Eastern Asian Folklore, literature and key Chinese Australian Collections to take center stage in Bonhams Australia Auction

Sydney Australia: Bonhams Australia is pleased to announce the sale of a number of private collections featuring traditional and modern Chinese paintings, and Qing Dynasty official wares, to be offered in the Important Chinese Paintings and Asian Works of Art Auction in Sydney on Wednesday 22 May 2019. Highlights include a rare large-scale painting by a 17th-century master in Bird-and-Flower, Yun Shouping (1633-1690), a pair of 'Dragon and Phoenix' vases originally from the Estate of celebrated operatic soprano Dame Nellie Melba, and a painting by Canton modern master, Gao Qifeng (1889-1933), previously in the collection of Xiang Hanpin (1890-1978), a General who served under Chiang Kai Shek.

Director of Bonhams Australia, Merryn Schreiver said: "We are delighted to present our Important Asian Art Sale 2019 offering a number of key Chinese paintings and ceramics. This sale follows Bonhams' significant success in 2018, which saw record sales, reflecting the continuing growth of the Asian Art Market here in Australia and abroad.

"It is gratifying to see avid private collectors return to Bonhams, recognizing the respected expertise and global reach of Australia's only integrated International auction house", added Ms Schreiver.

Yun Shouping (1633-1690), renowned artist in the early Qing Dynasty, is most celebrated for his bird-and-flowers, and landscapes in album leaves. The Yun painting on offer from a private Adelaide collection is an extremely rare example of the artist depicting furred mammals and working on a large scale. In the painting, titled Three Rabbits under an Osmanthus Tree (165.5cm x 64.0 cm) Yun draws on the Chinese folklore that there is a rabbit living in the moon under an Osmanthus tree. Osmanthus, being an autumn flower, has been heavily featured in Chinese literature and arts depicting the mid-autumn festival. Thus this painting, even without a full moon depicted, heavily alludes to the harvest festival. The same collection also features a group of Qing dynasty official wares from different reigns including the pair of 'dragon and phoenix' vases originally from the Estate of Dame Nellie Melba.

Also offered in the sale is the collection of late Dr Chung Quin Yeun (1933 – 2018), a psychiatrist by trade, but a scholar and avid collector at heart. Dr Chung formed strong bonds of friendship with the Lingnan School artists during the 1980s when he resided and worked in Hong Kong, hence many works offered bear dedication to Dr Chung directly from the artists. Previous works from this collection achieved outstanding results with the Bonhams Hong Kong and Sydney offices in 2015 and 2016. The highlight of the current group is Eagle by Gao Qifeng (1889-1933), one of the founding artists of the Lingnan school, who sought to modernize tradition Chinese painting from his training received in Japan.

Another highly important work is Squirrels by acclaimed Singaporean artist Chen Wen His (1906-1991), from a private Sydney collection and was probably acquired directly from the artist's studio in 1972. Famous for his finger printing, Chen's work was used on the $1 stamp as one of four local artists' works featured in the Singapore post stamp issue 'Contemporary Art Series' in 1972. The artist was known to keep his favorite pets, such as gibbons and squirrels, for live drawing and these subjects consequently became his most sought-after works such as this current lot.

Also from a private collection, in Melbourne, is Portrait of Ah Q (1987) by Cheng Shifa (1921 – 2007). Ah Q, the protagonist of the iconic novella The True Story of Ah Q by Lu Xun (1881 – 1936), has occupied a special status in Chinese literature and politics since he was first introduced to the readers in 1921. In 1961, Cheng Shifa was commissioned to recreate the novella for children into 108 sequential drawings. In this portrait, the artist imagines the protagonist in the modern era. The painting was given to the current owner as a gift during the artist's visit to Melbourne in 1987.

Other highlights include modern Chinese paintings and calligraphy from the collection of the late Dr Choong Ka Khey (1914 – 1999) and Mrs Choong Siu Yim Ling (1915 – 2014), an under-glazed blue four-claw dragon bottled shaped vase from the Kangxi period (1661-1722), as well as a 'bat' plate from the Xianfeng period (1850 -1861) from the collection of Dr Iain Clark, an independent scholar specialized in Qing ritual vessels.

Details for highlight pieces:
• Yun Shouping (1633–1690), Three Rabbits under an Osmanthus Tree. Estimate: AU$30,000 – 50,000
• A pair of famille-rose 'dragon and phoenix' vases, Guangxu period (1875 - 1908). Estimate: AU$12,000 – 15,000.
• Gao Qifeng (1889-1933), Eagle, 1931. Estimate: AU$30,000 - 50,000
• Chen Wen Hsi (1906-1991), Squirrels. Estimate: AU$10,000 - 15,000
• Cheng Shifa (1921-2007), Portrait of Ah Q, 1987. Estimate: AU$30,000 - 35,000
• An under-glaze blue four-claw dragon bottle shaped vase, Kangxi period (1661 - 1722). Estimate: AU$15,000 – 18,000.
• A famille-rose 'bat' plate, Xianfeng period (1850 - 1861). Estimate: AU$8,000 – 12,000

Asian Art Sale Public Viewing
Friday 17 May to Tuesday 21 May 2019
10am to 4pm at Bonhams, 97-99 Queen Street, Woollahra NSW 2025

Bonhams Australia Asian Art Auction
Wednesday 22 May 2019, 6pm, Bonhams, 97-99 Queen Street, Woollahra NSW 2025.

Ends.

MEDIA CONTACT: To request interviews with Bonhams Asian Art specialist Yvett Klein or Director of Bonhams Australia, Merryn Schreiver please contact: Claire Martin, Claire@articulatepr.com.au, 0414 437 588 or Megan Bentley, Megan@articulatepr.com.au, 0452 214 611

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NOTES FOR EDITORS

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewelry. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com.

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