23 May 2012
Auction to take place in Hong Kong on 27 May 2012
Bonhams is delighted to present "Voyages of Discovery," a unique single owner collection which features 15 major works by Chu Teh-Chun and Zao Wou-Ki alongside 12 exceptionally rare Imperial Chinese objects. The collection will be auctioned on Sunday 27 May 2012 at 7pm at the Island Shangri-La in Hong Kong. Collection highlights will be on view in Paris at the Center Culturel de Chine from Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 March 2012. The works will then tour New York, London and across Asia, before culminating in a preview exhibition in Hong Kong to coincide with ART HK. The total estimate for the sale is Euros 3,638,000 – 5,646,000.
The sale features an exceptional collection of work by two of China's most prominent artists Chu Teh-Chun (b. 1920) and Zao Wou-Ki (b. 1921). Trained in the historical painting styles of China before emigrating to the artistic milieu of 1950s Paris, both artists were soon influenced by the painterly abstraction they found, creating their own unique styles, distinct fusions of Chinese tradition and European innovation. The sale features 12 outstanding paintings and three works on paper by the artists.
Chu Teh-Chun and Zao Wou-Ki, contemporaries in both China and Paris, present an important bridge between the traditional calligraphy and painting esthetics of China and the most innovative art movements of Twentieth Century Europe. The development of their artistic oeuvres culminates in bodies of work which confirm their status as two of the most important living Chinese artists.
Prices of works by Chu Teh-Chun have increased remarkably in recent years, with the excellent result achieved for the oil painting, entitled Lueurs, 1981, at Bonhams' inaugural Contemporary One sale in October 2011, as testament. The global art market for works by Zao Wou-Ki, similarly, is long-established but continually growing, with Bonhams sales of the artist's works in both London and the USA achieving strong prices over recent years.
The strength of this single owner collection lies not only in its outstanding quality, but also in the breadth and variety of the distinguished works. The collection provides a cross-section of the artists' developments through the decades, illustrating the evolution of their unique styles from the 1960s up until 2006.
The single owner collection also includes twelve exquisite Chinese objects spanning widely in era from the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127AD), through the Ming Dynasty to the Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty (up to 1908AD). The collection of works includes ceramic dishes, flambé-glazed vases and unique cloisonné enamel boxes.
A highlight work is the magnificent and extremely rare cloisonné enamel ice cooler and cover from the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty (Est. Euros 380,000 – 560,000). Featuring a striking blue floral pattern across its case and detailed with gold, the box is held up on both sides by kneeling figures and adorned on its lid by a gold lion. This work of art is one of only two of its kind, its twin residing in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Further objects of note include the oldest work in the collection, an extremely rare Dingyao dish from the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127AD; est. Euros 190,000 – 380,000), inscribed at a later date with a poem by the Qianlong Emperor in 1776, and an exceptional copper-red "lotus" bowl from the Hongwu period (Est. Euros 85,000 – 170,000), which demonstrates the very best quality in works from the establishment of the Ming Dynasty. The Hongwu emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, claimed the Mandate of Heaven on seizure of the Yuan capital (present-day Beijing) and established the Ming Dynasty in 1368, making this work both one of esthetic brilliance and historical significance.
Bonhams has a history of holding auctions in Hong Kong, and has achieved strong results particularly through its sales of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Chinese Works of Art and Chinese Paintings. The British company's commitment to the area is enhanced in this single owner sale, the very first by the London Contemporary Art Department for a Hong Kong audience.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and appraisal services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com