Toutes les enchères en un seul endroit

  • Autres

    112 051 En vente

    31 196 783 Vendu

  • 0—384 000 000 EUR
  • 19 mars 1988—15 oct. 2018

Filtres

Réinitialiser
- EUR
image
L'objet du jour!
Warhol, Andy

Estimation basse: 69 500 EUR

Aimeriez-vous faire expertiser vos objets?

Envoyer des informations sur un objet valuation push image

Juin-Octobre 1985

Transcendence and the Sublime Juin-Octobre 1985 In the annals of the history of art, it is those who have triumphed in forging and defining an iconic style that are inducted into the rarefied league of artistic masters. To have achieved such success yet continue to challenge oneself, pushing past previous heights, requires a quality that goes beyond talent, courage, and perseverance: it requires a profound wisdom. It is this wisdom that opens the door for one to create something that endures through the ages. Many artists belonging to the era of modern art have devoted the prime of their lives to creating these enduring masterpieces, often designed for public display, as a way of leaving something to posterity, to close ones life and career with a grand finale. Matisse, for example, during his artistic prime, designed the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence; Rothko created the paintings that hang on the walls of the Rothko Chapel in Houston; Tsuguharu Foujita designed and painted the frescoes for the French chapel, Our Lady Queen of Peace. Each of these endeavours was inspired by religious themes, and from these themes, the artists harnessed an energy and intensity that elevated the works to the realm of the spiritual. By the 1950s and 60s, Zao Wou-Kis paintings from his Oracle-Bone Period (1954-1959) and Hurricane Period (1959-1972) had already been inducted into the permanent collections of important museums and institutions in Europe and the Americas, establishing Zao Wou-Ki as the first Asian master to attain such levels of international renown. But Zao Wou-Ki had his eyes set on something higher. He continued to strive, breaking through the boundaries of his previous limits, and by the 1970s, the artist had embarked upon the Infinite Period, a brilliant era that would accompany him for decades. This Infinite Period marked his arrival at the highest summit. The paintings express the divinity of the universe, brushing up against the apex of human civilization. By the 1980s, this achievement had firmly established Zao Wou-Kis now-indisputable status as an international master. With great pride and honour at this Evening Sale, Sothebys presents the single largest oil painting created by Zao Wou-Ki during his lifetime, Juin-Octobre 1985 (Lot 1004). This triptych of extraordinary size was commissioned by renowned architect I.M. Pei for the Raffles City complex in Singapore. The painting is a singular accomplishment, a prodigious effort by the artist to express his ideas and essence at full capacity, with great artistic power and boldness. During his entire career, Zao Wou-Ki created no more than twenty large-scale triptychs. The offering of this singular masterpiece at Sothebys Evening Sale marks a grand achievement in East Asian auction history. Rewriting Asian Art History in the 1980s As it was in the West, the 1950s to 1970s was a period of emergence and intense vying among different schools of thought in the post-war Asian art world. But avant-garde artists from China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia had their gazes fixed upon Europe and North America; entry into the Western art world was the ultimate goal and marker of accomplishment. By the 1970s and 80s, alongside the rapid rise of Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore, Mainland China also started on its important journey of reform and opening up. Overnight, the entire East Asian economy was roaring forward, and finally, after thirty years of leaning toward the West, a monumental change was occurring among the Asian post-war artists. They were turning back towards the East, a trend that was becoming the new mainstream. As an artist who had already established a reputation for himself in the West, Zao Wou-Kis own return to his motherland was deeply symbolically significant. In 1981, Zao Wou-Ki held a large solo exhibition at the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais in Paris, and exhibiting at the same time was the equally renowned Russian-French abstract master Nicolas de Staël. This was an event that signified the Western art worlds high regard of Zao Wou-Ki, and served as the consummate conclusion to this stage of the artists Western journey. Following the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais exhibition, the artist immediately embarked upon a rotating exhibition in East Asia, launching at the Fukoka Art Museum in Japan, and continuing onward to the Tokyo Nihonbashi Art Gallery, the Fukui Prefectural Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, and the Museum of Modern Art in Kamakura. He followed with solo exhibitions at the Hong Kong Arts Centre and the National Museum Art Gallery in Singapore. In 1983, Zao Wou-Ki held exhibitions on both sides of the strait, at the National Museum of History in Taipei as well as the National Museum of Fine Arts in Beijing and the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou (formerly the National School of Fine Art). In May of 1985, Zao Wou-Kis three-week art lectures at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts marked the first time an overseas artist had been invited to teach a workshop in Mainland China since the countrys reform and opening up. Students were selected from all across China, and included Shang Yang, who later became the Associate President of the Hubei Arts Academy, as well as Xu Jiang, the current President of the China Academy of Art. The workshop was highly influential for the development of Mainland Chinese art in the 1980s. It also produced the only extant Zao Wou-Ki instructional text, The Lecture Notes of Zao Wou-Ki in China. Soon after this historic series of lectures, Juin-Octobre 1985 was created. A Crown for the Lion City The dimensions of Juin-Octobre 1985 are highly unusual, the painting created through a commission by I.M. Pei. Both Zao Wou-Ki and I.M. Pei were born to large families during the Republic of China, and both had fathers who were successful bankers Zao Wou-Kis father Zhao Hansheng was a Managing Director at the headquarters of Shanghai Commercial and Saving Bank , and I.M. Peis father Pei Zuyi was the President of the Central Bank of the Republic of China as well as one of the founders of the Bank of China. Both of Chinese descent, these two international masters first met in 1952 at the Galerie Pierre Loeb in Paris, and established an immediate camaraderie. Zao Wou-Ki reunited with I.M. Pei and his wife in 1964 during his travels to New York. As I.M. Peis career as an architect gained momentum and success, he began commissioning Zao Wou-Ki to create paintings for the walls of his building projects. In 1979, when I.M. Pei took on the construction of the Fragrant Hill Hotel in Beijing, he commissioned the artist to create a set of quadriptych ink panels for a central location in the main hall of the hotel. In 1980, after more than a decade since the project was first proposed, I.M. Pei was given the reins to design Singapores Raffles City. Ground was broken next to the Raffles Hotel at the location of the original Raffles College. Six years later, the architectural complex was completed, becoming a Singaporean landmark. But shortly prior to its completion, in May of 1985, I.M. Pei had invited Zao Wou-Ki to tour the premises, and commissioned the artist to create a large panel painting for the grand lobby of the main building. The painting would be displayed alongside works by Ellsworth Kelly and Kenneth Nolan, and together, these three paintings would become Singapores most important public contemporary art collection. Following careful deliberation, Zao Wou-Ki settled on a triptych measuring 2.8 x 10 meters, and immediately after completing his three weeks of lectures at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, Zao Wou-Ki returned to France and devoted himself to the painting, working tirelessly for five months. Juin-Octobre 1985 was finally completed and unveiled to the world in October of the same year. It was first exhibited at the Galerie de France, which at the time was managing the artist. On the day of the opening, Zao Wou-Ki released another edition of a large artist monograph, first published in 1978 and edited by his friend Jean Leymarie, but this time with Juin-Octobre 1985 featured on the covers. In 1986, after the exhibition closed, Juin-Octobre 1985 was officially moved to Raffles City and put on public display. All the way until 2005, when the painting was relocated during a significant reconstruction, Juin-Octobre 1985 remained at Raffles City, open for public viewing, serving as the brilliant crown in the architectural landscape of the Lion City. The Majestic Epic of the Triptych Within Zao Wou-Kis oeuvre, the large-scale triptych occupies a special position. In the forty years from 1966 to 2006, the artist completed twenty large-scale triptychs, eight of which were created after 2000. Among these twenty large-scale pieces, three have been inducted into museum collections, and seven are in the care of the Zao Wou-Ki Foundation, leaving only ten in the hands of private collectors. Because the triptychs span the artists Hurricane and Infinite periods, they serve as a connecting thread, offering a new angle from which to interpret Zao Wou-Kis work, and illuminating the elements of constancy in the artists artistic pursuits across different periods. The path that led to Zao Wou-Kis eventual use of the triptych format began with his creation of large-scale single-panel paintings. Large-scale canvases were favoured by the abstract expressionists, who Zao Wou-Ki had encountered while living in New York. These tall and wide panels allowed the artists a greater degree of freedom and unrestrained expression. After returning to Paris, Zao Wou-Ki also began painting on large-scale canvases. The artists later adoption of the triptych format, however, was not simply another expansion of creative space. Within the Western tradition since the Renaissance, the triptych has been closely tied to religious themes in painting, and carries with it an aura of deep solemnity and divinity. And in fact, examining the dimensions of Juin-Octobre 1985, one discovers that the widths of the three panels are not entirely equal. The centre canvas is 280 x 400 cm, while the left and right panels are 280 x 300 cm. This arrangement reveals the artists clear intention in invoking the religious paintings from the Renaissance. Correspondingly, within traditional East Asian painting, large-scale pieces often appear in the format of several joined or separate panels, together expressing an atmosphere of grandeur and magnificence. In a gesture to both Eastern and Western traditions, then, Zao Wou-Kis triptychs often express sentiments of respect and homage. This is apparent in many of the artists painting, including Hommage à André Malraux 01.04.76 (now in the collection of the Hakone Open-Air Museum in Japan), dedicated to the artists friend and French Minister of Culture; Hommage à Claude Monet, février-juin 91, in honour of the founder of French Impressionism; Hommage à mon ami Henri Michaux avril 1999-août 2000, for his friend and French poet laureate; Hommage à mon ami Jean-Paul Ripolle Histoire de deux érables canadiens, 21.06.2003, for the Canadian and fellow abstract painter; Hommage à Françoise, 21.10.2003, painted for his wife; and Le Temple des Hans, 2005,  created in honour of the Han dynasty. It was an attitude of devotion and respect that Zao Wou-Ki brought to the triptych. Beginning in the 1980s, the artist began receiving invitations for solo exhibitions at important museums, as well as more commissions. In 1980, for example, Zao Wou-Ki had solo exhibitions at the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Carleroi in Belgium and the Musée dHistoire et dArt in Luxembourg. Both exhibits featured large-scale oil paintings. In the same year, Zao Wou-Ki designed a large-scale mosaic for the Honoré de Balzac grammar school in Mitry-Mory, built by architect Roger Taillibert. Later, in October, Zao Wou-Ki was appointed as professor of mural painting at the Parisian École nationale supérieure des art décoratifs, a post he held until 1984. In 1981, Zao Wou-Ki travelled extensively around China, encountering the majestic and romantic ancient Yungang grottoes and frescoes in the province of Shanxi. The reverence and longing for the deities expressed by these ancient large-scale creations left a deep impression on Zao Wou-Ki. The artist fervently studied the mural form for the next five years, even purchasing a studio space in the French countryside of Loiret, larger than the one on Paris Rue Jonquoy, so that he could create large-scale paintings. Each of these creations were a step in the preparation toward creating Juin-Octobre 1985. Boundless Mystery: Manifesting the Spirit of the Universe Juin-Octobre 1985 possesses the trademark characteristics of Zao Wou-Kis Infinite Period. As Yann Hendgen, Art Director of the Zao Wou-Ki Foundation, explains in an essay for Sothebys Hong Kong 40th Anniversary Evening Sale: From the beginning of the 1980s, Zao Wou-Ki was then able to give free rein to his desire to create large-scale painted polytychs; a new workshop, public commissions, and an enthusiastic public for the introduction of such monumental compositions. Such large works also communicate a decisive turn in Zao Wou-Kis work: his gradual rediscovery of China (15.01.82 Triptych and Its Role Among the Large-Scale Paintings by Zao Wou-Ki). The paramount characteristic of the Infinite Period is a compositional departure from using a central axis, in which the visual weight is distributed along a vertical or horizontal dividing line. The artists change in composition is not merely a visual one, however, but a significant shift rooted deeply in artistic and human philosophy. During the Hurricane Period, Zao Wou-Kis career and romantic life were carrying on smoothly. His mood was one of contentment; his body was strong. As the artistic described himself, during this period, he approached the canvas wielding his bold ambition, as though the canvas were an oppositional force, and he were fighting against [it]. Thus, his use of the central-axis in the paintings from the period demonstrates a strong sense of individualism. It is a scene in which the dominant individual conquers space in every direction, constructing a new world. This was the overriding creative spirit. But in 1972, this formidable energy of domination came to a halt the artists wife, May Zao, had passed away. After a period of deep contemplation and reconsideration, the artist began creating paintings that displayed a striking open composition, in which the perimeters of the canvas are reinforced, and more space is given to the centre. This new composition revealed a sudden opening-up, an enlightenment in the artists soul, a liberated state of non-self. The artist had departed from his previous perspective of man conquering nature, toward a belief in the oneness of nature and humanity. This foundational shift in ideology formed the basis for the Infinite Period. The Western tradition of painting derives from a single-point perspective, originating philosophically from Western civilizations individual-centred way of viewing and conceptualizing. The tradition of Chinese paintings scattered perspective, however, comes from Taoism, the belief that all things in the universe are one. The Western tradition places its faith in man being made in the image of a Christian God, whereas the Eastern interpretation of god, informed by Taoism, is our omnipresent and all-encompassing nature. The most profound value of the Infinite Period, then, is the manifestation of Eastern philosophys belief in nature as god, within which there exists a continuous cycle of life and death. It is this endless cycle that is the permanent law of the universe. The ultimate essence of the universe is that of oneness. Juin-Octobre 1985, an epic of abstraction, is a grand expression of this idea. Primordial Mist, Roaming as One with the Universe In a 2001 special interview with Phoenix Television, Zao Wou-Ki explained that painting is a slow creation of a world. This philosophy is manifested with brilliant perfection in Juin-Octobre 1985. Making use of the capacious size of the panels, the artist has taken the lateral scroll of Chinese painting and expanded it, creating an abstract space that seemingly expresses a concrete realness. Standing in front of the painting, the viewers gaze naturally departs from viewing in a point-to-point manner, and instead allows ones eyes to freely roam across the canvas. In this way, the viewers perspective is in constant change, as though immersed in a scattered perspective arrangement, journeying across the spectacular world created by the artist. The arrangement continues without end, with flowing light driving the changes and shifts in colour, representing the boundless, infinite, ever-flourishing universe. When creating the painting, Zao Wou-Ki released his drive to conquer, but rather allowed his spirit to linger contently within the painting, achieving an even more prodigious aura of freedom and ease. Throughout the painting, his use of colour and brush technique is also dynamic, dancing and adapting with natural ease. At the beginning of the Infinite Period, the artist was drawn to the empty space emphasized in Chinese ink-wash paintings. This translated into the use of white tones in his oil paintings in the 1970s, which by the 1980s, had become all the more brilliant and richly expressive. During this time, the artist had returned to the soil of his motherland, encountering again the landscape and surroundings he had been away from for a long time, and once again, they nourished his mind and body. The verdigris green and ultramarine colours that appeared in his earlier works are in Juin-Octobre 1985 melded in with softer, lighter tones. His oil colours are further diluted, heightening the appearance of translucence. The pearlescent, clear light, along with a ravishing violet, soft orange, and bright yellow intersect in meticulous concert.  The exquisite and ethereal splashes and spatters of paint replace the brittle lines; sharp edges are concealed, further amplifying an aura of vitality and spirituality. Every inch is imbued with the breath and vigour of the universe. Blue is a colour that Zao Wou-Ki used in all of his stylistic periods. He once explained that his understanding of the colour originated from his earliest days in Paris. He was at a museum, and encountered a painting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus by Giotto, the Early Renaissance master. The classic painting depicts the Virgin Mary wrapped in a blue robe, the image holy, sublime, and pure. The use of blue in all of Zao Wou-Kis periods has been executed with great richness. Up until the 1980s, Zao Wou-Kis use of blue often manifested in its deeper shades, the blue of grapes, gentle and exquisite, with a sheen of translucence. Applied with varying pressures and speed, it splattered and flowed, coalescing into a crystalline and mysterious space. In Juin-Octobre 1985, the blue manifests in a shade closer to purple jade, and in its various permutations of rich and light, dry and wet, it becomes void and substance, emptiness and fullness, linking together all the exquisite complementary colours that reverberate across the canvas. In tracing the painting back to its Eastern roots, it is important to note that after many years apart, Zao Wou-Ki reunited with the Zhang Daqian, a great master of Chinese painting, in Taipei in 1981. The inspiration behind Zhang Daqians iconic splashed-color landscapes came from the Western abstract paintings of the 1960s. These landscapes established a revolutionary new style for traditional Chinese painting. This example of invoking traditional Chinese painting techniques and artistic concepts was perhaps an inspiration for Zao Wou-Ki. He, also, could return to tradition. To examine the paintings Western roots, one looks to the colour philosophy of the Impressionists. The romantic and enchanting blue-purple tones are the result of developments in optical science during the mid-19th century, and, in Monets later years, they became the poetic images of his lily pond, seen through his fading vision. These subtle threads to the past resonated with Zao Wou-Ki, who boldly applied these blue-purple tones across the canvas. Later, this colour was also the basis of the triptych completed in 1991, titled Hommage à Claude Monet, février-juin 91. The Artists Prime, the Key to the Summit Juin-Octobre 1985 symbolizes the beginning of Zao Wou-Kis late-career work. By the time of the opening ceremony of Raffles City, the artist had already been commissioned to create the poster for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. In 1993, the artist received the Commandeur de lOrdre de la Légion from French President François Mitterrand, as well as an honorary doctorate from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 1994, he was awarded with Japans Praemium Imperiale. Shortly after, in 1996, the artist held a large-scale retrospective exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, titled Infinite Image and Space. The following year, Zao Wou-Ki accompanied French President Jacques Chirac on a visit to China, where he confirmed three retrospective exhibitions in honour of sixty years of painting. They were to be held in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou between 1998 and 1999. In 2002, Zao Wou-Ki was inducted as a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, the highest honour of his lifetime. The following year, he held a large-scale solo exhibition at Paris Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume. The number of visitors to the exhibition exceeded 135,000 people. Since then, across all the arenas of academia, culture, and the market, the artists prodigious reputation has proven unshakeable. Zao Wou-Kis accomplishment of artistic flourishing over thirty years late in his career, among all of the artists of the world, is a rare one indeed. And Juin-Octobre 1985 can be said to be the beginning of this glorious chapter. Signed in Chinese and Pinyin; signed in Pinyin, titled and dated Juin-Octobre 1985 on the reverse

  • HKGHong Kong
  • 2018-09-30
Prix ​​d'adjudication
Voir le prix
Annonce
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

An extremely fine and magnificent imperial falangcai 'poppy'...

Exquisitely potted with deep rounded sides resting on a straight foot and gracefully tapering to an everted rim, the immaculate white porcelain of translucent quality, the exterior delicately and meticulously painted in finely ground and blended imported enamels with a group of poppies issuing forth from dense rockwork while a single yellow butterfly flutters overhead, the continuous scene further adorned with tender yellow, pink and lavender blossoms elegantly borne on undulating stems painted in various shades of lime and fern green, each individual bloom vibrantly detailed with subtle veining and lemon-yellow speckled stamens, the yellow butterfly depicted floating above with its body and wings striped in black, the latter further accentuated with a red circular spot, all contrasting with the gnarled roughness of the punctured and craggy rocks, the reverse inscribed with a fourteen-character poem flanked by three iron-red seal marks, the interior enamelled with a young branch of finger-citron, an apple and three cherries, the base inscribed in blue enamel with a four-character mark within a double square Ethereal Beauty Regina Krahl The unassuming beauty of this outstanding falangcai bowl with its ethereal painting of poppies and its elegantly inscribed colophon would not immediately suggest that in fact it alludes to a major event of Chinas history, a story reverberating with heroism and loyalty, love and devotion, that has become romanticized in poetry and fiction. The poetic inscription below the rim can be translated: They welcome the wind, as if it could chase the sound of singing that has arisen. The night full of rain, how it causes the dancing sleeve to hang down! For the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795), who as a young man was of course trained in the Chinese Classics, these two lines, together with the flower depicted, in China also known as Yu meiren, Beauty Yu, would immediately have evoked a story related in the seminal history of early China, the Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, written by Sima Qian (145-c.90 BC), Grand Historian at the Han court (206 BC-AD 220). One of the Biographies included in the Shiji is devoted to Xiang Yu (232-202 BC), a warlord, who fought against the Qin (221-206 BC) to reinstate the former state of Chu. Upon the fall of the Qin, he proclaimed himself Hegemon King of Western Chu and became engaged in a lengthy struggle over the hegemony of China with Liu Bang (256-195 BC), founder of the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Although that dynasty is officially set to have begun in 206 BC, the so-called Chu-Han contention lasted until 202 BC. It ended in the battle of Gaixia (in northern Anhui), where Sima Qian records the following story (translated by Burton Watson in Cyril Birch, ed., Anthology of Chinese Literature, Harmondsworth, 1967 [1965], p. 142, with the Chinese terms here transferred into pinyin): Xiang Yus army had built a walled camp at Gaixia, but his soldiers were few and his supplies exhausted. The Han army, joined by the forces of the other leaders, surrounded them with several lines of troops. In the night Xiang Yu heard the Han armies all about him singing the songs of Chu. Has Han already conquered Chu he exclaimed in astonishment. How many men of Chu they have with them! Then he rose in the night and drank within the curtains of his tent. With him were the beautiful lady Yu, who enjoyed his favor and followed wherever he went, and his famous steed Dapple, which he always rode. Xiang Yu, filled with passionate sorrow, began to sing sadly, composing this song: My strength plucked up the hills, My might shadowed the world; But the times were against me, And Dapple runs no more; When Dapple runs no more, What then can I do Ah, Yu, my Yu, What will your fate be He sang the song several times through, and Lady Yu joined her voice with his. Tears streamed down his face, while all those about him wept and were unable to lift their eyes from the ground. Since having been recorded by Sima Qian, who goes on to relate Xiang Yus death soon after, this epic story with its romantic side-line featuring the heros consort, Lady Yu (d. 202 BC), has become a beloved popular topic of drama and romance in China and freely enriched and embellished has inspired poems, plays, Peking opera, films, TV series and video games to this day. The two lines that are inscribed on the present bowl, which refer to the songs of Chu signifying defeat, and the resulting fate of the two lovers, are taken from a longer late Ming dynasty (1368-1644) poem about poppies (Yong Yu meiren cao) by Xu Gui, that evokes Lady Yus story. In later narratives, we can read that Lady Yu responded to the Gaixia song by singing a poem herself and by performing a sword dance for her lover, giving herself the sword at the end. This tale of loyalty and moral integrity has made her a popular heroine and she is revered as one of ancient Chinas famous beauties. As poppies are believed to have grown on the spot, where she killed herself, the flower is named after her, Yu meiren, Beauty Yu. Her tomb east of Suzhou in Lingbi county, Anhui province, in the area formerly named Gaixia, remains a famous tourist attraction. The poppy flower is easy to recognize by its frilly, less than paper-thin petals, its buds enveloped by a green hull, which it sheds when they open, and a hairy stem. Flower painting had been practised in China since at least the Song dynasty (960-1279), but became a specialist genre due to the virtuosity of Yun Shouping (1633-1690), probably Chinas most famous flower painter, who introduced a new diction: his scrolls and album leaves in the boneless style (without ink outlines) revived interest in the field as a whole. His depictions also of poppies inspired many painters particularly in the Kangxi (1662-1722) and Yongzheng (1723-1735) periods, such as Wang Wu (1632-1690), Yun Bing (1670-1710), Ma Yuanyu (c. 1669-1722), Zou Yigui (1686-1772) and others, all of whom painted poppies, often in the form of album leaves representing one of the months of the year. It is surprising therefore, that this photogenic flower was so rarely depicted on porcelain. On falangcai porcelains from the Beijing enamelling workshops it was used already, but in a very different, more lush and imposing form, in the Kangxi period, with the flowers set against a purple ground; see Shen bi 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-17. In the Yongzheng reign, it appears to have been used only once in the Beijing workshops, but rendered in a manner much closer to the present example. A pair of small falangcai dishes of Yongzheng mark and period, also preserved in the National Palace Museum, is similarly painted with poppies growing from behind rockwork, both unique in composition and sharing between them the same two poetic lines inscribed on our bowl, one line appearing on each; see ibid., cat. no. II-05; and Qing gongzhong falangcai ci tezhan/Special Exhibition of Ching Dynasty Enamelled Porcelains of the Imperial Ateliers, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1992, cat. no. 98 (fig. 1). Although the present bowl was clearly inspired by these two dishes, it is very differently conceived and displays its own individual painting style. On the Yongzheng prototypes, the scenes are rendered with the flowers seemingly more substantial, less emphasis being put on the weightlessness of their stems and blooms that makes them dance in the wind. On the present bowl, the flowers are admirably observed from nature and superbly painted, growing in an unruly manner, their petals wind-blown and their stalks bent in disorderly ways. Falangcai (foreign colours) porcelains painted in the imperial workshops of the Forbidden City in Beijing with enamels partly introduced from the West are among the rarest and most dazzling ceramic wares of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The fine white porcelain, potted and fired in Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province, south of the Yangzi River and then sent up to Beijing, was painted within the confines of the imperial palace, next the Emperors living quarters, before being fired once more to affix the enamels. Never before or after can porcelain painters have been exposed to similar pressure as in these tightly circumscribed workshops, where they were to meet the extreme imperial expectations while being subject to immediate scrutiny from the monarchs eyes. The whole setup was small in scale, not least for the simple reasons of space and inconvenience to ordinary palace life, and here individual artists would create individual works of art, incomparable to the mass production even of fine porcelains for the court undertaken at Jingdezhen. Every piece of porcelain produced in these workshops is unique, quality is unsurpassed and numbers, naturally, are very limited. Poppy designs were also produced at Jingdezhen, and although they are extremely beautiful, they cannot compare to the present piece. While this bowl uses a palette specially developed for it and its design is laid out in an individual manner, Jingdezhen poppy bowls are known in several virtually identical versions and are painted in the standard famille rose (fencai) palette that had been developed for painting on a larger scale; compare the pair of poppy bowls from the collection of Dr James D. Thornton, sold at Christies Hong Kong, 29th November 2017, lot 2806. During the Kangxi reign the imperial workshops in the Forbidden City resembled sophisticated laboratories more than art ateliers, where court artists, artisans and technicians explored new scientific discoveries, manufacturing methods and substances. To this end, the Emperor had welcomed foreigners to the court, mainly from Europe, to upgrade the countrys standards of scientific and technical knowledge to international levels. The Yongzheng Emperor mistrusted these foreigners right on his doorstep, and with few exceptions, expelled them from the court. One of the exceptions was granted to the Italian Jesuit painter Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), a particularly capable artist who had endeavoured to learn Chinese painting techniques and experimented with a hybrid style that combined the ingenious Chinese manner of composition with the meticulous way of detailed representation in which he had been trained in Europe. His depictions of flowers, birds and animals, clearly based on Chinese models, obviously pleased the Emperors, and although they had little effect on the development of Chinese painting in general, they decisively influenced court artisans working practically side by side with Castiglione and other Europeans inside the Forbidden City. Castigliones album Immortal Blossoms in an Everlasting Spring contains flower and bird-and-flower leaves that render the subjects in the stylish asymmetrical compositions that are quintessentially Chinese, yet with that almost excessive degree of precision that he had learned in Europe. One of these album leaves, which depicts corn poppies next to fringed irises, looks almost certain to have influenced the way the poppy flowers on this bowl were conceived in the enamelling workshops (fig. 2). A major difference in the depiction of the nature scene on this Qianlong bowl from those on the Yongzheng dishes concerns the way the motif here has been cut off at the rim, or better, enlarged beyond the space available for painting a ploy to make the motif seemingly jump out of the two-dimensional plane. Such attempts to catch the viewers attention by suggesting three-dimensionality, which were practised already in Chinese handscroll paintings on paper or silk, are today still frequently used in advertising. At Jingdezhen, this style of depiction was turned into the guozhihua style, where the design climbs over the wall and actually continues on the inside of the vessel a very different concept, which scorns the idea behind the present stratagem, namely to engage the viewer by omitting part of the design. No other pieces of Qianlong falangcai porcelain appear to exist painted with poppies, and this bowl is further unusual in showing loosely strewn fruits a variation of the sanduo, the Three Abundances on the inside. Comparable bowls with different flower motifs and accompanying poems on the outside are in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, but otherwise they are extremely rare; see the Museums exhibition catalogue, op. cit., 1992, cat. nos 57, 58 and 61, the latter with a fruiting branch also on the inside. Generally, however, bowls and dishes with such painterly decoration on the outside are undecorated on the inside, while pieces with more formal, coloured sgraffiato decoration often show painted insides; compare, for example, a pair of dishes with yellow sgraffiato grounds outside and freely strewn fruits inside, illustrated in Liao Pao Show (Liao Baoxiu), Huali cai ci: Qianlong yangcai/Stunning Decorative Porcelains from the Chien-lung Reign, exhibition catalogue, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2008, cat. no. 91.

  • HKGHong Kong
  • 2018-10-02
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

A highly important and exquisitely enamelled yangcai reticulated...

Superbly potted with a baluster body rising from a countersunk base to a tall waisted neck and galleried rim, the neck meticulously and elaborately decorated with a pendent ruyi border shaded in tones of grisaille, the border rendered suspending pearl strings whimsically enamelled with reflecting highlights to simulate three-dimensionality, depicted attached with auspicious emblems, including the 'double fish', 'good luck' talismans and musical stones, as well as stylised luxuriant floral blooms and Rococo-inspired undulating acanthus leaves with feathery fronds, all against a brilliant yellow ground neatly diapered with twelve-sided polygons, the lower section of the body ingeniously modelled with a celadon-reticulated wall of kui dragons and archaistic phoenix emphasised with gilt borders, framing four evenly spaced gilt-rimmed medallions exceptionally carved in relief with dynamic scenes of different fishes, the celadon-glazed reticulated shell revealing an inner vase decorated in shaded tones of underglaze blue with a composite floral scroll reminiscent of early Ming blue and white porcelains, the lower section of the vase bordered with two green-ground bands enclosing iron-red kui dragons, above a yellow-ground frieze of an opulent composite floral scroll, all between two key-fret bands encircling the rim and foot, the base enamelled turquoise and centred with a blue-enamel six-character seal mark within a double square Provenance Yamanaka & Company, Osaka, Kyoto, New York and Boston, 1905. The American Art Association, New York, 1905. Acquired from Yamanaka by a Japanese private collector, 1924, thence by descent. Exhibited Antique and Modern Chinese and Japanese Objects of Art, Curios, Paintings, Prints, Textiles and Embroideries, The American Art Galleries, New York, January 1905, cat. no. 352 (illustrated). A Glimpse of the Past, Screened through the Present Regina Krahl This porcelain masterpiece is not only a triumph of craftsmanship designed to answer to the exorbitant standards of technical proficiency and the insatiable demand for stylistic novelty at the court; the rich tableau that it paints of the past and the present make it a witty statement and an astute commentary about the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795). This vase, and its pair, are unique in design, as is typical of yangcai, the Emperors special commissions from Jingdezhen. Reticulated yangcai vases with double walls (jiaceng linglong) represent one of the last great innovations developed by Tang Ying (1682-1756), the imperial kilns creative supervisor, specially for the Qianlong Emperor. The time they were conceived in the early 1740s saw the production of some of the most exquisite porcelains at the imperial ateliers inside the Forbidden City in Beijing, where porcelains were treated like paintings; but Beijing could only operate on a small scale, both in terms of quantity and size. The imperial workshops at Jingdezhen were not limited in this way and Tang Ying clearly realized that he needed to exploit this advantage to the fullest, if he wanted to impress the Emperor. In his development of yangcai at Jingdezhen, he emphasized exclusive designs and individual attention to each piece or pair. Every piece was a technical tour de force involving dozens of different techniques and production processes. Some, like reticulated vases, were so challenging that he apologized to the Emperor for not submitting more to the Palace; and pieces like the present vase were an extraordinary challenge also to the designer. The openwork design of this vase is composed of highly stylised archaistic dragons, which are borrowed from archaic ritual bronzes. In the Eastern Zhou dynasty (770-256 BC), the dragon motif developed into more and more abstract, angular interlaced scrollwork, with the animals limbs turned into comma-shaped extensions and their heads so small and stylised that only the occasional eye that can be made out here emphasized in gilding allows for a representational reading. Such designs are ubiquitous on bronzes of the period, whether in relief or inlay or even in openwork, like on the handles of a highly complex fanghu in the Palace Museum, Beijing, of the 7th/6th century BC (The Great Bronze Age of China, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1980, cat. no. 67; fig. 1). The design of fishes evokes associations hardly less ancient, going back to the book Zhuangzi by Zhuang Zhou (c.369-c.286 BC), Chinas foremost Daoist thinker, who used fish frequently in allegories. The pleasures of fishes darting around as they please became a topos that to Chinas elite immediately evoked the idealized freedom from restraints and thus a most desirable existence. To the Emperor, of course, it must have been a purely philosophical construct of ideas with little connection to reality. With this Daoist message, fishes frequently appeared in Chinese art. The lively depiction on this vase, with pairs of fish swimming among waterweeds and fallen peach blossoms, would almost certainly have called to mind the most famous fish painting by the Northern Song (960-1127) court painter Liu Cai, Fish Swimming amid Falling Flowers (today in the St. Louis Art Museum, 97:1926). On this vase, the different fishes are depicted in a highly exceptional and totally new manner, carved in relief, and the enamels are superbly employed to render their iridescent shimmering skin. The celadon-coloured reticulated walls equally refer to the Song dynasty, but to the Southern Song (1127-1279). Vases constructed in this way probably originated with the official (guan) kilns of Hangzhou, as evidenced by two fragmentary pear-shaped vases excavated at Laohudong (Du Zhengxian, ed., Hangzhou Laohudong yaozhi ciqi jingxuan [Selection of porcelains from the Laohudong kiln sites in Hangzhou], Beijing, 2002, pls 24 and 25). They are much better known, however, from the Longquan kilns, also in Zhejiang, which produced reticulated pear-shaped as well as meiping vases (see the catalogue of the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition China without Dragons. Rare Pieces from Oriental Ceramic Society Members, Sothebys London, 2016, cat. no. 96, forthcoming 2018; fig. 2). Although these are today generally attributed to the 14th or early 15th century, for a Qing (1644-1911) emperor, Longquan most probably signified Song. The style is expressly referred to as Longquan in the Zaobanchu records, where an entry for 1743 talks about a pair of yangcai yellow-ground reticulated vases with Longquan openwork design, for which stands were to be made. When peering through the reticulated outer shell of our vase, the Qianlong Emperor would have had a real surprise, since nothing on the outside of this vase would have prepared him for what there is inside: Inside the vase, one can make out a blue-and-white vase painted in the style of Jingdezhen porcelain of the Yongle and Xuande reigns (1403-1435), perhaps the most admired blue-and-white style ever, that the kilns zealously copied in his own period. The underglaze-blue decorated inner vase is painted with a composite flower scroll as can be seen on many early Ming (1368-1644) vessels, for example, around the body of a ewer from the Qing court collection in the Palace Museum, Beijing (The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red, Shanghai, 2000, vol. 1, pl. 119; fig. 3); while a contemporary version of that design is exemplified by a flower-decorated blue-and-white vase of Qianlong mark and period, also from the Qing court collection (ibid., vol. 3, pl. 136). The formal designs painted around the shoulder, on a yellow diaper ground, however, have a very different origin. The Qianlong Emperor assembled a large number of Jesuit craftsmen at his court, as his grandfather, the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1662-1722), had done, who exerted a conspicuous influence on the arts and crafts of his reign. The curled feathery fronds incorporated into the decoration of this vase are strongly indebted to the Western Rococo style that flourished during the reign of King Louis XV (r. 1715-1774) of France. Rocaille elements, named after decoratively carved rockwork in gardens and responsible for the term Rococo, became highly popular in France in the 1730s and later throughout Europe for interior design as well as silver and porcelain decoration. The term appears first on a screen design that typically combines shell motifs and foliate arabesques by the French artist Francois Boucher, a leading style maker of the first half of the 18th century, whos influence extended also to the imperial porcelain workshops in Beijing. The decorative leaf motifs, often identified as acanthus leaves, seen on the present vase may have been directly inspired by designs by Alexis Peyrotte, 1699-1769, a French decorator and painter, who decorated royal apartments at Versailles, at the palace of Fontainebleau and the Chateau de Marly, and was renowned for his Chinoiserie style. An etching by Peyrotte of an acanthus-leaf design element created in 1740 and thus nearly contemporary with this vase, is particularly close to the motifs here used on the shoulder (fig. 4, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum). While rocaille elements were typically, however, used in asymmetric compositions, they are here assembled with pearl strings and purely Chinese motifs such as the double fish, good luck talismans, ruyi lappets and musical stones, to a formal symmetric necklace gracing the neck of the vase, the pearls depicted with reflecting highlights to render them three-dimensional, the pendent lappets shaded in tones of grisaille. In 1743, Tang Ying submitted a memorial to the Qianlong Emperor recording his presentation to the court of a total of nine jiazeng linglong (layered openwork) and jiao tai (interlocking) vases of innovative design (Liao Pao Show [Liao Baoxiu], Huali cai ci: Qianlong yangcai/Stunning Decorative Porcelains from the Chien-lung Reign, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2008, pp. 27f.). He states that he did not dare to create larger numbers, since they are so expensive to make; yet he would later, if accepted, make them in pairs. The Emperor replied that he ought to make pairs for those that stand alone, but that indeed he should keep numbers low and only to submit them for special occasions. This sequential production of pairs may explain why the present vase and its pair, are differently marked. The pair to this vase, today in a private collection, was offered at Bainbridges auction house, Ruislip, Middlesex, 11th November 2010, lot 800, and made international headlines when it was hammered down at the world record price of £ 43 million (£ 51.6 million with commission). The sale was, however, rescinded and the vase was sold two years later by Bonhams via private treaty. That vase was then believed to be unique. It is identical to the present piece except for its reign mark, which is inscribed in the more common underglaze-blue seal characters. On our vase, the reign mark is inscribed in a highly unusual form, as a six-character blue enamel mark enclosed in a double square. Blue enamel marks on yangcai generally are composed of four characters only, similarly enclosed in a double square. Although extremely rare, the present mark is not unique, but is also found, equally painted in blue enamel on a turquoise enamelled base, for example, on a pair of vases painted with boys, one in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, and one in the Palace Museum, Beijing (see Qing gongzhong falangcai ci tezhan/Special Exhibition of Ching Dynasty Enamelled Porcelains of the Imperial Ateliers, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1992, cat. no. 146; and The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Porcelains with Cloisonne Enamel Decoration and Famille Rose Decoration, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 91). The history of the present vase in the West goes back more than a century, as it was already exhibited for sale in New York at the beginning of the 20th century (figs 5 and 6). It has now been in the collection of the same family for nearly a century. This vase and its pair are unique in design, but a closely related pair of vases is in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, of the same form, with identical Longquan openwork design, but lacking the gilding and surrounding four painted landscape medallions without relief carving, and with floral designs on a ruby-red rather than a yellow ground (see Liao Pao Show, op.cit., cat. no. 69, where one of the vases is illustrated). This pair is known to have been on display in the Shouhuangdian (Hall of Imperial Longevity), a building complex on the north side of Jingshan (Coal Hill), north of the Forbidden City and aligned with its central axis, where the emperors performed ancestral rites (see also The All Complete Qianlong: The Aesthetic Tastes of the Qing Emperor Gaozong, Taipei, 2013, pl. II-3.32, where the same vase is illustrated again; fig. 7). The National Palace Museum also owns three pear-shaped vases with similar Longquan openwork with gilding, also combined with formal designs on a puce sgraffiato ground, a pair originally on display in the Duanningdian, and a single one in the Yangxindian inside the Forbidden City (one of the former illustrated in Liao Pao Show, op.cit., cat. no. 68). With its cornucopia of colours, motifs, styles and techniques, this vessel seems tailor-made for the Qianlong Emperors taste. With its references to archaic ritual bronzes, a philosophy developed in the Bronze Age, Northern Song painting, Southern Song ceramics, and Ming porcelain, this vase endorsed the Manchu dynastys rule as being firmly anchored in Chinas cultural tradition and on a par with its glorious past. With its adaptation of Western rocaille motifs, it documented this Emperors interest in progress and openness to ideas from abroad, which the Kangxi Emperor had initiated. And with its auspicious motifs, without which imperial porcelain design would have been unthinkable since the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor (r. 1723-1735), it honoured his fathers inclinations.

  • HKGHong Kong
  • 2018-10-03
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.