed the aforementioned “wet-on-wet” technique in conjunction to this, which involves dragging paint, while still wet, to form more strokes. This method also involved layering paint upon paint, creating heavily tactile works that boasted both weight and depth. Just as this internal shift was taking place, Zeng suffered an injury to his right hand in 2002, which prompted the artist to begin experimenting with his opposite hand. Eventually this would result in the artist’s ambidextrous abilities, where two paint brushes in either hand would be used to paint simultaneously on canvases. Strangely and also rather fittingly, Zeng also developed a technique of painting with two brushes in one hand. While the former was governed by habit, training and control, the latter was left to intuition and chance. This method, also known as Zeng’s luanbi technique was poised between the conscious and subconscious; as the artist’s pieces took on a freer, more unbridled feeling. The real pinnacle of the artist’s expansion however was the years 2003 to 2004, when Zeng’s many experimentations so far would give way to a grounded technique; where abstract lines transitioned into order and control. According to art critic Lü Peng, it was truly during this time that the artist decided to look inwards, towards traditional Chinese shanshui hua. Shanshui hua, which is literally “mountain and water paintings”, is a quintessentially Chinese form of landscape painting. Executed in ink and water, traditional landscape paintings were symbolic of man’s connection to nature as well as the cosmos at large. As can first be seen from his Sky series, various individuals—from children to important figures such as Mao—would find themselves against blushing skies of pinks and reds, which would later evolve into cobalt blues and speckled greys. As the artist reveals, “The inspiration (for the Sky series) came from my childhood; merely looking up at it would ignite in me a wondrous imagination. The skies would stay by our sides as we walked down the roads, and until now, I can still hear the sounds it made; still smell its scent.” Zeng’s childhood thus finds echoes of itself in such works. Directly following this time, between the years of 2004 and 2008, Zeng entered the most mature movement of his artistic direction with the development of guohua, which is the contemporary name given to the traditional style of Chinese painting, literally meaning “national painting” or “country painting” in order to emphasise its opposition to Western works. The 2012-2013 “Zeng Fanzhi” show at the Gagosian in London further established Zeng’s alignment with traditional Chinese works. One can find aspects in the artist’s works, from the backgrounds of the paintings, the usage of shui mo and light-handed flicks of gongbi, seen in the concentrated clusters of strokes on his characters’ faces. Zeng was also especially intrigued by the use of lines in Tang Dynasty works, which were filled with emotion and texture. This use of contours predates its Western equivalents, and is particularly evocative of an Eastern spirit that Zeng was keen to express in his own works. One such set of examples can be seen in Zeng’s delicate interpretations of Western great masters. Starting with literally drawing his heroes, such as Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon, and in so doing, appropriating renowned masters into his works, Zeng is aligning himself with an art history that he has irrefutably become part of. The care with which the artist reproduces renowned works can be seen in Zeng’s wispy furs of Albrecht Dürer’s Field Rabbit, or even the feathery beard of Head Study of an Old Man (Fig. 18), or perhaps yet, the veiny folds of Praying Hands, all of which were reproduced just last year by Zeng. Most peculiarly however, in spite of the oil medium that these great Western works are produced with, one senses the influence of not Expressionism or Abstract paintings, but rather, of guohua. By way of conclusion, one turns to the sense of tranquillity that now populates Zeng’s works. Drawn with a miao wu influence, Zeng’s works are freer, less trapped, and in spite of the seemingly desolate landscapes that inhabit his works, there is an undeniable sense of hope, glimmering beyond the pines and branches that veil his pieces. Zeng’s renown has not ceased growing, much like how his reputation has not diminished in the least since his Mask series, as can perhaps be seen from his upcoming exhibition in October of this year, at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, one of the most famous exhibition locations in the world. His works, which exhibit a shift from desolation to hope is indicative of a new movement for the artist; a new venture into newer, calmer lands where heaviness gives way to lightness, where a union of the two worlds that are central to Zeng’s art—East and West—is forged.

  • HKGHong Kong
  • 2013-10-05
Prix ​​d'adjudication
Voir le prix

Red House

Peter Doig oil on canvas Painted in 1995-1996. “We’ve all experienced the sensation of light dropping and producing strange natural effects, and I think in a way I am using these natural phenomena and amplifying them through the materiality of paint and the activity of painting.” – Peter Doig“I am always interested in what we miss when we try to focus on what we see.” – Peter DoigPainted between 1995 and 1996, Red House captures the breakthrough moment in Peter Doig’s artistic development when the thick impasto of his early 1990s paintings thawed to reveal diaphanous miasmas of translucent color. Created in the immediate aftermath of his Turner Prize nomination in 1994 which propelled him to international recognition in the art world, Red House meditates on many of the same formal concerns as his masterpiece Ski Jacket, 1994, Tate, London, which was included in this pivotal exhibition. Both paintings find their precedent in Blotter, 1993, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Though these paintings marked a fundamental shift in Doig’s handling of paint, the core tenets of his practice, namely that of the slippage between reality, imagination, and memory, still remain the nexus from which his formal concerns orbit. Red House was featured in the artist’s seminal 1998 solo exhibition Peter Doig: Blizzard Seventy-Seven, which traveled from the Kunsthalle Kiel, to the Kunsthalle Nuremberg, and finally to the Whitechapel Gallery London – the same institution that featured his work when he won the Whitechapel Artist Prize in 1991. Other works featured in the 1998 exhibition that, like the present one, illustrate the crucial inflection point in Doig’s oeuvre included Boiler House, 1994, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Ski Jacket, 1994, Tate Modern, London; Pine House (Room for Rent), 1994; Bird House, 1995, Kunsthalle zu Kiel; Camp Forestia, 1996; Figure in Mountain Landscape, 1997-98, Pinchuk Art Center, Kiev.In Red House, Doig sets a striking red house against an ethereal, expansive twilight sky built up from a rich kaleidoscope of intricately veiled layers of colors. The scene slips in and out of focus, with otherworldly, spectral-like figures dissolving into the chromatic landscape. Shards of bare birch trees interrupt the composition, their ice-encrusted trunks, conveyed through delicate washes of blue glaze that branch out into lacey webs against the speckled sky. Doig creates tension in the image by juxtaposing the enveloping glow built up from thinned down pigment against the impastoed blobs and stippled splashes of paint that operate to at once convey a sense of depth, and to reiterate the very nature of the medium. Doig revels in these dichotomies that his painterly style elicits, noting "I am always interested in what we miss when we try to focus on what we see" (Peter Doig, quoted in Harald Fricke, "Drifter: An Interview with Peter Doig”, db artmag, 2004, online).This statement seems to find its purest articulation in the thin trunk that starkly cleaves the composition through its vertical axis. The tree acts as a line of demarcation for what Doig calls the “peripheral or marginal sites, places where the urban world meets the natural world. Where the urban elements almost become, literally, abstract devices” (Peter Doig, quoted in Adrian Searle, Peter Doig, London, 2007, p. 139). Art critic Judith Flanders made note of this formal device in speaking of Red House when it was exhibited at the artists’ solo exhibition at the Tate Modern, London, in 2008, noting, “Red House (1995/6) is virtually the first image in this show where a house is part of a neighborhood, not isolated and damply brooding. But it too is estranged, distanced by a series of shadowy figures in the lane, some talking together, some alone, but all looking like grand opera assassins, held in place by a dead, leafless silver birch that rips the canvas into two. More frequently, it is water that divides the canvas, or a wall, or both” (Judith Flanders, “Peter Doig Revisited”, in The Times Literary Supplement, March 14, 2008, online). Not only does this compositional device recall Barnett Newman’s “zip” paintings, which influenced Doig in his formative years, it also succeeds in creating that peripheral space where two independent spaces can co-exist within a single composition. This notion of multiple, co-existing spaces is further heightened by the doublings within the landscape, particularly within the reflections within the lake to the lower left of the house. Mirroring and reflection are key compositional devices deployed by the artist during this period and can be found in the diptych, Ski Jacket and Pink Mountain, 1996, formerly in the Bailey Collection, Toronto. Cabins, Snows, Reflections Red House is absolutely distinct within the artist’s oeuvre for fusing nearly all of the key motifs from this period into one unified composition: snow, forests, cabins and reflections. The notion of man’s relation to landscape was one deeply rooted in Doig’s childhood, having grown up in Canada from the age of seven, and one that he found art historical resonance with in the landscapes of Tom Thomsom and other members of the Canadian Group of Seven. It was upon moving to London from Canada in the early 1990s that these motifs began to figure prominently in Doig’s pictures as he mined magazine advertisements, photographs and childhood memories for archetypical, almost clichéd, images of the Canadian spirit. As Doig pointed out, however, “So many of these paintings are of Canada, but in a way I want it to be a more imaginary place – a place that’s somehow a wilderness” (Peter Doig, quoted in Robert Schiff, “Incidents”, in Peter Doig, exh. cat., Tate, London, 2008, p. 11).Created concurrently to Doig’s celebrated Cabin series, 1991-1998, the present work in particular speaks to the symbolic role of architectural structures within Doig’s oeuvre in the 1990s. In Red House, the Breughel-like blizzards that came to define the paintings from the early 1990s have here given way to single snowflakes that twinkle poetically as though remnants of a storm, clearing to bring a red house into sharp focus at twilight. While still recalling Doig’s continued interest in themes evocative of Canada, the work presents the viewer with a more ambiguous scene exploring themes of the human experience, whereby the red house comes to stand in for a multitude of emotional states from homeliness and nostalgia to solitude and isolation. Red House speaks to Doig’s desire at the time to create pictures he described as "homely", a concept innately linked to the uncomplicated comfort of home, but also evocative of the Freudian notion of the uncanny. The uncanny translates to “unheimlich” in German, conjuring in its semantic overlap to “heimlich” (secret) and “Heim” (home) a range of complex associations.Speaking of the development of the architecture in his practice, Doig explained, “I have made relatively few straight landscapes that didn’t have any architecture, and I always wanted a landscape to be humanized by a person or a building, at least something that suggests habitation…I started by painting a cabin, and then I moved up the line. I became more interested in what buildings represent. How in a very modest structure, did someone decide to place the windows? Often they seemed to be anthropomorphized” (Peter Doig, quoted in Adrian Searle, Peter Doig, London, 2007, p. 16). In many ways, Doig essentially presents us with his own re-interpretation of Edvard Munch’s Red Virginia Creeper, 1898-1900. In 1994, a year prior to starting the present work, Doig notably included Munch’s painting in his “Top Ten House Painters”, a list prompted by Matthew Higgs’ exhibition Imprint 93 Project at the Cabinet Gallery in London. The parallels to Munch’s painting are striking – it is as though we are seeing the same red house from a more distant vantage point through the haze of snow. The vertical form of a barren tree that disrupts the horizontality of the landscape format in Munch’s Red Virginia Creeper here serves Doig a composition device to make the poles of the urban and the landscape clear. In some ways, it functions as a similar disruption to the landscape scene as Casper David Friedrich’s strategy of including a “Rückenfigur”, i.e. a person seen from behind. At the same time, the explicit sense of isolation, alienation and angst of Munch’s distraught figure gives way to a more subtle, yet just as existential, nostalgic yearning. While much is made of the notion of slippage that is engendered in Doig’s paintings, it is in this period that we begin to see the artist converge his geographical displacement into single compositions. From his memories of the wintery wildlands of Canada to the verdant tropics of Trinidad, Doig begins to conceive a surreally unified palette that is representative of both. As our eye moves up toward the horizon and beyond, the sky becomes a swirling auras borealis, with velvety expanses of blue and green opening up into fiery splashes of orange and yellow, a palette that presages Doig’s sun-drenched expanses found in his Canoes and works envisioning Trinidad over the succeeded decade. Indeed, though bathed in frosted winter light, the brighter tonalities found in Red House anticipate the more vibrant stains of color that would come to define his later Trinidadian works. As Doig crucially explained, “People have confused my paintings with being just about my own memories. Of course, we cannot escape these. But I am more interested in the idea of memory” (Peter Doig, quoted in quoted in Robert Schiff, “Incidents”, in Peter Doig, exh. cat., Tate, London, 2008, p. 21).ABSTRACTION: A DIALOGUE BETWEEN MEMORY AND MEDIUMFor Doig, who draws extensively upon his own experiences of displacement and geographic relocation, the material properties of paint serve to approximate the foggy, inarticulate sensation of remembering. Indeed, both paint and memories are pliable; they can blur, fade, dissipate, liquefy, merge and efface. The distortions captured in the blue-grey areas of the foreground also illustrate Doig’s ability to explore notions of memory and slippage through his very handling of media. Although Red House is resolutely figurative, the image is built up from a plethora of painterly techniques and processes that ultimately engender an overall sense of abstraction. Around this period, Doig began to thin his oil paint with turpentine, resulting in translucent layers of gauzy pigment that would coalesce in seductively complex surface that recalls Francis Bacon’s early canvases. “Oil paint has a kind of melting quality, really, and I love the way that even when it’s dry it’s not really fixed’, he explains. ‘Or it doesn’t seem to be fixed. The colors continue to meld together, and react with each other … Painters use oil paint kind of as a form of magic or alchemy … how it takes on a different character when it goes bad, and the way that certain colors produce different kinds of dryness’ (Peter Doig, quoted in Peter Doig: No Foreign Lands, exh. cat., Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, 2013, p. 193).The light, translucent layers of paint used to build up the magnificent sky, landscape and figures in Red House, create a translucent backdrop with a back-lit glow reminiscent of the theater from which to situate his cabin. It is this translucent quality that Doig evokes Impressionist art historical references such as Claude Monet and Pierre Bonnard and gives credence to his own aim of “[capturing] the space that is behind the eyes. It’s as if you were lying in bed trying hard to remember what something looked like. And Bonnard managed to paint that strange state. It is not a photographic space at all. It is a memory space, but one which is based on reality” (Peter Doig, quoted in Adrian Searle eds., Peter Doig, London, 2007, p. 142). In so doing, Doig draws on a host of art historical references from the expressionist and meditative imagery of Edward Hopper and Edvard Munch to Impressionist Claude Monet and Pierre Bonnard.In Red Cabin, Doig expands upon his dialogue with art history in his evocation of the transcendental color fields of Abstract Expressionism. Doig’s expressive use of color and evocative handling of paint blurs the boundaries between reality, imagination and memory. As we peer beneath the frosted surface of the painting, a psychedelic array of colors bleeds across the picture plane: a veritable aurora borealis, evoking both the hallowed glow of twilight and the chromatic splendor of dusk. Of his use of color, Doig has explained, “I often use heightened colors to create a sense of the experience or mood or feeling of being there, but it’s not a scientific process…I think the paintings always refer back to a reality that we all have experience of…We’ve all experienced the sensation of light dropping and producing strange natural effects, and I think in a way I am using these natural phenomena and amplifying them through the materiality of paint and the activity of painting” (Peter Doig, quoted in Adrian Searl, Peter Doig, London, 2007, p. 132). With Red House, Doig has powerfully coalesced the personal—memory and feeling—with the formal—art history and painterly pursuits. In doing so, he brings to the fore an image that exists on the knife’s edge of figuration and abstraction, memory and texture. Through his mastery of the medium, Doig succeeds in producing a scene which is at once familiar and surreal, ethereal and grounded. Existing in this “other space” where reality, memory and imagination are one, Doig succeeds in welcoming us into a space that is seemingly engendered from our very own mind’s eye, but is assuredly from his own.

  • USAUSA
  • 2017-11-16
Prix ​​d'adjudication
Voir le prix

AN EXCEPTIONAL EGYPTIAN PAINTED LIMESTONE STATUE FOR THE INSPECTOR OF THE SCRIBES SEKHEMKA

AN EXCEPTIONAL EGYPTIAN PAINTED LIMESTONE STATUE FOR THE INSPECTOR OF THE SCRIBES SEKHEMKA OLD KINGDOM, DYNASTY 5, CIRCA 2400-2300 B.C. Depicted seated, wearing a tight-fitting wig with rows of carefully-cut curls, his expressive face beautifully carved with subtly modelled brows, his eyes looking slightly downward, with a short nose and a softly modelled mouth, the slightly smiling lips outlined by a raised vermillion line, wearing a short pleated kilt with a knotted belt and a pleated tab angled above, holding a partially unrolled papyrus scroll on his lap with a hieroglyphic inscription listing twenty-two varied offerings, his powerful bare chest with clearly indicated collar bones, muscular arms and strong legs, his hands finely detailed, a hieroglyphic inscription on the seat reading: “Inspector of the scribes of the house of the master of largess, one revered before the great god, Sekhemka”; to his right, his wife in much smaller scale kneeling, her left leg bent elegantly beneath her right, her left arm tenderly embracing Sekhemka’s right leg, wearing a tight-fitting ankle-length dress, the accompanying inscription reading: “The one concerned with the affairs of the king, one revered before the great god, Sitmeret”; to his left a young man sculpted in raised relief, most probably his son, with an inscription reading: “Scribe of the master of largess, Seshemnefer”; the three sides of the cubic seat sculpted in shallow raised relief with a ceremonial procession of male offering bearers bringing a duck, geese, a calf, lotus flowers, unguent and incense 29 ½ in. (75 cm.) high; 12 ¼ in. (31.2 cm.) wide; 17 3/8 in. (44.1 cm.) deep

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 2014-07-10
Prix ​​d'adjudication
Voir le prix

* Veuillez noter que le prix ne correspond pas à la valeur d'aujourd'hui, mais uniquement à la devise au moment de l'achat.

Autres

Cette catégorie vous présente avec une opportunité de trouver des objets excitants et même étrange qui sont mis en vente aux enchère. On y trouve des objets ménagers comme des baignoires ou des vieux fours mais aussi des articles de taxidermie, des objets religieux, des icônes et des boites contenant des objets divers. On regroupe dans cette catégorie les objets unique, un peu différents qui ne rentrent pas dans les autres catégorie.