Issue 56, Autumn 2018

Editor's Letter: Lucinda Bredin

"I have recently endured moving back into my house. The worst bit – obviously – was when everything came out of storage. Having lived without all this stuff for more than a year, I wondered why I needed it. I began recklessly to load it into bin bags, accompanied by my family's endless refrain: 'You can't throw that away – they go for millions on eBay'. If only. The boys do have a point.

Yesterday's treasures: textiles from Burma, 1980s ceramics, clothes by Yohji Yamamoto, a vast collection of Pokémon cards (shiny ones, too)... they might well be tomorrow's masterpieces. But, at the moment, their time has not yet come. In this issue, a number of articles touch on the vageries of taste and fashion. Take the works of Richard Lin. This Taiwanese artist, who lived in Britain for 30 years, experienced early success with his minimalist masterpieces. Then the pendulum swung. He endured years of hardship in Wales, before returning to Taiwan where he had a retrospective that proved a revelation. This October, Bonhams is holding the first European retrospective of work from his estate; two pieces from the exhibition will be offered at Bonhams Hong Kong.

Another artist whose career was a rollercoaster was Léonard Foujita. The toast of Paris in the 1920s – his great friends were Soutine and Modigliani, Picasso was an admirer – Foujita returned to Japan and was forced to provide propaganda images for the invading Japanese army. He narrowly escaped being branded a collaborator, and his work was derided. Counter-intuitively, as Matthew Wilcox writes on page 34, Foujita then embarked on his Second Act: he moved to New York, threw everything he owned into the Hudson river (I can relate to that) and painted an astonishing work inspired by La Fontaine's fables. Hailed as an instant masterpiece, it is offered in October's Impressionist and Modern Art sale.

In New York's Fine Jewelry, there is a very special collection by David Webb, doyen of 1980s statement pieces. It belonged to the Olympic swimmer and Hungarian refugee, Katherine Domyan, who bought them to celebrate her life in the United States. The 1980s seems almost a different country, but there is no doubt that – with the jewellery, at least – its time has come.

Enjoy the issue"

Lucinda Bredin

  1. Page 5

    Whiter shade of pale

    With a ground-breaking exhibition due to open at Bonhams, Richard Lin's minimalist masterpieces will finally get the attention they deserve, says Gareth Harris

    In the world of white, you are without equal," said Joan Miró. One might imagine Miró was showering such praise on Robert Ryman, or perhaps Robert Rauschenberg. He was, however, addressing an under-the-radar Taiwanese artist called ...

  2. John William Godward, RBA (British, 1861-1922) Dolce far niente

    Page 8

    Antique mode show

    For John William Godward, soft-cheeked girls in Roman togas was a winning combination. He was not the dernier cri of the avant-garde, says A.N. Wilson, but his many admirers couldn't have cared less

    You would be forgiven for thinking that the sumptuous Dolce Far Niente (1907), offered by Bonhams in September's 19th Century sale in London, was ...

  3. Page 14

    Strawberry Hill forever

    Walpole's mansion was the talk of 18th-century society – but it barely survived him. Ruth Guilding describes how his fabulous objets d'art have been brought together again

    When Horace Walpole bought a knocked- together pair of old houses on the banks of the Thames in 1749, he was thrilled to have landed in such a fashionable spot. Just two ...

  4. Purchased new by Anita Ekberg, the star of "La Dolce Vita",1956 Jaguar  XK 140 SE Roadster  Chassis no. S81281DN

    Page 18

    Ready for its close-up

    Generous mouth, magnificent curves, an exotic air ... the Jaguar XK140 was the perfect match for voluptuous film star, Anita Ekberg, says Richard Williams

    When Anita Ekberg splashed with Marcello Mastroianni in the Trevi Fountain one night in 1959 while shooting La Dolce Vita's most famous scene, she embodied a new ideal of sophistication. Federico Fellini's film announced the ...

  5. LÉONARD TSUGUHARU FOUJITA (1886-1968) La fête d'anniversaire 76.5 x 101.7cm (30 1/8 x 40 1/16in); 91.6 x 116.5cm (36 1/16 x 45 7/8in) (with the artist's frame) (Painted in New York in June 1949)

    Page 21

    Feast or famine

    In 1949, the former painter Fujita Tsuguharu was down on his luck. All around Tokyo was evidence of the war – food shortages, political turmoil, the maimed and wounded. Japan was in ruins. Fujita's personal state of affairs was little better.

    This grey, exhausted man, who seemed older than his 50 years, had spent the war attached as an artist ...

  6. Page 26

    Swimming in jewels

    Katherine Szoke Domyan won Olympic golds swimming for Hungary. But in 1956, she fled to the US. There she embraced the American dream – and acquired lots of jewellery. Nicholas Foulkes admires her magnificent collection

    It had been a long journey, and they were weary, but, as they stepped from their plane onto Australian soil, the 60 Hungarian athletes were smiling ...

  7. The Macallan-60 year old-1926

    Page 30

    Whisky
    Macallan's hit single

    In May, Bonhams sold a bottle of whisky for a worldrecord $1 million. That's the spirit, says Charles MacLean

    The saleroom in Bonhams Hong Kong was packed and expectation there was running high. On the block was a single bottle of whisky – the 'Adami', more properly known as a Valerio Adami–1926– 60 Year Old single malt. It was ...

  8. Completed in Rolls-Royce's Golden Jubilee year, used by HM The Queen, kept in the Royal Mews from 1959 until 2002, 1955 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV State Landaulette  Chassis no. 4BP5

    Page 35

    Honour Rolls

    A Rolls-Royce has long been the motor car of choice for the world's elite – even royalty, explains Ed Wiseman

    Sir Henry Royce would be delighted to know that his "'take the best that exists and make it better" maxim is still taken seriously at Rolls-Royce. The marque is synonymous with the pinnacle of luxury motoring and, despite German ...

  9. Page 40

    Platform
    Objects of the heart

    Jean-Yves Ollivier was the linchpin in negotiations that helped end apartheid. Lucinda Bredin talks to him about how art changed his life

    In the 2013 film Plot for Peace, a thrilling documentary about how South Africa inched towards the end of apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela, a shadowy figure flies around Africa in a private jet, knitting together ...

  10. Page 46

    Golden pavilions

    Matthew Wilcox on the private museums waking up Tokyo's art scene

    The gaudy temple of the Golden Pavilion was built in 1397 and has always sat oddly with the cliché of Japan as an altar to minimalism – the Japan of monks, gravel gardens, unglazed stone ware and tatami flooring.

    Perhaps the country's sobriety is that of a lush ...

  11. Page 53

    My favourite room
    Ira von Fürstenberg

    Princess Ira von Fürstenberg on a 19th-century Venetian gem

    I only recently discovered the Imperial apartments at the Museo Correr in Venice. Overlooking St Mark's Square, this astonishing suite of 19th-century rooms had languished for years – they had been used by local tax officials – before being restored to their full glory.

    The apartments were created for the Austrian Emperor ...

  12. Maurice Mbikayi (Democratic Republic of Congo, born 1974) The Guardian 1 (2017)

    Page 55

    The Congo beat

    Congolese artists have gone global, says Amina Abbas

    Today, Congolese artists are among the hottest on the international market for African art. Their reputation had been boosted by exhibitions such as Beauté Congo 1926-2015 at the Fondation Cartier in Paris (which ran until January 2016), but really it is the immediacy of their art that is making an impact. Congolese ...

  13. Fu Baoshi (1904-1965)  Spring Morning at Mount Shao

    Page 60

    Artistic peak

    A huge painting, honouring the birthplace of Chairman Mao, vanished for a generation. Colin Sheaf tells the story of Fu Baoshi's rediscovered masterpiece

    Fu Baoshi (1904-1965), one of China's greatest painters, created this magnificent landscape in 1961, at the peak of his powers and just a few years before his death. Spring Morning at Shaoshan ('Mount Shao') is ...

  14. 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta  Chassis no. 5565 GT

    Page 65

    Simply the best

    Having driven the world's finest motor cars, Steve McQueen declared the Lusso to be the very best. Jared Zaugg shares his enthusiasm

    Count Giovanni Lurani, the renowned race-car driver, designer and author, was convinced that it had no equal. Having driven almost every prestigious performance marque and model, it was the Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta that impressed him ...

  15. Page 68

    Inside Bonhams
    We'll always have Paris

    Catherine Yaiche talks to Lucinda Bredin about the French way of doing things

    Catherine Yaiche, the Director of Bonhams France, has a real distinction: she owned her own auction house. The house was called Auction Event, had rooms on the Left Bank, and began with sales in jewellery and Russian art.

    "It was the most extraordinary time," Catherine says, laughing ...

  16. A gold-thread-embroidered velvet-clad leather quiver and bow holder almost certainly made for Maharaja Ranjit Singh (Reg. 1801-1839)  Lahore, circa 1838(11)

    Page 70

    Warrior princess

    A kennel keeper's daughter, Jind Kaur was left to defend the mighty Sikh empire against the British. Louise Nicholson tells the maharani's story

    The remarkable rags-to-riches life of Maharani Jind Kaur deserves to be better known. At the peak of her power – the three years from 1843 when she was regent of the Sikh Empire on behalf of ...

  17. Page 80

    Travel
    My kind of town

    Chicago is a place for art, food and architecture. Isobel Cockerell can't resist

    On a hot, dry and windy day in October 1871, the city of Chicago burned almost entirely to the ground. According to popular legend, the blaze began in a barn in a poor Irish neighbourhood on the south-west side, when a cow kicked over a lantern ...

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